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  • Writer's pictureTosca Killoran

Three Ways Parents Can Increase Intercultural Empathy in Teens


Intercultural understanding is a fundamental component of contemporary education. It allows students to develop an appreciation for people from different backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities. Parents can play a significant role in supporting their children’s intercultural learning by taking three key steps:


First, parents should open their home environment to cultural diversity by introducing activities such as hosting students of other cultures or attending multicultural events. These opportunities will help expose children to different languages, religions and customs while providing them with direct experiences that contribute to their intercultural understanding.


Second, parents should encourage their children to explore different cultures by reading books, watching films, using online resources, or traveling to different cultures. These activities will help children better understand other countries' or peoples' values, beliefs and practices.


Finally, parents should actively participate in their child’s intercultural learning by engaging in conversations about cultural differences with their children. These conversations can range from discussing current events to sharing personal experiences that illustrate the diversity of people worldwide.


Guiding questions for conversations with teens:


  1. What do we know about this culture?

  2. What do we not know about this culture?

  3. What do we see as ‘national’ characteristics in this country? 

  4. Which ‘national’ characteristic do I like and dislike in myself?

  5. What assumptions or misconceptions might we hold about this culture?

  6. How could we find out more about this culture?

  7. What curiosities do we have about what it is like to be this person from another culture?

  8. In what ways do we imagine we might be enriched by this culture?


By taking these steps, parents can actively contribute to their child’s intercultural understanding, which is essential to developing a global outlook and becoming responsible citizens of Earth.


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