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In a world that is increasingly becoming connected, the need for cultural awareness is important in promoting harmonious coexistence and tolerance among people. Therefore, to raise a global teen as a parent, it is necessary to instill interest and appreciation for other cultures and groups around the world. So, what exactly is cultural awareness and sensitivity?
In simple terms, cultural awareness is the ability to understand, communicate, and embrace people across different cultures. Similarly, cultural sensitivity comprises a set of skills that enable you to understand people who have a different background from yours. Since children will be exposed to diverse cultures and traditions as they grow, equipping them with these skills can help them to demonstrate respect and appreciation for others.
That said, here is why you should raise a culturally aware child as a parent:
Children who have prior exposure to cultural awareness have an easy time interacting with people from different cultures. This applies even when they interact with people from cultures that they have not been exposed to before. With a background in cultural learning, a child can associate better and more productively with all individuals, compared to one who does not have such exposure. In turn, they can adapt well to all environments.
Communication is an essential skill in our day-to-day lives, and it is even more so in a culturally diverse environment. Children who are exposed to cultural learning can communicate their feelings more sensitively, taking into consideration how they affect others around them. Remember that it is through communication that you portray your attitude toward others. Therefore, teach your child to be empathetic in their communication when interacting with people.
Children who harbor the quality of cultural awareness have more opportunities in society. For instance, they easily get employment compared to children who do not have exposure to cultural learning. The fact that it opens more doors for them makes cultural sensibility an indispensable life skill. While here, it is essential to introduce children to cultural awareness while still young so that they can grow embracing other people's differences.
Cultural awareness is all about imparting knowledge about other cultures, traditions, and ways of life. To stay connected in cross-cultural situations, there is a need to learn about the people we encounter. A child who is knowledgeable about different cultures can effectively and respectfully associate with individuals from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultural norms.
Parents have a role to play in exposing children to cultural awareness; thankfully, there are several ways to achieve that:
Explore cultural diversity through art and literature – Create time to explore different cultures with your child by reading books, listening to music and podcasts, and experiencing art to enrich their knowledge about other cultures. The internet has enough resources you can use to engage their senses in this regard.
Travel to new places – Visiting new places where you can interact with new ways of life is a sure way to expose your child to different cultures. Take a trip to another country where people speak a different language to make your child accustomed to diversity, and they will grow appreciating people despite their cultural differences.
Learn a new language – Introducing your child to a second or third language serves as a window to a new culture. It particularly helps to trigger their interest in other cultures, hence reducing bias and prejudice in how they approach them.
Celebrate popular cultural celebrations – Take part in cultural celebrations and festivals to help your child get the exposure needed to survive in a diverse environment. For example, experiment with different recipes during world food day and grow your child's curiosity for new and exciting ideas about other cultures.
Teaching your child about cultural awareness will ensure they cope well in a rapidly evolving environment. When they respect other cultures, they can grow and adapt well to different cultures while still retaining their sense of identity.
At Futures Academy, we strive to help children build healthy relationships with themselves and others through personalized learning programs. Contact us for more information.