Raising a child is a complicated, beautiful adventure. Raising a biracial child is an adventure that comes with a few complicated twists and turns. Race and identity often become a number one priority, and parents don’t always feel equipped to handle those issues. In my short years of parenthood, I have discovered some ways to make this process a little easier.
Representation matters to your biracial child
I remember the day my dad brought home a black ballerina. I thought she was the most beautiful Barbie I had ever seen. Not because she was black, but because I could envision myself being a beautiful ballerina like she was. I had white Barbies and I thought they were beautiful too. However, when I saw one that looked like me, I could identify with her. This childhood memory has stuck with me as I’m raising two biracial girls. I seek to find books & toys that represent them. As much as I’d like them to be okay with identifying with me, I know that at some point, I won’t understand what it’s like to be biracial.
People will question our identity as a family based on skin color
When my oldest daughter was born, I sent a picture of her to all of my closest friends (as every proud mom does). One of my friends joked with me later that week that her phone was acting up, so she had to get a new one and all of her numbers didn’t transfer. She got my text with a picture of Melody and was trying to figure out who sent her a picture of a white baby. I laughed, but it hurt my feelings a bit. When people said that she looked like my husband, I think I was offended because she was so light, not because she had his genes. I didn’t want anyone to question that she was my child. Ladies and gentleman, I was color struck.
Examine my own issues with race & skin color
I think every parent wants their child to look like them, biracial or not. At one time, I wished that my daughter’s skin color was more brown so that we wouldn’t have the issues we had. But then I realized that those issues would then transfer to my husband because her skin wouldn’t match his. God made my children with cinnamon brown skin; lighter in the winter and a darker complexion in the summer. I need to be okay with whatever shade they are. I have to teach them to be confident with how God made her. If I allow what others say to us to bother me, my daughters will internalize those feelings, and I refuse to let that happen. Fortunately there are many successful biracial people they can look up to.
Seek out resources
One of the reasons I started this blog is because I struggled to find resources on raising a biracial child when I was pregnant. Here’s one I stumbled across this week: Interracial Marriage and Family. How exciting is this?! I’ve also found several other bloggers who blog on this subject and connected with them too. One of my favorite authors on the subject is Dr. Francis Wardle.
Are you raising a biracial child? What do you think is different about raising them? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!