Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Parenting Multi-racial Children

As multi-racial families become more prevalent in our culture, many challenges remain in raising multi-racial children. For example, children may grow up dealing with glares and comments from peers and adults who reject their family background. How can parents help their multiracial children thrive in their community

Researchers, educators, and practitioners working with multi-racial children suggest that parents follow several guidelines. First, they recommend that parents be open in the family about race and cultures. They can do this by encouraging their child's natural curiosity about differences and answering questions about the child's own background.

Parents can locate books and movies about multi-racial families and that "portray multi-racial individuals as positive role models". The family can attend different cultural events in the community and become familiar with the language, customs, and culture of all family members.

Families can also live in a diverse community where there is less sense of being "different". They can try to meet other multi-racial families and form support networks. Parents can also look into the local school system's training for teachers and counselors and encourage programs that increase understanding of multiracialism, or select schools that emphasize diversity as part of their program.

Like all children, multi-racial children "need to feel supported" and "nourished" "in their everyday environments" Parents, teachers, and extended family can have important roles to play in providing this nourishment.

Sources: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1999.

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