Parenting a child of mixed heritage

Introduction

 Being a parent to a child of mixed heritage combines two of the great challenges that a parent can go through.

Not because your child comes from different racial backgrounds, but rather for the fact that you are set for uncharted waters.

After all, your children will live to participate in two simultaneous cultural and ethnical legacies, while only having the bridge for one of them.

To say this is a delicate state for a father would be an understatement, so here are a few tips for achieving that precious balance.

 

Words And Their Power

Our language is shaped by human behaviour, culture and history, sometimes bringing in certain terms of words that, even though you do not use maliciously, were coined for insult.

You may not even realise it, but your child eventually will by interacting with the world, so be sure to actually take a look at the meaning of certain words before using them with your children.

Terms like “Fair Skinned”, “Nappy” or the obviously insulting “half caste” may be used in casual conversation, but the first time you hear it will surely cause a negative impression that may leave some emotional marks on a child.

 

A Sense of Belonging

 Earlier in this article, you have read about how mixed heritage children will always be a part of two different worlds and cultures, now we will elaborate more on what that means.

Firstly, it means that your child’s family background will be split into two different cultural and historical legacies that may interact in complicated ways.

So how do you deal with that? By researching and teaching your kids about both sides of their ancestries, and that it's okay to feel proud about the two.

Why? Because at some point some child who has been eating glue for a semester will walk up to your child and ask something like “What are you?” "Where are you from ?" and if your child doesn’t know, they might lose their sense of belonging.

 

Talk Openly

 Children of mixed heritage tend to have a rich blend of cultures and historical legacy that can give them a unique way of seeing the world.

That being said, the downside to being unique is isolation, which they may feel in both sides of their heritage. It’s not rare for children of mixed heritage to feel like “the outsider” when interacting with both sides of their parent’s cultures.

But if they don’t interact with these two sides of themselves, they might loose something of their identity, so be sure to tell them that just because they stand out it doesn’t mean they don’t belong.

 

Conclusion

We will not try to assume that we know exactly the circumstances upon which you have become the  parent of a mixed heritage child.Whether by birth or adoption there is one fear that is very commonly found in people under similar circumstances is that they would end up denying their children a mixed heritage identity.

This fear is to be honest and fair, but not unavoidable, by going out of your way to ensure your child grows up in contact with both of their legacies they will grow up happy and proud of being part of a diverse background.

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