Ara is a 15-year-old from Edmonds, WA. She enjoys blogging, spending time with her family and hopes to somehow incorporate her passion of writing into what she does in the future.
Today, many interracial families and individuals are changing the minds of people around them. Multiracial families increasingly define themselves, and choose to honor ALL components of their racial identity, along with the diversity of themselves and others around them.
It is important for parents of interracial families to not only encourage their children/teens to embrace their unique backgrounds, but it is also important for parents to teach their children to be proud of who they are as individuals regardless of any identifying factors.
Tips for Interracial Families:
Identify. All people are a combination of several identity attributes: race, gender, religion, sexual preference, personality, style, etc. You may choose not to use race as your primary identifying factor, or your family’s mixed heritage may be a great source of pride. Help children and teens see that who they are is much more than their race, and encourage them to cherish every aspect of who they are as individuals.
Explore and honor your family’s multiple heritages and cultures. Celebrate holidays, foods, and customs from all of your backgrounds, and try others that interest you. If you and your spouse speak different dialects or languages try and introduce them into your home so that your children/teens can hear them—it is important for kids to recognize and embrace their multiple heritages
Educate and prepare your children/teens for the negative comments and racial barriers they may have to face. Acknowledge that these times can be terribly difficult for any child or teenager. Prepare your children with responses and plans that can help them get through these difficult situations. Encourage them to be open with you if they are being discriminated against—remind them that there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Boost your child/teens’ self esteem. Praise their efforts, their good choices and their character attributes that you like. Help them learn to value and embrace what makes them who they are so that they can love themselves and learn to be more resilient when it comes to negative comments and put downs.
Honor diversity in others. Teach them about other cultures and races. Go to different ethnic restaurants, watch different cultural programs on TV, encourage them to learn a different language if they are interested, etc. By showing them how unique and amazing every culture is in their own way will encourage them to be proud and embrace their own individual cultures and heritages.
Photo credit: Coloful22 from Flickr