Parenting

Raising Biracial Children

Raising a well-adjusted child is a task that every parent strives to accomplish. For parents of biracial children, this can be challenging, as some parents are not in tune with the obstacles and questions that a biracial child is faced with every day. Raising biracial children can be a challenging task, but with some understanding and communication from an early age, the racial divide can become a non-issue.

The Challenges

In most cases, biracial children have no specific classification. On archaic school and medical forms, their parents are forced to identify with one race. Many parents struggle with identifying their children within the limits of such forms. They become frustrated, asking, “Why does it even matter?”

It is more common than uncommon for parents to come from different backgrounds. For example, mom can be Italian while dad can be a mix of Mexican, English, and German descent. However, some racial differences are more visibly noticeable. If a Caucasian woman and an African American man have a child, the child’s features may more closely resemble either the mother or the father. When such children are seen, people question how the child would be raised. To make things worse, if a Caucasian woman re-marries a Caucasian man or a man from any other background, her child would be looked from a different perspective, raising unwarranted and unwelcome questions by strangers.

Advice

Although it may be a difficult subject to broach, children start to become aware that they are biracial as they learn about their cultures in school. But why wait until their teachers bring it up? Avoid any confusion at an early age by telling them how proud they should be that they have such a diverse cultural background.  Even if you are now estranged from the other parent, and you cannot stomach the thought of discussing him or her, teach your child the traditions that were celebrated by that side of the family. After all, they may have children too someday who will also have to struggle with their sense of identity.

It has been observed that children who were raised by families of races different than their own are able to avoid emotional and academic problems when the families address the differences effectively. Raising biracial children and exposing them to different cultures helps them to become strong, culturally aware individuals. Any questions that may arise about their culture throughout their lives should be seen as an opportunity to educate those asking, instead of being embarrassed by the questions.

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