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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A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

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

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

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

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.

Why We Need to Read Multicultural Children's Books

Children need to see the world around them reflected in books.

How My Two Year Old is Teaching Me Thai

I am just another "farang" or stranger until my son starts speaking fluent Thai

10 Things You Should Know Before Adopting a Child

What you may want to consider before sending in that adoption application.

10 Best Children's Books for Gifts

Our Editors favorite multicultural books for this holiday season.

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

How do I explain to my kids the racism that does not come in the form of explicit laws and overt, blatant prejudice?

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

Should they be allowed because it's "normal?" Think again.

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

Smarter, larger, better, healthier and more beautiful? A project that debunks stereotypes.

Dear White Officer, Please Don't Shoot

At what age does my darling black son begin to look like a threat to the world?

A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

A great pick for back to school season

My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

Does your shelf have these kid favorites?

I was Diagnosed with Cancer at Age 37 while Abroad with Kids

Illness in a foreign country can be scary but it taught this mom a different meaning of family.

Huge Giveaway for Eid: Tea Collection, Little Passports, Little Pim, Dolls, Books, Music & More

Win almost $300 in prizes from awesome globally-inspired children's products.

5 Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Healthy smoothies for summer your kids will like.

3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas

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

I started off by speaking dodgy Cantonese. No word for remote control? No problem! ‘Pressy thingy.’

Help Us Giveaway a Soccer Ball to Kids in Ethiopia!

Let's donate a ball to kids who need it in Ethiopia. Here's how you can help!

Tanabata Festival: July 7

A beautiful Japanese summer festival

Homemade Art Books for Ramadan

A simple homemade gift for kids

A Children's Book for Global Citizens: Everyone Prays

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

Do I Hold My Son Back to Get into the Immersion Program?

What would you do? Your child won a place in the lottery, only problem is it's the wrong year!
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Daniela You speak BS, you have never seen Franconia, or you're a Franconian girl. In the second case, I know that no intellectual conversation could be made with Franconian people, because you'r...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
@Oceania To me it looks like you're demonstrating the same kind of rudeness you (claim to) condemn. Please open your mind a little and stop living in the past. New Zealand has its own problems as w...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Joseph Dear Joseph, If you were never in Germany, why do you think you can preach me on experiences almost every other expat had in here? I wrote that post 4 years ago, and what my toughts were ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I think, in general, Deutschland struggles with emotional intelligence. It's been repressed and underrated for so long that it's atrophied somewhat. Reminds me of an interesting study recently, in w...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] 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
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon
[…] What’s Easter without a Whipping?, InCulture Parent — a post about the Czech tradition of men and boys whipping women on Easter.  I found this very troubling. [̷...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
[…] Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia, InCulture Parent — on our irrational fear of abduction and sexual predators […...
From Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia
I have been living in Germany for about 8 or 9 months now, and a lot of these comments are absolutely spot on. I came here from the US, having heard of none of these "negative stereotypes," (I actua...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I'm in a choir at my church, and one of our new members is very pushy. We don't expect her to be perfect (and she's not!) but she seems to hover, making sure our music is in order, bringing arm load...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
It is very difficult to deal with swabian in laws. They don't like expressing affection and tend to be critical. I gave up on trying to please them when I am feeling lonely, empty and hopeless. D...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I don't intend to come off as rude myself. I've never been to Germany before, but these generalisations are unacceptable, especially since many others (not in this site, of course) have had positive...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Zim Spend some more time. Know a few people before jumping to conclusion...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@M. White Was he mistreating you? If not, then don't divorce. Ask him what's considered polite and what's not. Please read about cultural differences before lumping all Germans as rude. Sure, some ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Jill Don't give up too easily. Study the culture a little, learn the language, and treat them with respect. Maybe then you might have a better time. Sorry about your experience. I've never been t...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Tonya It's usually not a good idea to smile at strangers. Germans usually smile towards family members and close friends. Maybe you just had a bad experience. Sorry to hear about tha...
From Are Germans Really Rude?