How do I raise my child to be tolerant and yet have a structure in which to help give her secure roots?
When does my parental opinion overstep the ability of my child to walk in step to his own, vital drum?
What environments does my child need to be held in so as to promote my child’s kindness towards others and concurrently offer motivation to be successful?
Where can I find both like-minded people to help my child learn in safety and people of different believes that stimulate my child to explore his own (and my) beliefs?
Why do I feel the need to both protect my child and to expose my child to those with opposing beliefs?
To be a responsible parent, I understand that each of my children will hold different beliefs than I hold. The best I can do to help them refine their own beliefs is to offer the following:
- Share my thought process about my own beliefs.
- Verbalize my respect for others’ beliefs that are different from my own, explaining why I hold to my beliefs or why I am contemplating a change in my beliefs.
- Let my actions demonstrate my beliefs.
- Have expectations that my child will be responsible, respectful and resourceful (see refrigerator rules).
- Encourage my child to express his own beliefs in a respectful manner. (Instead of asking “Why?” use “Because?”–this allows the child to be thoughtful rather than defensive.)
- Support my child when she follows her own belief path, which is not my path.
- Be mindful of keeping communication open by offering safety and clear and consistent rules for behavior (which includes the choice of words and attitude).
I will struggle. I will be challenged. I will do my best to give my child a safe, caring, loving and consistent environment to learn and practice her own beliefs.
Oh my, be gentle with yourself and your child.