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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teaching Self-Acceptance

I had a slightly bipolar childhood. Not literally bipolar, but I grew up until 6th grade in a very diverse, a friend from every nation type of existence. I then moved to "super suburbia" when I was 11 and I experienced a bit of cultural shock. At a time when all you want to do is fit in, I felt like I suck out like a sore thumb. Little did I know, that feeling like you don't fit in is pretty universal for teenagers. When my friends started saying that my name was sort of cool in high school, I started to relish my difference instead of being embarrassed. Note: I have a very unusual and long name. That was a pretty revolutionary concept to a girl who longed to be just like everyone else.

I am aware that now my three year old daughter is starting to realize the differences she has from classmates and I found two resources that will help us discuss how being different is still beautiful. When she watched the video below five times in a row, the look on her face was priceless. The words, "she has hair and skin just like me!" may have been uttered.

Another item I love is Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes. It's about a little girl with an unusual name (like my daughter) and how she goes from loving to hating back to loving her unusual name. Like most of Henkes' books, there is enough subversive humor to keep parents snickering.

Are there any books, videos or other resources that you guys have found useful in explaining these concepts to kids on their level?

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