Being an inclusive parent means embracing and supporting your child regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, ability or background. It’s about nurturing them to feel confident in who they are, and ensuring they grow up respecting diversity.

Mom sitting with two children at a table

Teach Equality from a Young Age

As a parent or foster carer with Active Care Solutions, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Make sure you set a good example by demonstrating inclusive attitudes and behaviours in front of them. Call out stereotypes or prejudices if you encounter them, explaining why certain assumptions or language are wrong. Read books featuring diverse characters and discuss the themes together. Highlight role models from different backgrounds to show anyone can achieve great things. Use inclusive language, referring to ‘police officers’ rather than ‘policemen’ for example. Kids notice more than we realise, so make sure your actions align with the open-minded values you want them to learn.

Encourage Identity Exploration

Give your child the space to explore their identity as they grow, rather than making assumptions. If they question their gender, sexuality or cultural background, listen without judgement and let them lead. Ask open questions to understand their feelings. Reassure them you offer unconditional love and support, no matter how they identify. Avoid labelling them prematurely as this can limit their self-discovery. Remember it’s their journey, so offer guidance but let them settle into their own identity.

Call Out Discrimination

If your child expresses intolerant views or discriminates against others, address it sensitively but firmly. Explain why such attitudes are problematic in a way that helps them understand the impact of their words or actions. Make clear discriminatory language or behaviour will not be tolerated, though avoid scolding them harshly. Talk through more inclusive ways of thinking and suggest putting themselves in the other person’s shoes. Calls for ‘muting’ or deplatforming young people with intolerant attitudes are misguided – meaningful progress comes through open discussion, education and encouragement to do better.

Celebrate Difference

Inclusivity means moving beyond just ‘tolerating’ diversity to actively recognising the value in human differences. Celebrate your child’s individuality and help them appreciate the diversity of the wider world. Learn about different cultures, abilities, family structures and faiths together. Attend inclusive community events as a family or volunteer with local charities supporting minority groups. Mix up your friendship circles to meet people from all walks of life. Show that diversity in all its forms is something to be embraced.  

Challenge Stereotypes

From toys and books to media representation, be aware of the gender, racial and other stereotypes your child is exposed to. Counteract limited portrayals by choosing resources that reflect the full spectrum of society. Call out stereotypical depictions when you see them and explain why these generalisations are unhelpful. Ensure your child has diverse role models that defy stereotypes, whether that’s female scientists, Black artists or gay athletes. Make it clear that people cannot be reduced to restrictive boxes and everyone brings unique value.

Practise Empathy

Being inclusive means having the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Help build your child’s empathy from a young age through modeling, books, roleplay and open discussion about emotions. When they make a mistake or express intolerance, focus on using it as a teachable moment to grow their empathy skills rather than simply scolding them. Ask them how they think their words or actions may have impacted the other person. 

Growth comes through genuinely relating to others, not just following abstract ‘rules’ on what is acceptable.