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February 2, 2007 / missknowitall

Concern For My Biracial Son

Dear Little Miss, 

Our family is all Caucasian except for one of our sons who is Caucasian/African-American.  He is a beautiful little boy with lots of compassion for others. My concern is that this son does not like who he is because of his skin color. We have tried everything. We have always let him know that there is nothing wrong with his skin color and that he is a beautiful person. What can I do to help him in his journey to love who he is, no matter what his differences are? -Mom to 3   

Dear Mom to 3,  

I think your family is doing a great job in providing the love and acceptance necessary to healthy, stable children.  However, being a parent is about more than just loving.  Parenting is about providing children with the necessary tools to manage and build their adult lives with.  While your family, and others you meet, may be blind to racial differences, the world at large is not.  Here are some tools you will need to give your child as he grows into a man.       

1.  Don’t try to negate his worries or to convince him that there is “nothing wrong” with his looks or he will start to feel that you don’t understand him.  Acknowledge that he is different.  Accept the challenges he feels and let him know that his challenges are real.  Help him know that his differences will challenge him but that as he meets these challenges with a brave heart, he will be made stronger through them.  Let him know that he may have to work harder than some and be tougher than some in order to make his way through life.        

2.  If the rest of your family is Caucasian then look around your home and make sure that your son can find reflections of his color around him.  Do you have wall hangings of colored people, movies and T.V. shows dominated by people of color, toys of color?  These items should not just be kept for use by your son, but be used by your whole family.        

3.  Make sure that your son has good peers that share his ethnicity or coloring.  People everywhere search for reflections of themselves in others.  People with curly hair like to talk to others with curly hair about bad hair days.  It is why mothers like to be with other mothers.  Find playmates for your son in whom he can see those different parts of himself.  And again, don’t reserve these relationships just for your son; involve the whole family in making these new friendships.       

4.  As children mature they are often faced with joining a group or groups.  Your son may feel like he has to choose between being “black” or “white” or he may feel that he won’t be able to be either.  Let him know that he can be all of them at any time and that what really matters are the choices he makes in whichever group he finds himself in. 

From one mother to another, keep up the good work!

Miss Knowitall    

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One Comment

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  1. Mom to 3 / Feb 6 2007 8:55 pm

    Great advice! Thanks for your help.

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