As your teen nears adulthood, it's important to expose him to a variety of people and circumstances that he may encounter in college or in the workforce. One way to do this is through multicultural activities that enhance your child's understanding of individuals who may share different thoughts, beliefs or customs from what he is used to in your home. In order to foster an accepting and open teen, encourage him to participate in different multicultural activities.
Benefits of Activities
Nearing the age where she will be out on her own, you want your teen to become an accepting, tolerant and productive member of society. Her ability and desire to advocate for those who differ from herself is an invaluable skill that will help her for years to come. Activities that teach her about the customs and beliefs of others open her mind to possibilities she might not have been exposed to during her adolescent years. In addition, the experiences of helping others enhances your teen's college resume. While this should not be the main reason for participation in multicultural activities, its benefit can't be ignored.
Working with different people of varying faiths and cultures is one of the most effective ways to expose your teen to different types of people. Encourage your teen to set up a meeting with his high school guidance counselor for age-appropriate volunteer positions in your area. Select an opportunity such as volunteering at a preschool for bilingual children or helping to set up a Hanukkah celebration at a local synagogue. Any activity that places your teen in a situation to which he isn't accustomed serves the purpose of cultural exposure.
Reading and Writing
Both fiction and non-fiction literature introduce your teen to various cultures otherwise not possible. Speak to your local librarian or child's teacher for a specific story related to the culture you wish your teen to learn about. Select a book like Elie Wiesel's "Night," read it along with your teen and ask her to keep a journal of thoughts, feelings and questions as she reads the author's Holocaust account. Use this writing journal as the basis to have continual conversations about the Jewish culture and answer additional cultural questions she may have as she reads the story.
Visit special exhibits in and around your area to teach your teen about varying cultures. Visit the website of your local museum to view its descriptions of exhibits on different cultures, both permanent and rotating. Spend time bonding with your teen as you view the exhibit together and discuss how his perceptions of the featured culture changed after seeing the museum's display. In addition, your community likely hosts special celebrations such as a Cinco de Mayo fiesta near the actual holiday. Utilize these free community events that give your teen an enjoyable way to learn about a different culture.
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