"The more cultural experiences multiracial children have to draw from, the better prepared they will be to cultivate an identity that 'fits,' and the less likely they will feel forced to choose one over another," Dr. But what happens if your mixed-race child identifies more strongly with one side of the family? Mixed-race children often have a f luid identity, seeing themselves one way at certain times and another way at others, notes Dr. A mixed-race child might describe herself as African-American, for example, because that's the side of the family she sees most.Whatever the explanation, don't take it personally."Educators can use those tools to create teachable moments," Thomas says."The child shouldn't feel the heavy burden of having to educate an entire community."Choosing one identity does not mean she is rejecting the other parent's love or affection," Dr. Let your child know you support her identity choice and that you still feel closely connected. Kids are trying to figure out where they fit in the world, and for multiracial children, who don't necessarily see themselves represented in popular culture, that can be even more challenging.That's why Los Angeles mom Sonia Smith-Kang recommends that just as parents childproof their homes, they take care to "culture-proof " them as well.So if your family has a heritage language or languages, speak them in the home.Introduce your children to foods and traditions from your cultural backgrounds.
She also celebrates Jewish holidays to foster a connection to her husband's side of the family.Smith-Kang stocks up on crayons that fit a range of skin tones, and her children's shelves are filled with books, videos, and toys that depict diverse families.She even organizes playgroups with other multiracial families.But while ideas about race have evolved, society still insists on classifying people in racial groups.As parents, you'll want to teach your kids about their mixed heritage in the hope that they'll continue to celebrate every part of who they are.D., a professor specializing in multiethnic literature at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. This encourages little ones to claim all aspects of their background. In order to raise self-assured multiracial kids, you'll want to leave the answer to that question up to the individual child, Dr. "Foster your children's identity autonomy, the idea that they choose their own identity however they want, whenever they want." It's when children feel pressured to conform to others' expectations about who they are that their confidence erodes."The language of fractions tells mixed children that they are not quite one race and not quite another," Dr. Instead, develop a vocabulary for your family's multiracial identity: Are you Kor-inican? In order to choose an identity, children first need to understand where they come from.As a toddler, Aiden probably noticed physical differences in other people, but he was more interested in himself: "I have brown skin and curly hair." But by around age 3 or 4, Dr.Sanchez notes, "children start categorizing people by race or skin color." Now, as a preschooler, Aiden senses that people with brown skin and curly hair seem to "go together," and he'll begin to question why he and his parents don't quite match.When Mexican-American mom Julia Rodriguez announced that she and her African-American partner were having a baby, her anxious parents responded with a flurry of questions: "Will people wonder what he is? "From my standpoint, the most important thing the baby would be was mine." Still, she tried to remind herself that her parents' questions were fueled not by prejudice but by uncertainty about whether the world would welcome their multiracial grandchild. And with interracial couples accounting for 15 percent of all new marriages in the country, demographers expect this growth to accelerate in the coming decades. ""Honestly, it got frustrating," recalls Rodriguez, of Stockton, California.