What's the best way to teach our children about other races, religions and abilities? I have 4-year-old triplets and it's a daunting responsibility.

Take it from me

Once a week I cook and prepare an entire dinner with a theme that represents a different culture. Using things around the house or buying inexpensive items, celebrating all kinds of heritages is easy. It's educational, entertaining and the kids love it. It's the perfect way to have an awesome family discussion, try different foods and get the kids talking and involved in our amazing world. Now that they are 5 and 7, they enjoy helping in choosing, preparing and decorating for various themes.

- Anne Peters

Colorado Springs, Colo.

It's fairly simple in our house. We have continuously told our kids "not to judge a book by its cover." Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and recognize that we are all different. We have always told them that it is not only OK to learn, question and appreciate all kinds of people, but that it is also a natural process of growing up. If they realize that everyone is not the same, does not think, talk or may not have a similar opinion as they do, it pretty much takes care of itself through family discussions. If children feel good about themselves and their family, or at least know how to deal with contrite members, they are usually very open to address questions that may arise about others.

- J. Toups Arlington, Texas

From Jodie

Teaching your children to recognize, appreciate, value and respect various types of diversities affluent in today's society, can be easier than you think, especially if others are willing to help.

Begin by reviewing your own viewpoints. It might be to your advantage to have a discussion with your husband about his thoughts on the topic. Compare your opinions and talk about any potential controversies. Come up with a plan to teach your children about the positive side of the wide differences in people that is agreeable. Use it as a guideline in helping your children to embrace the vast cultures and nationalities in today's family structures. Introduce and talk with them about people in their own family, such as sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Encourage them to ask questions.

If for any reason you don't have an immediate answer, or feel uncomfortable in discussing a topic, tell them you will get back to them. If they have a question about a specific child or situation, it would be great if you could find a book, DVD or perhaps even music, about the topic, to share.

Can you help?

As summer approaches, many of our neighbors, including us, are dreading the daily confrontations we experience with a little girl who lives next door. She is one year older, very bossy and constantly belittles other kids, who are all second graders, by telling them that whatever it is that they are doing is being done wrong. She repeatedly says that since her dad is a doctor, she knows how to do everything right. The kids try to avoid her but she walks right over and starts bossing everyone around. Last year, when one neighbor tried to talk with her parents about her behavior, they were as bossy, self-absorbed and self-righteous as she. So, now what do we do?

Please share your tips and help other parents. Send them - or other parenting questions - to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Send e-mail to: editor@parenttoparent.com or through the ParentToParent.com Web site.