Articles by Kellen Kaiser

Friday, June 28th, 2013

8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality


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 »
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What Confused Me Most about Brits

The process of adjusting to the culture when I moved to England.

Do WASP Westerners Deserve Visibility in a Foreign Culture?

Yes, they most certainly do says this mom in China.

Managing a Picky Eater with International Travel

How would I succeed in getting her to eat in Europe?

A Year of Multicultural Picture Books for the Global Child

A fantastic reading list that includes a multicultural children's book for each month of the year.

Making Sense of the Berlin Wall as a Multicultural Family

How we see history has everything to do with the context in which we were taught.

21 Ideas for Families to Celebrate Ayyam-i-Ha

Crafts, recipes, books, games and more to make the most of this joyful Baha'i celebration.

Why Raise Global Citizens? An Interview with Homa Sabet Tavangar, Author of Growing Up Global

Why raising global kids is so important and the one quote everyone should keep in mind.

8 Children's Books for Black History Month

Learn about the world's richest man of all time and much more about African-American history.

Balancing Faith and Fashion with My Muslim Daughter

I never thought I would struggle to buy clothes for my daughter this young.

Celebrate Black History Month!

Find out why this author thinks African-American history month isn't the correct term.

Why I am Not Making Valentines This Year

And the problem with modern parenting.

Many Languages, One America: 25 Proud Bilingual Children

These kids make clear what language the U.S. speaks.

18 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Crafts, Food and Children’s Books

From dragon crowns to Vietnamese spring rolls and lesson plans that don't stereotype.

Not a Fan of Disney Princesses? Six Ideas to Change the Script

Tired of princesses who need to be rescued? Here are six ideas to tweak the story!

6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids

Traveling to Nicaragua? Here are the things not to miss with kids!

Exploring Italy with Kids

After four months in Asia, we were ready for our next stop: Italy

Martin Luther King Day January 20

A celebration of the life and vision of an American hero.

18 Children’s Books to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day

18 children’s books for little ones to teens to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, including books about both MLK and others who influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Raising Trilingual Children? An Interview Not to Miss!

Advice to parents from a young multilingual adult. Learn about what her parents did right.

Don’t Kill That Spider! Superstitions in a Multicultural Family

Why the number 4 is bad luck, spiders are good and mirrors in the bedroom bad.

The Power of Immersion Travel

Here's my daughter reading a local Nicaraguan newspaper along with me this morning, something that would likely never happen at home.

12 Days of Multicultural Musical Activities (Part Two)

The holidays don't have to end at Christmas..start thinking ahead for the Lunar New Year!

12 Days of Multicultural Musical Activities (Part One)

Here are 12 different ways you can make the holidays bright by exploring diversity and making music.

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

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

Mexican Wedding Cookie Recipe

Awesome recipe for yummy Mexican wedding cookies.

My Chinese Mother-in-Law Comes to Canada: A Foreigner in A Foreign Land

Would she feel irritable about the language barrier, hate the food or complain so relentlessly that I’d fantasize about leaving her stranded on a downtown street corner?

Why Racism Destroys Us All: Lessons from the Documentary "American Promise"

The criticism that the filmmakers of "American Promise" have faced for filming their kids over the course of 13 years misses the point entirely.

Super Healthy Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Gluten-free and dairy-free—it's equally awesome as a breakfast and dessert.

5 Multicultural Picture Books For Younger Children

Here are some recommendations for those hard to find multicultural books for younger kids.

8 Awesome Pinterest Boards for Bilingual Kids

8 pinterest boards you should be following if you are raising bilingual kids.

How to Start a New Language with Your Child

A multilingual mom shares what's worked in her family

Thankfulness, Insecurity and Adoption: A Messy Lesson

My daughter likes moms who are made-up, fashionable and wear leather boots, in essence everything I am not.

Fall Traditions and Celebrations Around the World

See the beautiful celebrations around the world during the fall.

Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan

Why don't the Japanese seem to discipline their kids this mom wonders.

5 Fun Halloween Costumes with a Global Twist

Original and sure to turn heads

What the British and Algerians Have in Common

And why it was so hard for me to date a German at first

Real Intercultural Family in France: Spanish, French and English

It all started in a history class in Utah.
Agree with the thread. One example to point out is the arrogant walk on the right side to keep from bumping into each other...or you could just look where you are going like e rest of the world and ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] games from around the world or this site that shares German games or this blog post or this one too. You might find some ideas in this PDF or on TES resources or Streetplay you’...
From Five Fun Games from Around the World
[…] and a Polish Easter craft called Palma Wycinanka (cut paper palm). She also shares the interesting Czech Easter tradition of “whipping” girls and women with a special braided p...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
[…] InCulture Parent has a sweet Easter recipe for Italian cookies, and a Polish Easter craft called Palma Wycinanka (cut paper palm). She also shares the interesting Czech Easter tradition of...
From Polish Easter Craft: Palma-Wycinanka
[…] took me months to figure out that I was being rude (I am German, after all), and that the tutting was actually a very strong display of […...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
Dear Not Fluent, I think it's positive that you speak to your child both in Cantonese and English. Between 0-5 years, language learning is emotional, as opposed to adult learning, when you turn t...
From Do I teach my child my native language even though I am not fluent?
[…] from InCulture Parent has a sweet Easter recipe for Italian cookies, and a Polish Easter craft called Palma Wycinanka (cut paper palm). She also shares the interesting […...
From Easter Recipe: Aunt Angie’s Italian Cookies
I can relate totally. There is a point where one can adjust what read but what you read May not work at all. Mostly, it's going back to heart centered awareness not the mind that determines the bes...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
I can totally relate to your list, as we are raising our son to speak English and French. People say really stupid stuff about raising multilingual children, but then again, people say really stupid...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] spricht, begegnet man Menschen verschiedener Herkunft mit mehr Offenheit. Ein Beweis dafür ist meine dreisprachige Tochter, wie sie auf Koreanisch singt – dank einiger ihrer Koreanisch...
From Is My Daughter Singing in Korean?
Love this. I had read the other article and comments earlier, and was also horrified. One only needs to read more of your articles and blogs to know you are the furthest thing from a racist with a s...
From Do WASP Westerners Deserve Visibility in a Foreign Culture?
Your grandmother sounds like a very wise woman. I have 3 children and while it's a bit of an adjustment I have realized that things like babywearing, co sleeping and frequent nursing really are key ...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
@Calliope: Below is written with no offense given with the hope that none is taken. As this is just an online blog discourse, not some academic cultural theory debate and most importantly the commen...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
@Raymond Uhe I just wanted to say thanks for the post. Had I wanted to respond directly to this article, I imagine what I would have written would be quite similar. I've been living in Germany for s...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I agree. Culture affects it, most likely the default parentin...
From Intentional vs. Default Parenting
I believe that in America we have gone too far in protecting and isolating children from world realities. The helicopter parent mentality has taken over our thinking that kids must be shielded, gui...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
A birth in india. Would seem like a lot to take on. Indian. Have nautral cuts. I use senses and ear power during energy. Nutrients. Milk baths . If I ever visit Kenya. I would see for sure the schoo...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Sorry, meant Ivan's pos...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am German, but mobed to the US when I was pretty young and nowadays only go back to Hamburg to visit once a year. I think nobody doubts that there are many lovely people in Germany, but I absolute...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
It's very funny that people (who aren't French) believe that French children behave all the time, eat everything and never throw tantrums etc. But French children are some of the worst-behaved kids...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
My thinking is that Japanese "spoil" their children. Not in a bad way, but in the way that most youngest children in the U.S. are treated. The result is that it often only takes a look from their ...
From Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan
This is interesting to me, Ember, because I've married into a Mexican family and I find myself more often disavowing the cultural stereotypes they have about Americans. (People are generally surpri...
From Do WASP Westerners Deserve Visibility in a Foreign Culture?
[…] Last time we were in Berlin we didn’t really explain its history to the kids because they were too small. This time it’s different and it’s not always straightforward. I ...
From Making Sense of the Berlin Wall as a Multicultural Family
[…] by critics, but recently a couple of comments really got under my skin. They were in response to a piece I wrote about my mother-in-law’s journey to Canada—her first trip to the West. ...
From My Chinese Mother-in-Law Comes to Canada: A Foreigner in A Foreign Land
I also have a really picky eater! My 3 year old sounds exactly like this and, while not scared to travel, I do get very sad that he can't experience the joy of a fresh dim sum, a juicy steak or a tr...
From Managing a Picky Eater with International Travel
This is really interesting. We all came from different countries with different culture and beliefs. Here in the Philippines ear piercing with a new born baby girl is up to the mother's decision. So...
From The Great Ear Piercing Debate in Our Multicultural Home
Back in the mid-70's I refused to put on an nylon buttoned overall because it looked too feminine to me,so my mother came back with the Martinet in hand ( a childrens whip,looks like a flogger but t...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
The strangest playground in the world
From Top 10 Most Imaginative Playgrounds Around the World
I used to live in Kenya, and I moved back to my home country. Yes, it is easy to be a working mom in Nairobi when you can get employ a lady from the village, or the slum, to come and live with you ...
From Why Being a Working Mother is Better
Please send me e-mail address to which I can send 2014 announcement of the Children's Africana Book Awards and an article from Teaching Tolerance on the importance of the work your website is doing....
From What We Are Not About
I breastfed my daughter until she was 3 1/2. We had to stop because I began taking a prescription and could no longer do it. I am a single mom and I work full time. In those early years I felt li...
From Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums
I also need to comment that SIDS is only given that name as cause of death is undetermined. It can be that a baby just stops breathing, their body doesn't alert them, and we don't know why. There ar...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi, I am 28 without children... I just like to read about medicine and various women's topics relating to it. I do not have any personal experience with breastfeeding. My question is aren't you conc...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
These books sound great and most of the titles are new to me. Thank you so much for sharin...
From A Year of Multicultural Picture Books for the Global Child
I appreciate the feedback everyone! And how sweet that this song even brings up memories of your mom teaching your sister this song as a child Bill! It's almost a year later and my daughter continue...
From Is My Daughter Singing in Korean?
I know this is old, but she is singing a Korean patty cake song my mom taught my sister as a chil...
From Is My Daughter Singing in Korean?
Lovely post! I nursed all four of our boys on demand and couldn't wrap my head about the whole scheduled feedings thing. We coslept and I did wear them a lot. With the twins, I sometimes felt like ...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi Nichole, We did not vaccinate against either and felt fine about that decision. Hope you have a great tri...
From 6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids
Thanks for the great post. We are going to Nicaragua with out two kids- also 5 and 8- in two weeks. Did you vaccinate the kids for Hep A and typhoid? I was not planning to but would love more thoug...
From 6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids