Developmental Asset #34: Cultural Competence

Canada is a very multicultural country, and it’s important to expose our children to different cultures so that they grow up comfortable with diversity. This is an extension of Developmental Asset #33: Interpersonal Competence. Here are some ideas to keep in mind for raising culturally sensitive teenagers.


  1. As always, be mindful of what you say and do around your children, who are learning from you every moment. If you want your children to be sensitive, tolerant, and accepting, begin by nurturing those qualities in your own thoughts, words, and deeds.


  1. Watch out for stereotypes in TV and other media, and try to recognize opportunities to discuss diversity and prejudice with your kids.


  1. Cultural events and festivals make great family outings. If you’re stuck for ideas, ask a local librarian or call the Chamber of Commerce. It can be tricky to find local cultural events on the Internet, because they tend to be non-commercial and cater to the members of a particular community. If there’s a cultural centre or ethnic house of worship near you, they may have a website with an event calendar, or at least a number you can call to ask questions.


  1. If your teens have friends who belong to a different ethnic or religious community, there may be opportunities for them to tag along to a celebration as a guest. Encourage them to take advantage of opportunities like these and remind them to be respectful.


RECOMMENDED READING: Make a World of Difference: 50 Asset-Building Activities to Help Teens Explore Diversity by Dawn C. Oparah


Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.