If you are a biracial/multiracial child being raised by both parents, odds are that you’d be exposed to both/all cultures about the same amount of time. You might celebrate all the different holidays, visit the home countries of your parents, learn more than one language.
But how is this exposure to culture impacted when you are being raised by a single parent? What if that parent is the “non-ethnic” parent who might not even know a whole lot about the other parent’s culture? How can we best expose our children to all sides of their cultures even when the other parent might not be directly involved?
- If you have access to the other parent or even their family- reach out. Learn right from the source about who they are and where they come from. Ask them what you should focus on when exposing your children to their culture.
- Start with holidays. Mark them in your calendar and build hype around their arrival. Research their meaning and history and what it means to celebrate that day. Make it a point to use this as a learning experience for your children in addition to having fun. Sprinkle in knowledge while you experience the food, drink and fun of that culture. If the holiday is being celebrated in a public place (parades, etc.) think about attending.
- Focus on people. Research any historical figures from that culture and find books focused on them. Incorporate them into your routine with your children. Read them together and talk about them. Emphasize that this is a figure from their culture and that they represent this culture.
- Try different mediums. Try to expose your children to the culture through a variety of mediums. Show them tv shows and movies that reflect the culture, play them traditional music, eat traditional food, wear traditional dress. Ensure your children know this is not “playing” but that they are learning about their heritage.