Articles by Kellen Kaiser

Friday, June 28th, 2013

8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality

By

8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Growing up with lesbian parents, I wished my classmates' parents had talked to them about homosexuality. Here are eight reasons why it's important you talk to your kids about homosexuality. It's all part of the mission of raising globally-minded children!   1.  Eventually, inevitably, they will meet someone who is gay.   They may have already. With more and more gay people having kids there could be gay parents in your preschool or playgroup. When that fateful meeting occurs, it might be nice for your kids to have some context.  Read more »

What Sucks about Being a Nanny

When friends hear the nanny position that has served as my main gig for the past year and a half is ending, the most common question I’m asked is, "But won’t you miss him?"   Him.  Read more »

I’m Your Nanny, Do You Really Trust Me?

The first week of my new job coincided with the heavily media-covered murder of two children by their nanny in the Upper East Side of New York City.  Read more »

The Only Things Your Baby Needs

Jail is an interesting place to observe parenting in practice.  Read more »

Why the Car is Bad for Your Kids

I’m a strange candidate to argue for a car-free approach to childrearing. As a resident of Los Angeles, I practically live in my car. And If I’m being completely honest, I can’t even ride a bike. But unlike those critiquing cars for environmental reasons or even social (the argument has been made that cars are essentially tools of isolation), my concerns are child centered.  Read more »

Exploring Masturbation in Children and Other Taboos

When I told some people that I wanted to write about childhood sexuality, they were understandably wary. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole, was the way one friend worded it. They were only partially reassured when I promised that I wouldn’t be advocating having sex with children, only acknowledging the inherent sexuality children have from birth.  Read more »

Toddler Food Wars

Lately the families I work for are dealing with issues around food. In one household, I am told that the toddler has decided not to eat her dinner one evening and so as a consequence I am not to give her any food if she asks. They hand me a full sippy-cup of milk that the toddler has disdained and mention that is her only option. I felt uncomfortable denying food but also knew she was generally well fed and that if she didn’t eat anything that night, it would in no way compromise her nutritionally.  Read more »

The Globalization of Childcare: The Consequences of Trading Love for Work

Here in Los Angeles, there’s a listserv that features ads from people looking for nannies and from nannies looking for work. There’s the occasional reminder posted about the rules: a place where posts are restricted to ads. Another clarifies that conversation should be shifted to an alternative forum. The rule was broken recently when a virtual riot broke out in response to a potential employer’s offer.  Read more »

When the Latina Nannies Found Out I Spoke Spanish

I had tried to hold out on the older Latina nannies in the park knowing I spoke Spanish. As long as we spoke in English our relationship was kept shallow, limited by their vocabulary. They would ask about my day and coo over my infant but that was about it. I knew that once they knew about me, I would never again be alone for better or for worse. While I occasionally listened into their conversations in order to entertain myself while the baby dug in the sandbox, I also appreciated the lack of forced socialization.  Read more »

Warning: Babies Blinded by Eating Sand (and so I let them)

While reading Lenore Skenazy’s book Free-Range Kids, I couldn’t help but think that while dubbing her “America’s Worst Mom” was an overstatement, I wouldn’t put a nine-year-old on the subway alone either. That’s what she did. She handed her son a subway card, a map, a few bucks change and bon voyage. I am too over-protective for that, maybe because having gone to college in New York City, I know how gross and scary the subway can be.  Read more »

What Makes Breastfeeding so Darn Controversial?

I’ve done a lot in my day to support the breastfeeding cause: calling moms at work to schedule feedings, carefully titrating breastmilk into bottles from plastic bags without spilling a drop, feeding with a spoon when a bottle was refused. I’ve even ignored what was probably a sign of postpartum depression: a woman clad almost exclusively in an open, pink terry cloth bathrobe, in the interest of encouraging breastfeeding.  Read more »

Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids

What does Ann Coulter share in common with the average American anarchist? If you guessed parenting goals, you would be right. Hard to believe? Well, I’ve been rereading my favorite parenting book, Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small, which looks at how parenting has evolved around the world. Every time I dive back into its pages something new catches my eye.  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 »

You Named Your Kid What?

A friend just named her child with a celebrity-style moniker. Think an obscure shade of blue and a Greek god for a middle name, just to make sure he cant fall back on that one: Azure Poseidon. These days, the desire to name your child in a way that stands out is not for the rich and famous alone. Watch out Apple, Moses and Audioscience—the mainstream is following right behind you!   I have an unusual name myself, so I have an opinion on the subject.  Read more »

Nanny Wanted: Must Be Both Idiot and Expert

On a parenting message board, I compete with people named Luz Hernandez, Diana Carrillo and Alma de la Cruz. In Los Angeles, Latin nannies are ubiquitous. As I recall in New York, it is West Indian women raising the upper class. All over the world, women trade parenting. In Hong Kong, babies are raised by Indonesians, in Australia they’re Filipinos.  Read more »

Is Nanny a Fancy Word for Domestic Servant?

I’ve been looking for work lately. As a nanny this means a variety of things. Posting advertisements on parenting message boards, interviewing at Nanny agencies, filling out myriad online applications and getting recertified in any lapsed certifications (CPR, TB whatever). I consider it a practice session in Zen-like humility; a test of dignity under duress.  Read more »

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.  Read more »

Why Gay Parents are Superior to Hetero Parents

I was raised by a fabulous set of lesbians in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early eighties. There were a lot less kids of gay parents then, even in San Francisco, and although it may have been an unusual childhood, it was a very happy one. Now that I am of an age to be having kids, I am reflective about the parenting practices that made my parents such successful caregivers.  Read more »

Maybe Amy Chua is Not so Bad

Having thought further about what intentional parenting entails, I sought counsel from my mother, Nina, about her parenting practices. She summed them up, patly, as "values based parenting." I was instantly appreciative of her co-opting of the term "values," as the right wing has cashed in on it for way too long.   "In parenting we transfer daily messages to our children about what is important," she told me.  Read more »

Intentional vs. Default Parenting

Everyone in my family had saved up in anticipation of my arrival. Nonetheless, when I was under one year old, they needed part-time childcare for me while my mother Nina went back to work as a nurse. My mom had heard of another nurse who had recently taken leave and might be willing to watch me. Enter Simone. My mother is a lesbian and Simone, a born-again Christian.  Read more »

Parenting Against Society

Okay, having spent 800 words convincing you that I don't wander into people's homes to judge their parenting, now I can start playing Solomon—cut that baby in half! Let the judgment begin. For the record, often I don't feel like I have a philosophy until someone else's parenting is counter to it. Sometimes it surprises even me the things that I disapprove of but I have racked up a list of questionable behavior over the years.  Read more »

The Eight Essential Hanukkah Books

Having taught Sunday school briefly, I understand the challenge of bringing holidays into an understandable form for children. On top of that, there is definitely a smaller selection for Chanukah than what's offered for Christmas. We may be Chosen but we can't be choosy. I can't imagine what the folks who celebrate Diwali have to choose from. I was concerned there might not even be enough Chanukah books up to snuff since we can't even agree on the spelling.  Read more »

Parenting: A Horse of Many Colors

As a nanny, I get to watch parenting. Being in people's homes and caring for their children is necessarily intimate. Up close everyone's eccentricities are magnified, so I get a good view. Each job and new family brings a different set of expectations and assumptions about what ideal parenting should be. I also came into the field with my own set of ideas based on how I was raised.  Read more »
Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



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!

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
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
I have a multilingual son. He speaks Polish (my mother tongue), German (my husband's language), English (me and my husband communicate in it) and French (we moved to the French speaking part of Bel...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] here’s a blog by Olga Mecking, a Polish woman living in the Netherlands, about some of the negative things people say to parents raising multilingual children. I like the latter bec...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] ARTICLE AND MORE HERE: http://www.incultureparent.com/author/kellen-kaiser/ Is Nanny a Fancy Word for Domestic Servant? By Kellen […...
From Is Nanny a Fancy Word for Domestic Servant?
I absolutley Love this entire article! I am reading it now as i breastfeed my two year old. I would devour a whole book of your experience if you were to write one. Thank you for sharing! ×0...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] changed their minds (2000) (If interested check out a biased, but cool article about co-sleeping: The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep . Bourdieu’s notion of habitus i...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
People can't always help where life takes them. Some people migrate for the sake of jobs, political asylum, financial hardship, or to leave a place that was spiritually/emotionally bad for them. Som...
From How I Raise My Kids to Respect Their Elders, Nigerian Style
[…] öncesi çocuklara müzik dersleri veren Viola Pellegrini, çocukların başka kültürlere ait müziklerden neler öğrenebileceklerini anlatıyor. Ayrıca […...
From Why Multicultural Music is Important for Children
[…] Sabina Khan-Ibarra […...
From Birth, Loss and In Between
Heartbreaking. No one should get a "look of disgust," but it's so much worse when it's a young child. And the little boy who decided he didn't want to be a police officer anymore; such injustice is ...
From Dear White Officer, Please Don’t Shoot
All you need to tell these people is that the majority of the world's population is bi-lingual or more and ask them why they are limiting their child's development by raising them monolingual. I kno...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] with not fitting into a culture that places so much value on unity and homogeneity. Refer to this eye opening post by a fellow writer about the very real struggle for expats, especially wi...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Both me and my sister are trilingual, my nephew is quadrilingual at 4 yrs old.. Never heard any of these things. That's sad , sorry for y...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
I'm what would be called from a multicultural background: Arabic anf German living in the UK for nearly 2 decades. Sad really, how anecdotal incidents lead to generalization of a whole country. I co...
From Are Germans Really Rude?