*This post was sponsored by Mitz apparel & accessories. As always, all opinions are my own.
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 the stereotypes that people have and are directed towards their children.
The world is quick to put your child in a box simply because of their race or gender. Racial stereotypes can be dangerous because it can foster hate and negative feelings towards groups of people. Even if you don’t have those feelings in your home, it’s important to address the feelings of others with your children.
Here’s why I’m pushing my kids to break all stereotypes:
It Will Boost Their Self-Confidence
I have two daughters ages five and three. The world is constantly throwing subtle (and not so subtle) messages their way about what it means to be a successful female. When you look at the images of women in the media, you are flooded by scantily clad, dramatic, superficial images.
Promoting these images of success lead to girls who are trying to live up to a standard that can be near impossible. As long as I can control what they watch on television, I am very mindful of everything they watch-including commercials. I want them to create their own standard of beauty based on qualities that are more than skin deep-and more than their material possessions.
I am careful to compliment my daughters on their artistic abilities, manners & other qualities besides just physical appearance.
Doing so will help them to feel confident in who they are, and this will give them a healthy self confidence.
They Will Define Their Own Success Despite Stereotypes
I get questions all the time about my biracial children.
How will they identify?
Do you think they will be confused?
How will you feel if they choose not to identify as biracial?
Race doesn’t define your success, but how you feel about yourself certainly can. People will question my children’s racial ambiguity, so it is my job to prepare them.
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.
They Will Pursue Goals Without Holding Back
My husband is a farmer. He owns his own farming business and our family spends a lot of time together. I was not raised on a farm, so every day is a learning experience. My husband uses the time together to teach the girls about animals, horticulture & life.
Before he became a farmer, I believed many of the stereotypes I had heard about farmers. I had no idea how hard they worked or how food went from the farm to the table.
I love the see the surprised look on people’s faces when they find out my husband is a farmer. I am also breaking a stereotype about what a farmer’s wife should look or act like.
Both of my girls are very girly, but they enjoy being on the farm. They help my husband dig, water plants & feed the animals. They often want to dress up, but I explain to them that we have to dress practically for the farm. Recently we’ve discovered a company, Mitz, that makes clothes free from gender stereotypes & their products are made in the USA. Now my daughters can wear their fruit & vegetable dress on the farm!
We want our girls to see that they can be anything they want to be-despite what the world says they should. If they choose not to become farmers, we’re okay with that. We just want them to know that they have the option…and we plan on sharing our knowledge with them so they have choices.
How do you teach your kids to break through stereotypes about their race or gender?