Raising Children in a Mixed Race Household | Children are such little sponges. They pick up on everything and copy what us adults and their peers do.
What happens when we mix cultures, races, ethnicities, or anything else that’s different in one single home?
Raising Children in a Mixed Race Household
I am a Latina woman from a busy Texas border town married to a white man from a small town in north Texas that had one stoplight growing up. When I say that alone, you know we are different. We often call ourselves the yin-and-yang. In all honesty it works for us, and years later we have two beautiful children.
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But what is it like raising mixed race kids? What are the important lessons we are teaching them? What do we want them to know?
First, we know as our children get older, we know they will notice that mommy and daddy are different. They will notice that mom’s side of the family speaks Spanish while daddy’s side doesn’t, and notice we eat different foods and celebrate different holidays too.
Embracing Different Identities
Cultural and racial identity is something that is important to us as parents. We are exposing them early and often. I want my children to be proud of both cultures in their home that make them who they are.
Acceptance, understanding, inclusion and tolerance are the foundational pillars of identity that we want them to learn and develop as they grow as people. While we want them to blossom into their own unique individuals, we will also have to teach them the truth about our society.
There are many hateful people in our country, and we have encountered rude remarks, hateful comments, and everything in between regarding our relationship. We want our children to recognize when hate happens, to first know that mean people will say mean things and that does not define who they are as a person. Hateful speech only defines who the other person truly is, it defines the sender’s heart and their character and not the recipient.
We are teaching kindness, care, compassion, confidence, and love. We are teaching our children to stand up for themselves and for others if they encounter racism, hate and intolerance. We are teaching our children skin tones are only that, and all skin tones combined make up a beautiful world. Through a child’s eyes, this is so simple and clear to see. It is the adults or this world who lose this vision.
For many years I was always asked, “what are you, Persian? Italian? Mexican?” to which they were shocked I wasn’t or was what they thought I was, because my skin was so pale while my hair was so black. In high school, the principal once asked my mom, “Why is her hair so black and she’s so pale?” to which my mother had some choice words there as you can only imagine.
Although my children have brown hair, I want them to know that being different is perfectly okay. In fact, being different is beautiful. The world would be boring if we were all carbon copied to look and be identical to each other.
People can choose to be kind or be mean. They can choose love or hate. It is our job as parents to decide which seeds we want to plant in our children, which thoughts we want to water, and how we help our children grow as individuals. For us and our children, we choose the path of love, inclusion, kindness, and we always will.