Wise beyond their years: Encouraging an emotionally & Intelligently diverse child

It seems that in the modern world, there are so many people discouraging diversity. If your child is at that all-important point where they have just finished primary school and are moving up to secondary, just like my daughter ; then this will be the equivalent of Year Zero. That big move from small school to big school is incredibly overwhelming and the best way for them to cope with all of these changes, not just in an educational aspect, but socially and emotionally, is a very difficult thing to find. But if you are concerned that your child isn’t getting what they need, in any of these senses, then what can you do to encourage a sense of diversity in your child?

Exposing Them To Different Cultures

We live in very precarious times. In many ways, the world has never been more diverse, but on the other hand, there are still some people wanting to recapture the old-fashioned approach to living, in other words, not trusting things that are deemed “different”. If you really have a concern relating to this, either because of the area that you live in, or the school that your child is going to, apart from the obvious approach in moving them out of school, but if this is not possible, it’s important to expose your child to as many different cultures as possible. Simple entry points could be music, TV shows, movies, but also, food. Food is a wonderful way to get a tangible experience of another culture, either by going to an authentic restaurant, or starting out simpler, by making a meal at home. It’s part of a school curriculum that diversity is celebrated, but if you feel that the school is merely paying lip service, then it’s up to you to pick up the slack. It’s important to bring this appreciation of diversity home with you. If you have a love of travel, for example, and you want to pass this on to your children, apart from taking holidays, you may want to bring a diverse variety of cultures into the home. Not just through the meals you make, but by providing a constant reminder of diversity. You may want to find a city mural for your living room or office, and if this adds an extra angle of style to your home, but also communicates diversity and is a constant reminder for your kids, it is win-win!

Encouraging Their Ability To Self-Educate

As you open your child’s eyes to everything around them, it’s important for you to concurrently nurture their ability to fend for themselves. Regardless of your own specific opinions of the millennial generation, whether they are too mollycoddled or not knowledgeable enough to get by in life, if you are looking to raise a child that is culturally and ethically sound, encouraging them to build their own opinions of things is one of the greatest tools anyone can have. It’s surprising; a lot of pupils in school can end up coasting, without having learnt anything at all. And this isn’t the fault of the child; it’s more the fault of the educational establishment. And this is why it’s important to encourage a sense of autodidactism in your child. Many of popular culture’s pioneers learned how to learn by themselves, from Steven Spielberg to David Bowie, by way of Leonardo Da Vinci, and all of these important cultural figures understood the importance of questioning concepts and ideas. In a modern school system, some schools actively discourage being an iconoclast, and immediately label the child as disruptive. But when encouraging your child to be more diverse in an intelligent manner, it’s important that they are nurtured, either inside school, or outside. This is where you come in…

Leading By Example

It’s one of the most basic rules of parenting, yet a lot of people don’t follow it. Instead, many parents take the approach of “do as I say, not as I do” which doesn’t teach a child anything, apart from the quickest way to disrespect a parent. This is why it’s important for you, if you want your child to be emotionally and culturally sound, to nurture this in as many different ways as possible, and this means you having to do the same thing. You may have seen some family dramas or even documentaries where the family have a proper debate around the dinner table, and this benefits the children and yourself. It works in two ways, by actively discussing the stories of the day, and digging deep into things like political belief, you are not only just actively encouraging them to speak their minds, but you are also, believe it or not, bonding as a family, even if you have diametrically opposing views! Debate is healthy, and we need to nurture this, but you are also doing that one thing that a lot of families don’t do together, talk! To encourage our children to have thoughts, feelings, and opinions, we need to work at their emotional intelligence, but this is worth nothing if we are unable to speak to them parent to child. If you have a young child, you need to start leading by example. We always encapsulate some of the emotional makeup of our parents, so think on…

If your child is making the leap into a larger world, their foundations are going to be rocked, which is why it important for you to provide a sense of stability. That sense of security is something that every child should have, but when you are actually trying to encourage a diverse wealth of intelligence in them, it’s not about mollycoddling them. It’s about actively encouraging discussion. This means, lo and behold, you have to spend quality time with them. Whether it’s leading by example, introducing them to different cultures, or just gently nudging them along to be more self-sustaining in terms of how they learn things, not only will you raise an emotionally intelligent child, but they will have a depth that is beyond their years and will actually set them up for a lifetime of happiness.

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