How to Give Your Biracial Child a Positive Self-Image

February 5, 2017 josierk No comments exist

How to Give Your Biracial Child a Positive Self-Image

how-to-give-your-biracial-child-a-positive-selfimageA positive self-image is one of those things parents would love to be able to wrap up in a box and give to our children as a gift. I don’t know about you, but I think about it a lot. There are so many places in society where so called imperfections are highlighted negatively, and the picture of perfection is praised.

While more and more examples of beauty are inclusive of people who look like our own beautiful, biracial children are appearing, they are still the minority. So, we have to work hard to help our children develop a positive self-image. How?


Be the Example

Your child is always watching you. Are you showing your child how to be confident in your self-image? Loving our own bodies and the way we look is the best way we can show our children how to do the same. So, we have to be careful about what we say in front of them.

For some, that may mean using discretion when talking to our friends about losing weight. Not to say that losing weight is a bad thing – it can often be a very important, healthy thing to do. What I mean is taking care that self-loathing phrases such as “I hate these rolls around my belly,” or “I can’t stand my jiggly arms,” aren’t overheard by our little ones.
For others, it may mean taking care how we talk about our skin tone. How often do you complain about your pasty skin or worry about getting “too dark” in the summer months? While it may seem harmless, think about what it means to your child and how they may begin to view their skin tone.


Explain the Commercials

Advertisements. They constantly play on our insecurities, or even begin to develop them when we watch them over and over. You can help your child build up a defense against listening to the nonsense they’re told in some of these commercials.
For example, I’m always amazed that when I go to the US and watch a bit of television, I inevitably see a commercial for a tanning lotion. It’s basically a skin cream that, over time, gives your skin a slightly darker “glow” to avoid appearing pasty white. But, in Guatemala, what’s in, are “lightening” skin creams, especially for the face. These skin creams are meant to lighten the skin tone to appear whiter.


So, what to do? Talk about it. If your child sees it, mention how silly you think it is. Then, explain that companies use commercials to get people to buy their product, and that by making people think their skin tone isn’t “just right,” they can sell more.

The same is true for weight loss. So many commercials focus on weight loss. While this is important for health reasons, weight loss often focuses on reaching an ideal weight that is very thin and not necessarily natural for everyone. Talk about it with your kids and embrace all body sizes and types.


Make Biracial The Norm

While biracial peoples are becoming the norm statistically, depending on where you live, it may not seem that way. If your family stands out where you live, your child may feel “different,” just because they don’t look the same as the other children.
And even for families that live in more diverse areas, the media also plays a role in how your children view themselves. The media has come a long way in representing diversity, but it still has some catching up to do. So, try to make sure your child reads books in which the characters look like them. Also, watch movies with diverse casts – diverse casts that show people of all backgrounds in positive roles. Finally, consider toys and electronic games as well. Whether they’re dolls, Legos or a video game, try to purchase options that offer diversity.
By surrounding your child with examples of people that look like them, they will feel more included.


Encourage and Grow Self-Image

Complimenting your child is a great place to start. But, it’s also important for your child’s positive self-image to come from within. Some ideas are:


– Around the dinner table, have everyone say their favorite feature about themselves (eyes, hair, smile, etc.)


– Have your child create a poster of themselves. Use a nice picture of them for the center and then decorate it with themes from their favorite activities, sports. Also ask them to use positive adjectives to describe themselves and include on the poster such as “funny,” “hard worker” or “beautiful.”


– Look at photos from when they were younger. This can be a great birthday tradition. Even 3 year olds enjoy seeing pictures of themselves when they were babies. It’s a great chance to talk about how they’ve grown and changed, while also appreciating who they are now.


– Spend time together. While we often focus on our child’s academics or rush them around to various extracurricular activities, we sometimes forget to spend quality time together. This, on a regular basis, shows our children they are important. If they see that we believe they are important, they will too.


A positive self-image has many benefits for your child. In their social lives, they’ll be more confident and able to make friends. They’ll also feel more empowered to stand up for themselves and others. Even in academics, having a positive self-image can improve performance.
The beautiful thing is, that even if we can’t box up a positive self-image and just hand it to our children, we can cultivate it in them. It takes some effort. You may go through rough patches when children developmentally go through difficult stages that bring their confidence levels down, but over time, you’ll watch your child grow into a happy, self-confident young person. ~Rachel

What are your best tips and trips for developing positive self-image in your child?

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