Talking to your Child about Hatred and Prejudice

Explaining violent incidents
Hate is learned and can be "unlearned"
Talking to children about diversity: Preschool years
Talking to children about diversity: Onset of formal education
Hate hurts
Teaching children begins by taking a look at ourselves
An exercise for teaching diversity

Related ADL Articles:
Discussing Hate & Violence with Your Children
What to Tell Your Child About Prejudice
in English or
en Español

From The ADL Material Resource Center:
Books for Teaching About Diversity

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Talking to children about diversity:
Onset of formal education

Six-to 8-year-olds continue to recognize group members and begin to realize that their ethnicity is not changeable. They begin to become aware of history, local actions, and attitudes for and against racial, religious, and cultural groups. Moreover, they are highly influenced by what they see around them. Significant adults in their lives, peers, and the media become an even greater influence. Cultural pride may also begin to develop at this age. As parents, we can take advantage of these stages to form positive feelings about a child's own culture. The child who feels best about himself or herself is least likely to feel the need to hate others. And, we can continue to ensure that our children are exposed to consistent messages-in the classroom, at church or synagogue, as well as at our dinner tables.

Nine- to 12-year-olds gain a greater understanding of the geographic and historical aspects of culture. Some may be moving into more abstract thinking. They become more aware of the attitudes and behaviors of persons of power within institutional settings. They also begin to get a clear understanding of the personal and family struggles against bias that may exist and are more willing to discuss culture, race, and differences. Most 9- to 12year-olds can

  • Understand racial and cultural stereotypes
  • Speak from dominant and nondominant perspectives
  • Practice stating the strengths and positive aspects of various cultures
  • Discuss how internalizing a negative view about a child's own racial, ethnic, or cultural group may affect a child's confidence.

Next: Hate hurts

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