Children in Multicultural Families

Parenting tips for intercultural families

I married a man of a different race and culture when it was not an acceptable thing to do. I do not regret my decision, but that decision has come with interesting consequences. It took many years for us to get used to each other’s customs and traditions. It has been quite an adventure for both of us.

The children that resulted from this union have struggled to find their own identities. Because I was doing most of the raising, since my husband's occupation demanded that he travel quite a bit, the children mostly speak my language and only one child is fluent in the father's language.

I believe our children have tried to choose the best from each culture. They can also change back and forth between cultures in different circumstances to suit their circumstances. We have learned as parents what form of discipline worked and what did not since his culture and mine had very different opinions in this regard.

As the mother of these wonderful children that I feel very blessed to have, I have not tried to push my own culture on them. I can see the good points of both cultures and brought those to their attention. I cannot lie that at times I have been a bit sad that they chose their father's side over mine, but I tried not to let them know that.

My children are very open minded to other cultures and loving towards people. They are all outgoing and have become good citizens of our communities. We lived in my husband's country for 13 years and now live in my country. This has given our children the foundation they need to really know who they are and develop their own families from there.

I have always let our children know of my respect and love for my husband, his family and race. I think this has helped the children in many ways. Even though my son speaks his father's language fluently, he is willing to serve in the Armed Forces for my country. I think that speaks volumes.

All of our children graduated from college and have become assets to society in their own ways. I have learned so much from my husband's culture that I feel adds to the harmony and respect our children feel with one another. I also think the children have had more opportunities in some ways than others since they have traveled internationally and they have friends from different walks of life.

We do tease each other about the traditions that are a bit "out there", and all of our children have a healthy sense of humor, and do not get easily offended. It has not been very easy raising children with two totally different cultures and traditions, but when we have worked together as husband and wife, instead of against each other; it has brought us a home of peace and harmony.