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Empowering Teens - Building Cultural Awareness In A Multicultural Society


Cultural Competence In A Multicultural Society

A multicultural society is a diverse culture of people of varying social societies defined by contrasting beliefs, values, and lifestyles. Whether in school, in the workplace or attending social gatherings' diversity can be a good thing and people could learn a lot from one another - if not for the biases that exist when it comes to diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism.

Cultural Competence - What’s That?

Cultural Competence comprises awareness of your own view of the world, while at the same time gaining knowledge of various cultural practices and views. Cultural Competence consists of:

1. Awareness - Becoming culturally competent is becoming self-aware. Oftentimes, your upbringing can be engraved within you, therefore you won’t notice your own stereotypes or prejudices, this creates learning and development barriers. However, taking the time to discover and understand your pitfalls can help you understand other cultures and ethnicities.

2. Attitude - Are you open to opinions and views different from your own? People normally have some type of emotional reaction when confronted with cultural diversity. It’s easy to notice someone’s negative demeanor, so aim to be more aware, it allows for positive development, habits, and interactions, while changing the views, opinions, and outcomes of most interactions.

3. Knowledge - Cultures intertwine daily, so it's important to learn about the various cultures and ethnicities that you encounter, in doing that, you’re able to learn different views of the world, which results in positive interactions, and mutual respect.

4. Skills – Building skills is critical when interacting with different cultures. You can engage in conversations about other cultures values and beliefs, and read books and travel blogs to understand other cultures and ethnicities.

How Multiculturalism Plays in Education

As school systems attempt to rework their programs to introduce youth to diversity, it is crucial that minority children feel that they are also represented within their school. A Pew Research study found that 46.3 million Americans between the ages of 14 and 24 are the most diverse generation yet.

If your school acknowledges the diversity of its pupil population, then you likely understand how important it is to promote cultural awareness within your school. Teachers can play a great role in including cultural awareness by actively demonstrating their genuine care for each student's intellectual, emotional, and cultural background and needs.

Your Teen and Cultural Awareness

The more diverse society becomes, the more your teen will be exposed to different people of various backgrounds, which will teach your teen how to interact with people who are different from them while being respectful of the cultural differences.

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The world is an extraordinary collage of diverse cultures, genders, abilities, beliefs, and preferences. Being respectful of others will set the tone for how others approach you in interactions and relationships alike.

You also want to teach your teen to be open-minded when interacting with people of different backgrounds as some of their ways will be different from your teen's way of doing certain things, but, they need to know that it’s okay, and it may even be fun to participate and learn the ways of other cultures as well as teaching them your ways.

It is also important to have open conversations with your teen about the importance of accepting others and not prejudging or stereotyping people, and encourage your teen to be open-minded to build mental flexibility, sense of tolerance and problem-solving abilities.

Here are Six Things You Can Do to Empower Your Teen's Cultural Awareness

1. Don’t lose your cool -This will be challenging, breathe first, be mindful of your reaction and keep in mind that your teen is not on the same level as you mentally, so they’re not thinking like you.

2. Say what you mean and mean what you say - Establish clear rules and consequences, and don’t be afraid to follow through with an “I told you so” demeanor, then explain the actions they took that resulted in the outcome.

3. Allow your teen to feel - Allow them their attitudes and moods sometimes, as they have feelings and emotions too. However, don’t let them go too far and set boundaries. Although it is important to allow your teens to express their moods as this is healthy for them, and it allows the parent to witness the emotions and; talk them through the correct way to handle issues.

4. Do a lot of listening - Listen A LOT!

5. Lead by example - have open discussions and practice sensible behaviors when conversing with your teen, and do not allow yourself to get agitated.

6. Help your teen understand their own weird feelings - Explain about their hormones and changes to their bodies. For females, the changes can be especially scary.

7. Be understanding, available, and patient - Think back to when you were that age and how you felt when you really needed someone to listen to you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Felicia Powell - FlowerChild Fee

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