Articles from August, 2011

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

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Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?
I am the daughter of born-and-raised-in-Japan parents and also a proud American citizen. I grew up bilingual because both of my parents spoke only Japanese at home, but at school, I only heard English. I think this is one of the most ideal ways to become bilingual—to be immersed in one language half the time, and in another the other half. I was very lucky; being bilingual has helped me in my education and given me neat volunteer and work opportunities. Although my English is ten times better than my Japanese, I am grateful for the rusty bit of Japanese that I know.  Read more »

Teaching my Muslim Son about 9/11

My eldest is fascinated by comparisons of the largest tsunamis or most populated cities in the world.  Read more »

Celebrating the Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia

A Day of Delight: A Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia by Maxine Rose Schur and illustrated by Brian Pinkney shows the way of life of an Ethiopian Jewish community.  Read more »

Why Doesn’t China Let Baba Go Home?

My six-year-old, Luca, is at the age where he is starting to understand complicated concepts in the world around him.  Read more »

The Unexpected Joys of Parenting Teens

“This would be a good day to rob Ann Arbor,” jokes Shi-yi as she waves to another friend she hasn’t seen all summer, “Half the town is here.” After a summer of family time, it is quite a plunge back into the cold refreshing waters of school life up here at Interlochen where the Huron, Pioneer, and Skyline bands, orchestras, and choirs are about to perform after a week of band/orchestra/choir camp.  Read more »

Ethiopian New Year Recipe: Doro Wat

Doro wat is a popular Ethiopian dish that is eaten year round and traditionally made on Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year. Search the spice rack to create this perfect recipe for the whole family, with basic

Ingredients and a low-prep time. Go ahead, make something new tonight!

I

 Read more »

Ethiopian-Inspired Craft: Geometric Stamps

Geometric shapes in Ethiopian art trace back to 14th century Christian art, with geometric patterns found on crosses. The use of geometric patterns continues today appearing in popular forms like basket weaving. This craft takes inspiration from Ethiopian geometric patterns and encourages kids to make their own geometric art. Materials: Fruits or veggies like apples, limes, oranges, potatoes that can be cut into triangles Any other household objects that have a geometric pattern (bottom of egg cartons, pencil tops, beads, cheerios, etc.  Read more »

Which Language First When Raising Trilingual Kids?

At almost 19 months old, Ramzi is just starting to really get talking. Matt was an early talker, and at the same age had quite a large vocabulary and was putting little sentences together. It’s been really interesting to watch the differences and similarities in how the two acquire and use their three languages. If I remember correctly (and oh, how I wish I had kept better track of these things!) Matt had about an equal number of words in English and Arabic at 19 months.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in Guatemala: Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese and English

Welcome Susan and Shlomo! Where are you from? Susan: I was born in Connecticut but I grew up in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Shlomo: Near Tel Aviv, Israel. Where do you currently live? Guatemala City, Guatemala How did you meet? Susan: We met in New York—we were introduced by a mutual friend. It was a blind date. Shlomo: I was in the Israeli air force and working on a project for the air force in an American company, supervising the purchase of equipment for Israel.  Read more »

Ramadan Recipe: Chicken Kebabs

I can remember when I was little my parents would feed us early and send us to bed to get some peace during iftar (the daily breaking of the fast during Ramadan). We then spent all evening sitting on the stairs trying to find ways to come downstairs and eat all the nice things everyone else was having. I am now having to deal with the same from my children  Read more »

Learning Languages for Adopted Children

Next week we are heading to the Ukraine to adopt our seventh child. I have tried to block out time from my day to study Russian, but just haven’t been able to make any progress with it. It isn’t that I don’t want to--I really enjoy learning new languages, but have been very busy. Before we adopted our baby, Matea, from Guatemala, I spent hours studying Spanish.  Read more »

9 Things You Should Never Say to Adoptive Parents

With many multicultural families formed by adoption or expanded by adoption (and obviously not solely multicultural families), we thought it’s important to address some etiquette surrounding adoption. Most people probably have friends who have adopted, but there are still many misconceptions about adoption. Sometimes people don’t know what’s ok to ask and what’s not ok.  Read more »

Sharing Our Dreams with Our Children

I recently had the opportunity to go to a two-week filmmaking workshop. It meant that for the first time in my daughter’s life (she’s four and a quarter) I was going to be away from her from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. There were many reasons that the workshop was important to me, especially because it would fulfil my childhood dream of having my first short film screened.  Read more »

Children’s Experience of Ramadan

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is the time for healthy adult Muslims’ to spend the day abstaining from food and water and the nights in hours of worship and contemplation. Although Muslim children do not usually fast, this does not mean that Ramadan, the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, is not important for them. In Ramadan, a family and community’s routines are completely changed.  Read more »

Giveaway Goodness: Win the children’s book A Party in Ramadan

Win the multicultural children's book, A Party in Ramadan, courtesy of Boyds Mills Press. Thanks Boyds Mills! A Party in Ramadan is a fantastic book about Ramadan for both Muslim and non-Muslim children alike. If you would like to read more about it, check out our review here: http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/08/a-party-in-ramadan/ (Please note we received the copy to giveaway after our review, at our request.  Read more »

Teaching My Kids About Israel

One of the most contentious issues any non-Israeli Jew must face is how to think and speak about Israel. For almost 2000 years, Jews lived in forced exile, dreaming about but unable to reclaim the Promised Land. Israel became a focal point of Jewish theology and the idea of return from exile was interwoven into our liturgy. The formation of a Jewish state in 1948, therefore, was a watershed moment for the Jewish people.  Read more »

Rhythms of the Season

After a long trip away from home, one of the first things I always do upon our return is take all the kids to buy groceries at our favorite Chinese grocery store. I love watching them zip around, squealing as they load up our basket, “Ooooh! It’s been so long since we’ve had cong you bing!” “Xiao long bao! I want xiao long bao!” and “I haven’t seen this kind of zhu rou gan in soooooo long!” At Tsai Grocery, the kids and I all know what and where everything is.  Read more »

8 Rules of Adoption Etiquette

With many multicultural families formed by adoption or expanded by adoption (and obviously not solely multicultural families), we felt it was important to address some etiquette surrounding adoption. Most people have friends who have adopted, but there are still many misconceptions about adoption. Sometimes people don’t know what’s alright to ask and what’s not.  Read more »

The All-or-Nothing Family: A Lament

The hardest thing for me about our unique little family is our unique extended family situation. One side of the family is in the U.S., the other side of the family in Lebanon, and we, like shipwrecked sailors, somewhere in the middle, impossibly far from both. Ok, yes, there’s email. Skype. Facebook. Planes and international travel. Thank goodness! Without all that our lives would be truly sad and lonely ones.  Read more »

Which method is best for raising bilingual kids when the main bilingual parent is not around much?

Dear Dr. Gupta, I am a native English speaker who married a native Spanish speaker. We currently have one 10-month-old daughter and have another child on the way. For numerous obvious reasons, we want our kids to be bilingual, but we are very torn on which method to use. I speak a fair amount of Spanish, and my vocabulary is growing all the time (my husband and mother-in-law speak to me in Spanish almost exclusively).  Read more »

The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

We have a weird relationship to babies and sleep in the West. I was reminded of this when I spoke to my German sister-in-law recently. She had just arrived back in Germany from Spain, where she was visiting her little sister who had just had a baby. My sister-in-law commented that the baby was great, except “she doesn’t sleep in her bed, only in the arms, so that’s a little hard.  Read more »

International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?

In my last column I looked into a friend’s wacky baby-naming. As it turns out, the degree of freedom we enjoy here in the States with regards to baby names is not shared internationally. Naming laws abound worldwide: France, Poland and New Zealand are just a few countries that have laws on the books. In Germany, the first name must indicate the baby’s sex--I’m not sure what they’d do with a name like mine, and who decides on which side a name like “Jamie” falls.  Read more »

Mothers-To-Be: Pregnancy Around the World

Five babies are born every second around the world. These little global citizens hold our promises, deepest desires and intentions for the future. InCultureParent takes a look at the beautiful women across the globe giving birth to our future generation. In each of the countries represented, we also present its ranking in Save the Children's Mother's Index.  Read more »

Children’s Book Review: A Party in Ramadan

A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin and illustrated by Laura Jacobsen, is the perfect Ramadan book for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Centered around a child’s pony party during Ramadan, the book adeptly bridges both worlds through a mix of Muslim and non-Muslim characters.   Young Leena is not yet expected to fast during Ramadan, but she has chosen to in order to partake in the celebration with her family, especially her Auntie Sana who is coming over for iftar dinner on the first night.  Read more »

Mama, What Colour is Me? How My Child Defines Race

Disclaimer: Please note that this piece is not intended to make light of the serious issue of race/ethnicity. Its aim, however, is to explore what happens if we allow ourselves to look at skin colour afresh in the way that children do. I am black. My skin colour may be brown but as far as talking about race or ethnicity or whatever the current politically correct term is—I am black.  Read more »

Chinese School Dropout: Why I No Longer Torture My Son With Bilingualism

After three years of flashcards, tracing sheets, computer games and CDs, I’m giving in. I’m a Chinese School Dropout. Or rather my second-grader is. It’s a decision we have not come to rashly. We have had a love-hate relationship with learning Chinese. Sure, there was some whining. But not kicking and screaming and crying—especially since first grade, when my son started in a homework-free program aimed at non-native Mandarin speakers.  Read more »

Giving Birth Naturally in Hong Kong, the Land of the Lucky

In a country where women routinely consult the Chinese zodiac to determine the most auspicious date for the caesarean delivery of their babies, I was preparing for a natural childbirth in a private English hospital on the top of Hong Kong’s highest mountain in the days just after the British handover of the colony to China. The handover had taken place in July, but in September, the lights from the handover celebration that drew millions and was watched on television all over the world, still bathed the city in brilliance.  Read more »
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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.”

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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

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2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

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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

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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?

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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

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

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My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

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

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

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Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

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

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Tanabata Festival: July 7

A beautiful Japanese summer festival

Homemade Art Books for Ramadan

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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!

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

This Japanese mom embraced Judaism to give her son a piece of his father
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