As your child begins to grow, change and develop, so will their opinions, ideas and thoughts about the world around them.
Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno says, "Teenagers experience transitional stages of physical and psychological development that signals many changes in their lives. Their bodies are changing, along with their minds. They start to develop independence, their own views of the world and how they perceive others."
As your adolescent begins to assert their independence and beging to look outside of the family for social connections, here's how you can teach them about the various differences they're sure to encounter.
Start the conversation
Fostering and building tolerance starts at home. Encourage acceptance of differences in religion, ethnicity, gender and culture by casually dicussing diversity at home.
"Start a conversation by seeking out current news events as a basis to openly discuss your thoughts. Be mindful not to engage in a lecture style conversation, instead, openly exchanging thoughts, ideas and observations," offers Nancy.
As you promote diversity, it's also very important to also encourage diversity within your own home - and that includes differences of opinion on certain issues.
"Encourage your child to form their own opinions based on compassion, understanding and empathy. Show respect for your teenager’s point of view, even if it differs from your own. Know that they don’t need to think the same way as you, instead, forming their own ideas and views in a positive way," says Nancy.
The best conversations can be guided through listening, without debate or judgement. Use your conversation time to do just that, and encourage your child to do the same when they are having their own conversations outside of the family home or through social media," says Nancy.
Listening to understand, and not to respond will ensure communication lines are open and you are having conversations where both you and your teen feel understood.
Lead by example
It’s likely a lot of their behaviour can be mimicked from your own, so if you want to foster tolerance, you need to be tolerant and guide your child through your own actions.
"What behaviour, thoughts and emotions that are displayed at home will build the foundations for your teenager’s values, morals and views on the world around them. Ensure they are positive and beneficial to aid in their developing cognitions," says Nancy.
Stream or watch Postcode Playdates (How the Other Kids Live), from May 5, Sundays, 8.30pm on Lifestyle.