Parenting Vivian | 04 May 2011 09:00 am

Teaching an Attitude of Acceptance

Though you may not think about it often, acceptance is a big deal to most children. It’s important that they feel accepted as part of a group, whether that is their class in school, a sports team or a group of friends. Being accepted gives your children more confidence and allows them to contribute to something bigger than themselves.

The dangerous part of wanting to accepted in when peer pressure comes into play. Kids might agree to take part in behaviors that are damaging to themselves or to others just to fit in.

Joining a sports team or an after-school activity is a great way to not only make your child feel accepted, but also to keep them from giving in to peer pressure. Jennifer and Bill Magdelinskas have seen these benefits in their daughter, Alexandra: “Karate provides a positive, supportive environment where Alexandra learns karate skills while she builds her self confidence and practices essential life skills, such as making good choices instead of just following her friends.”

This is why it’s important that you create an atmosphere of acceptance in your home. If your child knows there is somewhere where he is always accepted, there will be less pressure to act a certain way to fit into a social group. When your child is accepted at home, he will feel more confident about making choices on his own.

But acceptance isn’t just about how your child is looked upon or taken in by a group; it’s also about how your child accepts others around him. This kind of acceptance has a lot to do with your interactions with other people. If you prejudge people based on superficial qualities, your children will do the same. Some prejudices are hard to overcome, but we have to be more accepting of the people around us for our kids’ sakes and our own.

Children tend to make friends with other children that are similar to them. This is only natural; a common interest or trait is the easiest way to start up a conversation and is often the foundation for later friendship. However, if your children measure people by how alike others are to themselves, they could end up discounting a large number of people who could perhaps improve the quality of their lives.

Meeting new people different from ourselves is how we learn. We get different world views, discover different talents, and end up with a more open-minded attitude towards other people when we step outside of our comfort zone of only relating to people who are “like us.”

Just because someone may appear different from us on the outside, doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can relate to on the inside. The say opposites attract for a reason; Sometimes one person has something the other one doesn’t and together they can accomplish amazing things. With an attitude of cooperation and acceptance towards others, you can teach your children to feel differently about themselves by not only accepting what they do but also accepting the differences of others.

Karate will not only make your child feel accepted, but will also teach him to be accepting of others. It will give him the confidence he needs to step out of his comfort zone and make new friends. This confidence can be practiced at school, in your neighborhood and in other extracurricular activities, so that your child can have different friends from different backgrounds with different interest. This kind of diversity will help your child become an accepting, open-minded person.

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