How do you successfully parent a mixed race child?
Identity is a complicated topic for any mixed race person. For mixed race kids navigating social situations, figuring out who they are, and feeling like they belong can be especially challenging.
Being intentional about your parenting can go a long way when it comes to helping your mixed race kids develop a healthy racial identity.
Here are five tips to help you raise healthy, happy and connected mixed race kids.
The family origin story
Talk about your family’s origin story. How did you (the parents) meet? What drew you to one another?
Where are you each from? What were your childhoods like?
Normalize talking about family. Develop a narrative for your family. Take photos. Enjoy looking at them together.
Engage in culture
Expose them to their cultures. Make an effort to help them learn about their heritage on both sides (or learn alongside them). Books, documentaries, festivals, and family elders are all great places to start.
Having a strong racial identity relies on connections to the people, places, and practices that shape culture.
Build community with other multiracial families
Be intentional about spending time with other multiracial families. You can talk about this with your friends who are already in interracial relationships / multiracial families and be mutually supportive of one another.
If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, make friends with people at your child’s daycare or school. Or take to Google and see if there are any local workshops or meetups for multiracial families.
Allow them to self-identify
Self-identification is empowering. Be curious about your kids identity - ask questions and demonstrate that you understand.
The truth is that your kid might end up identifying a little (or a lot) different than you see them. For instance, I see this a lot in families with white members: while your kid might have white ancestry, they will likely experience the world differently depending on their skin tone, people they hang out with, and other factors.
If you struggle with your own emotions around this try not to project them onto your child. Seek support to process what’s coming up for you.
Help them understand microaggressions, family members behaviors, or other racially shaped dynamics in their lives.
At age appropriate levels, ask them questions about their experiences, remind them that other people’s opinions of them aren’t a true reflection of who they are, tell them of what you see when you look at them.
Being a multiracial family can feel both like a gift and a burden. Building a network of support around you can drastically improve your experience and ability to parent with confidence.
A couple of my favorite resources include the Samahra app for parents of multiracial kids and the work of Dr. Jenn who coaches parents of mixed race kids.
If you want more individualized support, or a place where you can talk about not only your parenting challenges but general challenges in being an interracial couple I’m here for you. Schedule a free consultation today.
Photos by Pavel Danilyuk, Tyson, and Loly Galina