Multiracial children face, and will face, a myriad of unique issues in their lives. They will get told they are “too this, or too that” or that they need to “pick a side” amongst other things as they grow up. But what can we do as interracial parents of mixed kids to help build a solid foundation for them to stand on to deal with and tackle these problems? How to we instill confidence in our brown, tan, creme, rainbow of color kids?
Growing up multiracial will come with different Joys and Pains, as shared in this post by the lovely Sarah on Multiracial Media, but what we do and how we behave as we are raising our biracial, mixed, multiracial, brown, lovely children will have a big impact on them. Parents in general are shaping their kids futures but its even more important as interracial parents to make rearing choices with intent and purpose. We must be aware of ourselves and others around our children.
As a parent of two children that are considered multiracial, biracial, or mixed depending on your terminology… I have had to learn that there are different things to take into consideration as they grow older. My children are African American, Belizean/Garinagu, Polish, Italian, and German. We also recently learned their maternal great grandmother on their father’s side is Mayan.
When my daughter turned about 3 years old she said to me one day that she didn’t want curly hair, rather, she wanted straight hair like mommy. Instantly I was taken aback because in my eyes she is the epitome of perfection. It was also clear immediately that the words that came out of my mouth next could be a defining moment for my daughter.
“But sweetie, your hair is perfect just the way it is. Mommy loves your hair and so do so many other people. Nobody is the same and that is what makes the world perfect. You are perfect just the way you are and don’t let anybody make you feel differently.” (Something along those lines…)
Quickly I made it a mission of mine to learn as much as I could about taking care of multiracial hair. In the past, and still, I have read so many stories of grown multiracial adults who hated their hair because their parents never learned how to take care of it. That would NOT be me. I did research on products to use, techniques to put into practice, how to do protective styles, and so much more. My children would not feel like their hair was unmanageable. My children would love their hair and feel confident about their crowns.
This actually is the reason I started this blog. To share with other parents what I’ve learned so that they could also help build confidence in their skills and in turn their children. Not all parents in interracial relationship are lucky enough to have grown up around black/brown woman to ask questions and learn from. That’s where my page comes in hopefully.
Some of the things I’ve learned that I want to share with others on how to instill confidence in our multiracial children are:
- Learn how to take care of their hair. If you keep their hair looking nice this will have a positive impact on their hair confidence.
- Watch your choice of words. Do NOT refer to their hair as: a rats nest, nappy mess, a mop, unruly, unmanageable, struggle, horrible, etc. We are shaping their internal self language. Use positive words (this goes beyond hair).
- Along with this… and this might just be a pet peeve of mine… but don’t call your children swirls, zebras, etc. They are humans beings deserving of more than being diminished to the races that they are composed of.
- Compliment your children. Mix in adjectives that empower things more than just their looks of course. They are smart, creative, beautiful, humorous, etc.
- Don’t cut their hair just because its hard for you to do. LEARN HOW TO DO IT or…. find a hair salon that can.
- Teach your children they are more than their “exotic” looks. Many people may fantasize your children as something to ogle but remind them they are so much more than their races and looks.
- Educate your children about their heritages. Teach them the positive and negative history (age dependent of course). Empower them with knowledge.
- Incorporate multicultural elements into their lives so they can learn to appreciate and accept all that came before them to create them.
- Live an authentic life where you yourself appreciate and value diversity. Just because you slept with somebody of a different race does NOT make you exempt from exhibiting sketchy, borderline (or obvious), racism.
- Be a part of the solution and not the problem. Learn how to and put into practice ways to fight things like White Supremacy.
- Acknowledge race and color. Don’t pretend color doesn’t exist. It does and your children will face things that some of us could never imagine. Pretending that doesn’t exist does more harm than good.
This list could go on and on but I will leave it here. If you want to learn more on how to take care of your children’s hair I recommend checking out some of my other posts. Notably the Do’s and Don’ts of Mixed Kids Hair Care, the Cheat Sheet to Multiracial Hair Care, and Curly Hair Routine for some basic information to get started.
Please let me know down below if you have any questions. I would also like to know what you would add to this list to help instill confidence in our multiracial children? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
Check out my previous post –> Curly Hair Routine.
I took a lot of heat when my daughter was young because I did not take care of her hair, but I got someone who could. I can’t even do my own hair, let alone someone else’s! I think I found a good solution, considering my limitations. I also couldn’t sew, but found someone else who made her lovely outfits. Not every mom can do it all, and we need to remember that. I think you hit on just about everything in your list. Good job! The only thing I would add is to empower our children with a word they can use when asked the “What are you?” question, so that they can proudly answer, “I’m biracial!” or whatever term is preferable to your family.
The Mixed Mama
Thank you Susan! I completely agree that if you aren’t able to do hair… to find someone to help out. We can’t do it all and that is ok. ♡ I do like your suggestion! A lot actually and I can’t believe I forgot about that. THANK YOU for that addition!
The Mixed Mama
I thought I already replied! Sorry for the delay. Must’ve not gone through…
I originally said that you made such a GREAT point! Don’t know how I missed that. I might have to add that in since its such an important part. Thank you! ♡