Articles from March, 2011

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Performance of Parenting or Why I Hate my Job

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The Performance of Parenting or Why I Hate my Job
Nannying can be terribly boring. This is because the infants I care for (most of whom are under a year old) are busy entertaining themselves. They are working on physics equations in their head (don't believe me? Read The Scientist in the Crib) and testing objects' densities with their mouths. Their laboratory is a mat on the floor of their homes in general. My Montessori training taught me that the best place for an infant to be is on the ground where they can move around freely and that as teachers our place is to observe, provide safe environments with which the baby can interact and respond to any expressed needs.  Read more »

Primary School Privilege

I get an urgent call from one of the other Kindergarten moms.  Read more »

Big Questions and Inner Truths

Now that my daughter Amrita is two, the focus of my parenting has shifted from questions on navigating our way through the daily routines of life, to more philosophical ones.  Read more »

Sorting through the varied hues of Easter – cultural or religious holiday?

My father and I always sang in the church and school choirs, so every year we celebrated Easter by putting on our choir robes, singing joyously at Easter sunrise mass, and then going out for a Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's.  Read more »

Rights of the Child in Islam

I have a small poster on my fridge, now old and slightly yellowed, which my children love. It's called the "Children's Rights and Responsibilities" and lists all of the basic things to which every child is entitled. They love seeing it and having it read to them—it makes them feel that as children they matter in their own right, and knowing that it is the duty of adults to provide these things is empowering to them.  Read more »

France: Behind the Times and Unconcerned

In France, officials and pundits like to talk about how France is 20 years behind the United States. Sometimes this is portrayed as a positive (obesity rates, crime statistics), and sometimes as a negative (technology, business, customer service). As an American living in France for over ten years, I can see how it's both.   Those Americans who grew up before the 80s may remember certain freedoms we had as children: playing outside on summer evenings on the sidewalk with the other neighborhood kids, riding bikes around aimlessly, walking to swimming pools and friends' houses to play.  Read more »

What Bilingualism is Not

I have had the chance to live and work for extended periods of time in at least three countries: the United States, Switzerland and France, and as a researcher on bilingualism, it has allowed me to learn a lot about my topic of interest. I have found that people in these countries share many misconceptions about bilingualism and bilinguals but that they also have very country-specific attitudes towards them.  Read more »

Identity Confusion: An Israeli Mom in NYC

In Israel almost everyone is Jewish, except of course for the Arabs with whom Jews rarely interact. As a Jew, if you decide to marry outside your religion or even do something as minor as celebrate a non-Jewish holiday in your own home, you experience a sense of betrayal. Betrayal of your land, your family and your supposed identity. But is religion really who we are? Or is it only a part of who we become after we taste and experience the world with openness and love.  Read more »

A Lion’s Mane: Story of the Sikh Turban

How often did the covers of the books you read as a child have children who looked like you? Did these children's books offer you a sense of belonging or importance? As our children enter into such a global community, it is clear that having access to authentic literature representing their heritage can only help ease the numerous challenges of peer pressure and elevate self-esteem.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Arabic, Spanish and English

Welcome Selene and Jad!   Where are you from?   Selene: Guadalajara, Mexico   Jad: Rachaya El Wadi, Lebanon   Where do you currently live?   Grand Rapids, Michigan   Selene: We have only ever lived in Michigan together.   How did you meet?   Selene: We met in school (university) in Michigan when he was a junior and I was a sophomore and ended up working at the same office—a study abroad office—in college.  Read more »

Easter: April 8

Easter is a Christian holiday, celebrating Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. It falls two days after Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. Easter also marks the end of Lent, the 40-day season characterized by fasting, prayer and penance. In the Western church, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.  Read more »

Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag

Sarson ka sag is traditionally a Punjabi dish, often made on Vaisakhi but not exclusively. It’s totally delicious, vegetarian and incorporates one of the world healthiest veggies—mustard greens—in a way that even your kids might eat. Mustard greens are an excellent anti-cancer vegetable, can lower cholesterol and have been known to be beneficial for colds, arthritis and depression  Read more »

Easter Craft: Design and Dye Eggs (Naturally)

Dyeing Easter eggs is one of the most popular Easter traditions, found in many parts of the Christian world. Here's an American way to decorate eggs that I learned growing up, with the twist of using natural dyes.   Materials: Candle and matches Natural dyeing agents (red cabbage, turmeric, beets) Pot White vinegar Salt Strainer Small bowls Eggs Large metal spoon Paper towels Drying rack   Instructions: 1  Read more »

Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag

One element of the celebration of Vaisakhi is a parade. A fun thing for kids to do is make their own Nishan Sahib, the Sikh holy flag, to carry in the parade. The Nishan Sahib has an Adi Shakti on it, which is the symbol of the Sikhs.   Materials: A rectangle of white construction paper Orange paper A print out of an Adi Shakti (included below) A stick or rod about 1 1/2 feet long Scissors, glue and strong tape   Instructions: Cut the white poster board into a rectangle, about the size of a piece of printer paper, to use as the base of your flag.  Read more »

Celebrating the Buddha’s Birthday

Throughout much of Asia, spring is the time to observe the Buddha's birthday in Mahayana Buddhism. For Japan in particular, the ancient "8th day of the 4th month" has been updated to match the Western calendar, and thus every year on April 8th is the holiday of Hanamatsuri: the Festival of Flowers. The name derives from the story of the Buddha's birth, when the gods of India scattered flowers from the sky in joy.  Read more »

My Child Looks Nothing Like Me!

My husband and I are opposites. He has black hair—that rare, true, deep black—which is thick and wavy. I have straight, fine, reddish hair. His eyes are deep brown, mine are green. I am so fair that I can get sunburned just thinking about the sun; he sports a deep tan year round.   So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that we each have a child who looks nothing like us.  Read more »

Forgetting my Mother Tongue

Francois Grosjean's recent article on language forgetting struck a cord. I have experienced a form of language forgetting myself when I was seven years old, in a limited sense. My family moved from Frankfurt in Germany's Hessen region to Hamburg in the North. Both my sister and I had spoken "hessisch," the local dialect spoken in Hessen. Within six months after the move we had both completely switched to a Hamburg accent and had actually forgotten our dialect.  Read more »

Tradition Talk: When the Baby Loses His/Her Umbilical Cord

Q: What is the tradition in your culture when the baby loses his/her umbilical cord? What do you do with it? Is there any special celebration?   Japan: I am 47 years old and I have my own little umbilical cord piece in a little red box. My mother had kept it and gave it to me when I was grown up. In Japan, everyone keeps it as a memento. I also have my child's umbilical cord in a little box, even though she was born in the U.  Read more »

Is it useful to start teaching my children my native language when they are 4 and 7 years old?

Dear Dr. Gupta, My children are 4 and 7 years old and we live in Australia. My first language was Russian, though I was born and raised in Australia and I remember being sent to kindergarten and school not knowing English—an experience I found terrible and isolating, even though I learnt English fast. For this, as well as various other reasons, I did not speak Russian to my children from birth and am now wondering whether it would be any use at all to start to speak Russian to them at this stage.  Read more »

Bilingual Fact? Girls Have an Easier Time Than Boys

According to Professor Chua Chee Lay, who gave a talk on bilingualism at a preschool in Singapore, the part of the brain which controls language development, develops faster in girls than in boys. This is why boys may struggle more between the ages of 4 to 6, when learning a second language. I would be curious to read more on this subject. Have you noticed differences in how your daughter vs.  Read more »

The African Guide to Co-sleeping

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not about discussing the pros and cons of co-sleeping or to give the myriad forms of evidence that:   (a) A lot more parents co-sleep than admit to it (depending on their societal norms).   (b) Co-sleeping can have lots of health and safety benefits for both parent and child.   This article is to provide practical tips for parents who wish to co-sleep or are already co-sleeping and would like further support for their decision.  Read more »

The Status of Mothers in Islam

After the birth of my first child, there was a thought that kept crossing my mind regarding the status of mothers in Islam. Growing up I had heard of hadith (Prophetic sayings) such as, "Your paradise lies under the feet of your mother," and not given much thought to them. Once I became a mother myself, I started to wonder what this meant. I was no one special, why would paradise lie under my feet?   Then I thought back to the sickness, discomfort and exhaustion I suffered during my pregnancy.  Read more »

The Burning Question Part 2: Education Issues for Multicultural Families

One of my greatest fears as a new parent, right after Matthew's birth, was about putting him in school in France. While I hadn't done much research on the system, its results surrounded me: a culture where it's a bad idea to accept responsibility for one's mistakes, where apologizing is seen as a sign of weakness, where people talk down to one another in a way that sounds suspiciously like what you would hear a caregiver say to a naughty two-year-old.  Read more »

Study: Bilinguals See the World in a Different Way

The intimate link between culture, language and cognition is once again demonstrated in a new study, using color perception, to test how bilinguals see the world. One way to test how bilinguals see the world is through color perception. The way languages differentiate color (for ex. Japanese has words for light and dark blue which English does not have) and how bilinguals then differentiate those same colors, gives researchers insight into how differently bilinguals perceive the world than their monolingual counterparts.  Read more »

Fasting and Feasting, Dancing to a Divine Rhythm

A brief nineteen days of austerity in a year filled with festive holy day celebrations, the Baha'i fast is assigned a spiritual significance that can be puzzling to those from religious traditions, cultures and societies in which fasting is not widely practiced.   Every hour of the nineteen days of this sunrise-to-sunset fast, the Baha'i scriptures tell us, is endowed with "a special virtue, inscrutable to all except [God].  Read more »

Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother

The 2010 Mothers' Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of the well-being of mothers and children. If you're a mother in Europe or Australia, don't plan on moving. Norway, Australia, Iceland and Sweden are the best performing countries. The top 10 countries, in general, attain very high scores for mothers' and children's health, educational and economic indicators.  Read more »

Study: Bilingualism Good for the Brain

This study covers stuff we know but never tire of hearing. How long will it take for all these states with English-only policies in the U.S. to catch on? Quoted directly from the article below.   - Bilingual children are more effective at multi-tasking.   - Adults who speak more than one language do a better job prioritizing information in potentially confusing situations.  Read more »
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Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

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A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

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2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

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My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

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Will Three Languages Confuse a Young Child?

My wife thinks three languages will confuse our child. Is she right?

11 African-American Children’s Books for Christmas and Kwanzaa

Try a few of these from this fantastic selection of African-American holiday books

What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal

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10 Multicultural Children’s Books that Make Adults Cry

We dare you to read these without a tear

Why This Mom Banned the Word ‘Weird’ From Her Kids' Vocabulary

One approach to explaining diversity to kids.

French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

How one mom in an intercultural marriage sees the differences between Italian and French parenting

The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers

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Are Parents Too Overprotective in the West and Too Lax in the East?

Would you pick up a stranger's child or is that invasive?

Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family

What's the best way to transmit the values we care about to our kids?

Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids

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Dear White Officer, Please Don't Shoot

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My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

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Beautiful children's stories from Nepal to Tibet

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest

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A celebration of faith around the world through simple text and rich illustrations.

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After Her Husband’s Tragic Death, She Embraced a Religion and Culture Not Her Own

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Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family
[…] B. Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy. In Culture Parent June […...
From Breasts are for Babies? Perceptions of Breastfeeding in Italy
[…] that “beatings” are not actually spankings. There may be some truth to this because African tribal culture does not support “spanking”. This is confirmed by my own observation in S...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
[…] Pomlazka, a special handmade whipping stick, is an Easter tradition in the Czech Republic. Made out of pussywillow tigs, pomlazka is braided and then used by the village boys/men to “...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
Hi Hajar! I have 3 (almost 4, 10 weeks to go), we sleep on a king mattress with a single beside it, generally I sleep with the 3 on the King and my husband is on the single! (Babies are 6,4 and 1). ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Dear Arabic Dad, I disagree with Dr. Gupta's advice to drop Arabic if your children reject it. If you show your children that you are willing to speak English with them, they will not make the effor...
From How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad’s language is limited
How to teach our children, daughters in particular, how to live not as a victim in a world where they are victims? Sigh.... we so much want them to live in the santa clause and tooth faery and ideal...
From What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal
What a wonderful review! If you're interested, we'd love for you to link up this post (or any other that features diverse kid lit) with the Diverse Children's Books Link-up! You can find it at ...
From 2 Children’s Books about Jamaica
This is exactly what I wanted to teach my students. They are learning about traditional games from around the world and I found this wonderful website to get full of useful information! It helped me...
From Five Fun Games from Around the World
Hi there! Once you baby gets past the 3 month mark, it sounds like you still should wear or carry them?! Do you just not bundle them up as much or how do you wear them? Do you have any pictures :) m...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi! I am wondering when you breastfeed your baby that long.. 4 years or so.. Do you ever introduce solids to them? Or so they just drink breast milk until age ...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/12/how-to-raise-confident-asian-pacific-american-daughters/ […...
From How to Raise Strong and Confident Asian Pacific American Daughters
This is a great collection of ideas for Chinese culture projects from some of my favorite bloggers! Thank...
From 18 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Crafts, Food and Children’s Books
I wonder also that if your wife's native language (or at least one of the native languages) is Urdu, as she talks Urdu with her own mother, why doesn't she speak Urdu to your children? If you live i...
From How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad’s language is limited
I do call it latvian flashmob: just "break the door" and Come with my family to celebrate somebodys nameday. You Will never know how many guests Will be there....
From The Coolest Latvian Celebration You Probably Haven’t Heard of
I think spanking is the tool of the lazy parent. If you have to spank a child up to adulthood, then it is obviously not an effective form of disipline. Also, call me paranoid, but it seems like all...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] What Makes Berkeley School so Great  from Stephanie from InCultureParent […...
From A California Public School Snapshot: What Makes Berkeley so Great?
Both of my parents are white (with roots in Ireland and England). My mother's side is very kissy-huggy, and I remember greeting both my maternal grandmother and grandfather with kisses on the cheek ...
From Cross-Cultural Parenting in Japan: Differences in Affection
[…] are so many incredible reasons to read diverse biographies; they can be summed up best in In Culture Parent magazine found digitally. The authors provided multiple valuable reasons but t...
From Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids
So glad to see all this and looking forward to doing it with our first come Sept, God willing. I am curious though, I see all these cosleeping articles and comments but have yet to find anyone expla...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
Hi all! American married to Egyptian and we are expecting our first in Sept, God willing. After speaking with many girls in the Arabic community as well as ladies married to Arabic men, most seem to...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This article and some of the ensuing comments was familiar yet frustrating. I have a mother-in-law who takes up a lot of space and has made efforts to run things, but this is not her culture - this ...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I'm Chris, a reading teacher and father of 4 amazing kids. Forget about everything you've read and heard about how and when your child should learn to read - most of the information out there is irr...
From How Should We Teach Reading to a Bilingual Child?
Hi Mira, Love your list. I would add the following titles: - Grandfather Gandhi, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus - The Last Kappa of Old Japan, by Sunny Seiki - Fly Free, by Roseanne Thong -...
From Best Asian-American Children’s Books
I stumbled across this blog today while looking for resources for my, hopefully, multilingual baby. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for capturing what I am currently feelin...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
Thanks for this lovely post! I agree completely -- all our kids need to see themselves reflected in literature so that they know that their stories matter too. I'd love it if you checked out my bo...
From Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children’s Books
[…] unity and eating them brings good luck. I don’t have my recipe, but I found a few good ones here, here and […...
From Chinese New Year Recipe: Yuanxiao (sweet rice balls)
[…] Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan | InCulture Parent […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Thank you for your post! I am also working through raising my child with a sense of religious community and ritual without strictly adhering to certain interpretations of religious faith. (And also ...
From Does Religion Matter? Juggling Two Faiths in One Family
I don't understand. I always thought that discipline was a major part of far East culture. (no racism intended of course). So I'm a little confused. Were the examples mentioned in the article consid...
From Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan