Essentials for Successful Parenting Biracial Children
Has anyone ever asked you the question, “Awww, is that your child?” No matter how pure their intention or how endearing they attempt to word it this is an insult. It is a reminder that racism is alive and real in people who don’t even know they are racist. Now, in my world, skin color is as minute as eye and hair color to who you are. I would never say to a mother with brown eyes whose child’s eyes are blue, “awwwww, is she yours”?
I believe in allowing our children to self identify from day one. This world will put enough stipulations in their head, they do not need us to create a pattern for them to conform to as well. Allowing them their own unique identity from day one strengthens their muscles so to speak for the battles to come. They have the confidence they need and self-assurance to face the obstacles these unknowing racists will toss to them throughout their lives.
As early as kindergarten children begin to racially identify. This is primarily because some children are taught racial separation at home and it is introduced to our children when they are introduced to these children. Now, it is not kids faults, but the adults who taught them this way of thinking and believing. It is vital we allow our children to be firm in their own racial identity by the time they encounter these circumstances. My daughter identifies as a rainbow at 6, and this is ok, this is saying it don’t matter what’s on the surface I am what I want to be. Go Charliegh! I am very supportive of this choice she has made!
I know she won’t always have this peachy keen view. She will be exposed to racism and racially charged situations in life, on TV and through media that will force her to make a more realistic racial identification, but it is hers to make. It is her journey. My only job is to encourage, educate and support her along the way.
As parents of Biracial Children We Should:
- Make sure there is a climate that fosters open discussion on race and race related topics.
- Share our own stories, experiences and beliefs
- Try to reconcile and educate relatives who are ignorant to interracial relationships and may have rejected our children. This is a tough one, but it is ultimately for our children.
- Encourage and respect both cultures of our biracial children
Find ways always to create pride in both races and in return a sense of pride in being biracial.
Throughout life our children will encounter things we simply can’t protect them from. Sheltering them will only set them up for being hurt worse than they would be had they been prepared for the way the world truly is. We have to truly listen to our children and their accounts of what they are going through. They need that from us, and they need it more than they need us to retaliate in their behalf.
Now, if there is a way we can react and resolve then we should do so in a dignified and responsible way as to build pride in and not embarrass our children. I say that because when someone hurts my baby my first instinct is to show out, but I know it will only make it worse. I certainly don’t want her to feel she can’t confide in me.
Biracial children are growing in numbers. More and more interracial families are being featured in ads and the media or on television. With that ugly things are said and battles are being fought. Embrace these as a new civil rights movement births itself. Light is being shown on the truth, and we are overcoming these adversities. Still, we live in a world that transgendered people can get their own bathroom and we can’t get a box on a document that identifies our children as biracial. We can’t lose sight of the fact that there is still work to do. That is why the multiracial family conventions and get-togethers are so important if you have a chance to attend one in your community. There is strength in numbers.
It is important to network with one another so that we can advocate as one voice for our children. We have to be active role models for them, and together offer positive, nurturing homes for them to thrive and prepare for the world they are to encounter. We are the village that it takes to raise a biracial child. Our voices, our actions, our sharing and our education will empower them.
We have to make sure that they can appreciate the entirety of who they are as well as their cultural background. We cannot censor the dialogue surrounding race in our homes, and we have to expose them to others like themselves. We are their advocates. It is up to us to lay the foundation through knowledge and facts about who they are entirely. They will find pride and confidence in knowing the facts rather than believing the junk society tries to throw at them.
Involvement with one another and with our children is essential. Whether you are in a community that has a lot of multiracial families or it is online through blogs like Biracial Boom in sharing under articles or on Facebook our knowledge, hopes and strengths we can unite and become stronger, better. ~Spring Lee
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