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Teased in Preschool
Q: I have a four-year-old son attending preschool and my concern is about the intolerance of his classmates. The children tend to tease a lot, and take any out-of-the-ordinary action as a means to hurt each other emotionally. I have pointed this out to his teacher who has recognized the problem, but it is not getting any better.
A: In my community, we bring kids and adults into classrooms to discuss their "differences." Kids who are blind, deaf, physically disabled, etc. are brought into classrooms as part of a comprehensive program designed to break down the barriers of ignorance and fear that fuel prejudice and insensitivity. Perhaps you could start up such a program.
Robert Coles has written a helpful book on raising moral children. Janice Cohn has written Raising Compassionate, Courageous Children in a Violent World. Charles Smith's book The Peaceful Classroom would also be a fine resource for helping kids develop respect for others. I'd also ask a children's librarian to help you find books that deal with appreciating differences and being kind. Doing a content keyword search on amazon.com always provides a comprehensive list of valuable titles, including brief reviews. Good luck; I applaud your efforts.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.