#Raisingcapablechildren: I is for Inclusive – How to raise inclusive children?

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Hello everyone and thanks for reading along as I write. Today I want to talk about a topic close to my heart – the importance of inclusion. As an individual I am a fairly inclusive person, but after becoming a special needs parent, I value the importance of raising inclusive children even more. So on day 9 of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge – I is for Inclusive. Being inclusive is basically recognizing that people are different, respecting those differences and going a step further by appreciating being different. I wrote about disability and inclusion at length in an earlier blog.

Humanity is a big family (vasudhaiv kutumbakam) and everyone should have a place at the table, everyone has something to offer and no one should be left out. As a parent we should not only worry about whether our kid is included but more importantly who is our kid including.

Below are some tips for raising inclusive children:

  1. Develop self esteem: the first step to having an inclusive child is to develop his/ her own self esteem. A child should be comfortable in her own skin and in her own differences from the rest of the world. She should understand that not everyone would look, sound or think like her. Moreover, a high self esteem will help a child take a stand and not succumb to peer pressure. Many times exclusion happens because the so called hip children or the bullies in the school decide to exclude certain kids. Most other kids do not have the courage to go against that. A child with high self esteem and courage of conviction can be an upstander who is brave enough to stand up for others.
  2. Encourage empathy: as I mentioned in my blog on empathy – it is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes. True inclusion can only come when you are able to understand what the other may feel and reach out to them.
  3. Examine your own prejudices: we may not recognize them, but many of us will have hidden (or obvious) prejudices – against colour, caste, region, religion, sexual orientation – anything. Our children’s world is becoming a more and more polarized place with people’s hidden biases coming to the fore. Hence, examine your own biases, upbringing and your parents’ prejudices and ensure you do not pass them on to your children. We need to be careful of our language and behavior at all times.
  4. Celebrate differences: expose your child to different cultures, people, thinking. Encourage them to move out of their comfort zone and befriend people from different cultures, religions, races and gender. It will broaden their horizon, help them gain perspective and build tolerance towards differences. One of the best aspects of our move to Almaty is that my son now studies with children of different nationalities and cultures. I am really happy that he has adjusted very quickly and is thriving in that environment.
  5. Answer questions: children are bound to be curious about people who seem different to them. Do not feel awkward about that, instead explain the differences to them as clearly as possible. “why does that child walk in such a weird manner?” you can explain that the child has a certain disability. “why does that old lady sit in a chair all day and drool?” you can explain that she is old and sometimes people lose some control as they grow old. “eww, his food smells so weird!!” explain that people from different countries use different spices which taste and smell differently. “Momma I saw two men kissing!” tell them that sometimes people of the same sex also love each other. Give them direct, honest responses. After explaining to your children, encourage them to go and talk with people who they think are different from them.
  6. Talk about exclusion: let children understand that exclusion happens – sometimes by design and sometimes inadvertently. Tell them to be extra sensitive to people who they feel are excluded. Encourage them to reach out in such cases. I remember as a kid, at the beginning of every school year, I would keep an eye out for any new kid feeling out of place and go talk them and make them feel comfortable.

Finally remember that children are more open and tolerant than any of us adults. Intolerance is not inborn, it is learnt. Hence careful parenting can ensure that your kids are empathetic and inclusive. I hope you found some of these tips useful. Do let me know via your comments.

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Liked this blog? Do consider buying my book “Raising Capable Children” that shares hundreds of tips and ideas on bringing up confident children. See below for buying options.

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Thanks so much for reading! Please comment, share and spread the word! 

Regards, Sakshi aka tripleamommy
You can find me at:
Blog: https://tripleamommy.com/
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Read my other blogs on the series here:

Theme reveal

A is for Aiming High

B is for Being Brave

C is for Courage of Conviction

D is for Discipline

E is for Empathy

F is for Financial Awareness

G is for Gratitude

H is for Honesty

24 comments

  1. Such a great post and many of us don’t really pay attention. Inclusiveness is the way to have better relationships. Celebrating difference is very vital as every individual is unique and acceptance leads to inclusiveness

    1. Loved all the tips and I m glad that you had talked about much needed topic that usually gets ignored. I believe making a positive communication with kids is very important to make them understand this.

  2. Looking into our own prejudices is very important. We cannot give out child a clean slate to if our slate is not clean. The questions you have mention din #5, I have faced all of them. Recently, seeing at the wheelchair sign in the parking lot, and then a lady getting off her wheel chair, my little asked me the same question.

  3. Oh yes answering questions is very important. They have weird thoughts and if someone else gives wrong answers, they believe it. We have to be around to correct them

  4. Teaching your kids “Empathy” is one of the important factor and I totally agree, so happy that you mentioned this as important part of raising kids!!

  5. Very useful tips to raise the kids inclusively. I highly appreciate the tips you have mentioned above is Celebrate difference, the very crucial element to understand the world and humanity, unfortunately majority of people does not consider this important enough to instill into their kids.

  6. Inclusivity is the road ahead ! And I’m so glad you made the change and your child adjusted to it. It is very important for their own emotional and social development.

  7. In a world where being different isn’t accepted normally, being inclusive is a brilliant quality to inculcate in kids. Always a good idea to raise them fair and better.

  8. These are some really helpful tips and I agree that kids observe and learn. It is easy to follow the right way than just preach. Loved reading this 🙂

  9. This is a great blog and I think more parents should read this as knowingly or unknowingly we teach our children to exclude sme people. My husband n I believe that no matter what we think, our kid shld not learn to discriminate and accept the other person as and how he/she is.

  10. I take back my comments from the previous blog of excellence. Really very sorry. After reading this post on Inclusive that post nullifies all the remarks I made. Excellent post by the way 🙂 You set an example of excellemce.

  11. Answering the questions in the right manner is a great way to build the empathy we all look for in the kids. If parents answer in well manner then I guess half the battle is won.

  12. The tips are really helpful. I will definitely share this with my friends. Answering kid’s questions wisely and make them understand things is important.

  13. excellent article! you have nailed the areas that need attention. i think one of the biggest is the parent’s prejudices which they do not even realise that they are demonstrating, and that is what kids tend to pick up.

  14. I remember covering this topic too last year on my blog, exclusivity comes from total social acceptance. Glad that you wrote about it, however we still need to create more awareness on this topic.

  15. This is such an excellent post. We should teach our kids to be a good human being above all. Raising empathetic kids is the need of the hour. And I agree with you, as a parent we should not just worry if our kid is included but also who is our kid including.

  16. That is such an important post you have written. Kids need to understand the importance of being inclusive in thoughts and actions. Often people are highly educated but they fail to be inclusive and accommodating.

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