Raising Bicultural Children: What You Should Know
When a family decides to raise their children in a place other than their home county, they may have a lot of concerns. They may worry that they won’t be able to adapt to this new location or, on the contrary, that the new culture will distance them from their identity and roots. Therefore, today we want to share some keys to raising bicultural children.
There are many experts who defend biculturalism as the best option. That means, they don’t see a reason to not do this. Their children will know, enjoy and identify with both cultures and this will enrich them personally. Therefore, despite the effort and hard work it requires, it may well be the best gift you can give your children.
Uncertainty is part of the process
Raising your children in a different country from the one where you were born and where you put your roots down can be a challenge. This is even more true if your little ones were born in your previous home and spent their first years there. However, now you have to leave and you’re worried about the uncertainty of navigating this transition in the best way possible.
Many parents fear that their children will have a hard time adjusting to the new culture. They fear they won’t be able to make friends, and that they’ll be discriminated against or left out. Therefore, they focus all their efforts on integrating their children into the new country. However, despite great intentions, this leads to the children losing a valuable part of their identity.
On the other hand, other parents’ fears may be just the opposite: that their children will forget where they come from. In this case, to preserve their roots and traditions at all costs, they make it difficult for their children to integrate themselves into their new reality.
You have to remember that it’s extremely important to understand and share the culture and traditions of the place you’re now calling home.
Benefits of biculturalism
Biculturalism is an excellent option. It’s a balanced option that allows children to embrace the two countries they’re part of into their identity. In addition, there are many benefits:
- Knowing and keeping cultural heritage alive reinforces children’s sense of identity.
- It boosts their self-esteem and makes them more self-confident.
- Children who are fluent in two languages and familiar with two cultures will have better and broader job opportunities.
- Biculturalism helps children learn to see things from another perspective and view the world with empathy. Therefore, children will be more tolerant and able to understand differences.
- Understanding their roots will allow them to better understand their parents and the rest of the family that still lives in their home country. Also, it will bring you closer emotionally.
Raising bicultural children
Raising bicultural children isn’t an easy task because it requires convictions and perseverance. Below, we’ll share some guidelines to help you succeed in this important task:
- First, it’s important that you yourself know and respect both cultures. That’s the only way that you’ll be able to understand the journey your children are facing and help guide them through it.
- Tell your children about the history of their home country, its culture and its traditions. In addition, you can share family or personal anecdotes that took place there.
- Adopt the family habit of celebrating holidays that are typical of both cultures. Don’t just celebrate the ones from the country you live in. Celebrating these special days and traditional festivals is a great way to help your little ones get involved.
- Regularly prepare typical dishes from your home culture. Also, you can even encourage your kids to cook with you. That way, they’ll become familiar with the typical flavors, ingredients and ways of cooking food. When they’re older, share the recipe with them and invite them to make it themselves.
- Find other people who are in the same situation. Being part of organizations and community groups from your home country is an excellent way for your kids to meet people from their culture. They can also share their experiences with them. Also, this will definitely help your children feel like they belong and feel proud of their roots.
The last piece of advice we’re going to share, and likely the most important, is that you need to be patient and flexible. Your children are going through a difficult transition and have to find their own place. Over time, they’ll choose the parts of both cultures that they most identify with. Trust them.It might interest you...