If a multicultural child struggles to accept their individuality, so do their parents. Therefore, teaching them about their roots is essential.
We live in a multi-cultural society. 30% of Australians are first-generation Australians and a further 20% of us are second-generation Australians. Still, if your child is mixed-race they may struggle with their identity and teaching them about their heritage may help them understand who they are, and why they should be proud of their multi-cultural background.
That’s why it is better to teach them about their roots from an early age. They can learn about their parents’ heritage as well as to adapt to the one they are living in.
Knowing their own culture, traditions, and values will boost their confidence. When they feel confident about their own identity, they become more empathetic towards other cultures.
Importance of Learning about Their Own Culture
Inclusivity is important, especially for multicultural children. Children should never feel like they don’t belong. However, there could be times when they might feel challenged.
If your child is aware and proud of their own uniqueness, they will stand strong. Therefore, it is the parents’ and family’s responsibility to teach the children about their culture and boost their confidence.
However, keep in mind that not all children are the same and have the same enthusiasm to learn and accept their roots. You might be Hispanic and might have fought against the world to give your son a name that is meaningful to your culture.
You might have taken suggestions from all your family members for ideas of a Hispanic boy’s name. However, it turns out your son is hesitant and insecure about his name.
In such cases, do not be disheartened. Keep calm and do not feel too pressured to teach your children or force them to learn the importance of their traditional values. They can learn slowly and steadily.
Raising Your Multicultural Children
Parenting multicultural children can be challenging. However, there is no alternative to educating children about diversity and being accepting of other cultures.
Children will eventually go to school, meet new people, and play with friends who are not from the same culture or ethnicity. Once your children become old enough to understand the difference between them and their other friends, they might be curious and ask you about diversity. So, you will need to teach them about their cultural background.
Here we have shared some of the subtle ways to introduce your multicultural children to their own and other cultures.
1. Teach Them About Their Roots
If your kid asks you why they look different from their friends or why their skin color is different, talk to them. Tell them what makes them different. Tell them where Mommy and Daddy come from, and that it is completely normal to be different. There are a lot of people in the world, and they look like some of them too.
2. Make Them Feel Confident about Their Uniqueness
Build your children’s confidence in their appearance and their heritage. When they understand why they are different from the people they are surrounded with, they will be confident.
Tell them what cultural values make them special and that everyone is unique. Let them know they should love themselves and also others from different cultures.
3. Teach Them Your Language (If you have one)
As parents, you need to teach your children the native language and basic communication using that language. This way, they will feel more connected to the native community and learn empathy.
Nonetheless, learning two or more languages can help children improve their attention span, be creative, innovative, and more capable of solving complex problems.
4. Expose Them to Diverse Books and Stories
A fantastic way to expose your children to different cultures is by introducing them to books and stories of different cultures. Their interest can also grow with time, and they will learn a lot about diversity. You can tell them your folklore as bedtime stories too.
5. Connect Them to Their Family
A great way to expose your children to your culture is by bringing them up among family members. Even if your family lives in another country, you should still try to create bonding and communication.
Children learn different cultural aspects from distant relatives as well as feeling included. Grandparents can play a significant role in child development, providing social and cultural values.
6. Expose Them to Your Native Songs and Dances
Every culture has its own take on music and dance. Introduce these to your children. They can both be entertained and learn about the culture. If possible, watch movies and shows that are native to your culture every once in a while.
7. Let Them Wear Traditional Clothes
Introduce them to your traditional clothes. Let them have a few conventional options from your culture so that they can wear them whenever they want. You can encourage them to dress up in their native fashion as well as clothing from other cultures on different occasions. This is how you can nurture empathy and give them a sense of identity.
8. Expose Them to Your Cultural Food
Enjoying diverse food is a great way to enjoy family time as well as learn about different cuisines. Cook traditional dishes for your children, take them to different restaurants and educate them about other countries’ food and culture.
9. Celebrate Cultural Occasions and Events
Most children love to celebrate different occasions. It can be an amazing excuse to introduce them to different cultures with foods and maybe some incredible gifts representing your culture.
Celebrating various occasions and events from different cultures allows them to empathize with others. Most of the time, children are super excited about occasions. They look forward to special occasions and always appreciate diversity.
10. Travel to Your Native Places
When a kid is growing up in a culture, they naturally adopt the values and traditions of that culture. However, multicultural children do not grow up in their own cultures.
Therefore, visiting their native places or countries can provide the natural experience of learning about the culture. Additionally, travelling helps a child become more understanding, accepting, respectful, and adaptable.
With the world getting smaller, it’s no surprise that there is an interchange of cultures as people move out and settle down in different parts of the world.
As a parent, you need to do your part by introducing your culture to your multicultural children. This will broaden their horizon and enable them to have empathy toward others while developing a strong identity of themselves.
However, every child grows up differently and has individuality. So be accepting of their choices in life even if they do not always prefer to follow your cultural values.