I’ve written an article for A Fine Parent about how to raise our kids to be inclusive. This is an easy 4 step tool to helping your kids be open-minded – it’s a good reminder for us adults too !
She is always asking questions (a little too loudly) about people that she deems as different from herself.
Why can’t he walk? Why does she look like that? Why does he talk like that?
Kids are naturally curious and naturally unfiltered. Sometimes that can lead to embarrassing situations but our job as parents is to choose the teachable moment over escaping the situation.
As Dr. Greene, pediatrician and renowned writer, says, when a child asks ‘why’, what he is really saying is “This is interesting to me. Let’s talk about this together. Tell me more, please.”
The child is actually looking for connection more than a specific answer. What’s important here, Dr. Greene goes on to say, is that we don’t have to feel the pressure to answer every ‘why’ – which is good because often we don’t know it!
We don’t know why the sky is blue, or why she was born with no arms, or why gravity exists. But since the child is looking for connection, we can engage in the conversation.
In the case of my daughter asking about the wheelchair, I could have told her not to stare. Or that asking those questions was impolite.
But that would have sent a message to not look at people different from us. A message that there was something shameful about being different.
So when she asked why the little girl was in a wheelchair, I answered, “I don’t know but look how cute her pink shoes are! They look just like yours.” And I brought her over to say hi to the little girl.