Is It More Difficult To Raise Mixed Kids?

Is it more or less difficult to raise a Mixed kid to have a strong sense of self and a high self-esteem?

 This was in part the root of a discussion my wife and I were having the other day.

 Our conclusion was that while there are certainly real challenges involved with accomplishing that task for a kid with mixed heritage, it is not necessarily or inherently more difficult than raising any kid, particularly any minority kid, with the goal of being a proud and good person.

 At first it seems obvious that it would be a more difficult task for parents of Mixed kids. Making sure they do not feel like oddities, or caught between worlds, making sure they feel connected to both or all of their ethnic worlds, making sure they know there are many others like them, these are some of the issues Mixed parents have that most other parents do not.

 But there isn’t a good parent out there that isn’t also dealing with helping their kids connect to their roots and feel comfortable in a multicultural world.

 A counterbalance to the extra work involved in dual ethnic lessons and effort, is the bonus Mixed parents get from having kids who know instinctively what it means to blend  and see many sides, to have a kid who is automatically able to cross ethnic lines when others can’t. And it is great to have a kid that is the walking embodiment of the ultimate social goal of cultural diversity and people seeing each other for more than their skin color.

 With our kids, no one has to explain that concept or teach them what it means.

 So in the end, our job as parents of Mixed kids is not harder or easier. It just involves different challenges. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As someone who has lived my life and my professional career trying to bring cultures together, our kids are the ultimate example of living up to that mission. And they don’t even have to think about it. It is just who they are.

 And they are changing the world just by being who they are. In that sense, our job as parents is quite easy.

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3 thoughts on “Is It More Difficult To Raise Mixed Kids?

  1. Keri Williams says:

    As the mother of multi-cultural, bi-racial children, I have found that my children are completely bewildered by the concept of race. They tell people they are “brown” (well, my daughter says she’s “white”) and they are always told that “brown” doesn’t exist–they are either black or white. As you said, our kids are able to automatically cross the imaginary ethnic lines we’ve constructed.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      Hi Keri. Yeah same here with our 13 year old daughter. She likes to read my blog surpassingly, and likes to suggest people for my “Mixed People Monday” pieces. LOL

      But what is interesting is she defines Mixed as different countries, as opposed to what others think of Mixed as being, which is largely the “races” mixing. She knows we don’t believes in the notion of differing races, so she broadens her concept to include any cultures or nationalities that come together. I like that she is not limited to thinking in terms of the silly notion of “races.”

      • Keri Williams says:

        Yeah, I really encourage my children to think independently about being “mixed” and I try not to box them in with terminology. My husband is Jamaican and I am American so we also have the multi-cultural thing going on and that’s an interesting discussion in itself. So much is written about raising bi-racial children (though it’s based on this artificial concept), but I think multi-cultural parenting is a much more significant discussion in many ways.

        Like you I find it fascinating to watch the process as my children learn to define themselves.

        I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming posts…

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