A couple days ago I saw the article about the 9 year old who wanted to peacefully respond to the Westboro Baptist Church members who were picketing at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.
I'm sure he felt safe holding up his sign with his Mom nearby and it may have been different if he was with his friends. Either way I'm glad to see his Mom support his desire to stand up for something that he felt was important. After all the things that parents are posting on their's or their child's Facebook to shame their misbehavior, this mother's posting of the indicident on her Facebook page was a nice change of pace.
How do we teach our children to be caring and empathic towards all people in an age when a lot of children are more interested in their Wii game then current events.
1. Don't be afraid to express feelings and talk about them openly within your family. Reflect what you think your child is feeling and show him that you will understand and honor his feelings even though you may not agree, "I can see that you're feeling really angry with me right now because I've told you no."
2. Discuss current events but also explain to them that there are others who have different views and it's ok to agree to disagree.
3. Model anger management especially when your child is being disrespectful. This can be very hard to do but is a gift that will help them with every conflict that occurs in the future.
4. Don't spank or use harsh judgment when disciplining your child. Everyone makes mistakes and kids need to know that they can make amends and move forward.
5. Try not to vocally express your judgment of others or their lifestyle or actions. Teach your child tolerance and that everyone has a right to live their life on their terms whether we agree with their life choice or not.
6. And last but not least consider joining a parenting or support group. Lots of parents get stuck on issues and discipline techniques from time to time and having the knowledge to consider an alternative teaches self-acceptance and a willingness to learn and grow at any age.