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Raising a biracial child is a complicated, beautiful adventure.
Race and identity often become a number one priority, and parents don’t always feel equipped to handle those issues, especially when confronted by biases in their own families and communities.
Parenting a biracial child can prove to be challenging when you are doing it alone. Seeking out resources and befriending other multiracial families can provide a firm support system for you and your family.
It can be especially challenging if you are not biracial yourself, even if you are a minority.
Here are a few important things to consider when raising a biracial child:
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 three biracial children.
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 Your 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 Your 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 I wouldn’t feel embarassed when people commented on how light she was.
As embarrasing as that is to admit now, it helps me see that I needed to change my mindset.
I had issues with color.
The lightness of her skin didn’t make her any less mine, regardless of what people thought.
Most people think they are being polite by pointing out features of a baby, especially if they follow up the statements by “I wish my skin looked like that” or “Biracial babies are so cute.” They don’t realize that they are othering your baby and making offensive comments.
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 them.
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, especially resources for biracial curly hair.
Are you raising a biracial child? What do you think is different about raising them? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!