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Well-Rounded Kids Accept Differences
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- School violence in recent years make it more important than ever that today's youth learn early to accept differences in their peers and accept themselves for who they are.
Dr. Louise Davis, child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said flexible children and families are best suited to survive any problems that come along.
"Resiliency is an inner strength that allows a person to withstand problems and hold up in times of crisis," Davis said. "Children must learn how to survive and meet challenges every day because life is a challenge."
Well functioning families tend to produce children who can handle life's difficulties. Davis said the first step to having a well functioning family is to accept reality. Parents should know who their child is and recognize they have good qualities and areas that need improvement.
Davis said well-rounded individuals accept blame and responsibility when appropriate.
"We need to teach children to have a healthy acceptance of responsibility," Davis said. "We need to admit it if we do something wrong, and do what we can to change it, but at the same time we need to make sure we don't constantly take blame for the actions of others."
Children who learn a high tolerance survive the school years better.
"There are always issues and problems, and the earlier children learn how to talk it out and act on the solution, the better equipped they will be to handle things later on in life," Davis said.
Families do their children a great service when they show commitment to and affection for each other. Modeling these habits is very important in the home, but Davis said teachers can also create a classroom environment where everyone is accepted.
Open communication is another key to developing children who accept themselves and each other.
"Make sure the child knows they can talk to you about anything and not be put down," Davis said. "Children must know they can go to their parents and talk to them about whatever is on their mind."
Families that talk together and are committed to each other exhibit a tight family cohesion, which is very healthy for children, Davis said. Children in such families learn flexible family roles and support each other and help out whenever there is a need.
"It's also very important that there is no violence or substance abuse in the home," Davis said. "Children tend to act on what they see modeled, so if parents allow these negative things into the home, the child will be more likely to exhibit these behaviors later."
Even when parents do what they can to prepare their children, problems will surface.
"You have to accept that people are flawed and they're going to say and do things that aren't right," Davis said. "In your heart or mind, say to that person ëI understand you, I accept you and I forgive you,' then move on."