Articles by Kellen Kaiser

Friday, June 28th, 2013

8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality

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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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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

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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.’

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A beautiful Japanese summer festival

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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

Easy Weeknight Moroccan Chicken

Since when is Moroccan cooking a quick weeknight meal? Since now!
[…] and cardboard, complete with plastic bag streamers! If you’d like to make your own dragon mask, here are the instructions (scroll down to the bottom for the masks). Although the masks o...
From 5 Crafts for the Chinese New Year
[…] linkje naar  een blogpost van JC Niala waar het gaat om het verschil tussen Westerse en Afrikaanse […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Map nerd here, i really dislike that all these maps use projections that make greenland hug...
From 10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room
[…] you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.    Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Han When I breastfed in the park, grandmothers would...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] Why African Babies Don’t Cry In the UK, it was understood that babies cry. In Kenya, it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry. If they do—somethi...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hi there, I'm in Port Edward and am dying to get two children's maps of the world. Where can I get them? Regar...
From 10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room
I'm going crazy! Mother in law has lived with us for 4 1/2 yrs and she's a dirty nasty slob. She does zero house cleaning and leaves garbage and wrappers all over the place. Her room is wall to wall...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I had a baby boy the 13th of May 2015.... In a private hospital, verrrry western! One night the Baby was crying and crying... Non stop ... Nothing I did worked!! I was in a ward with 3 other woman,...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Salam I came across your post and found it very good..... I need an advice .. I have a one yr old daughter... My husband works in dubai. ..... I have to do training for my specialization am a...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
[…] I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman, with two university degrees, and a fourth generation working woman, but when it comes to children, I am typically African. ...
From Why Being a Working Mother is Better
[…] via InCultureParent | Why African Babies Don’t Cry. […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] that has been known and passed on for millenia. So, I encourage you to read her article, “Why African Babies Don’t Cry” to find out the […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] doesn’t exist, because it’s just the natural way of doing things. I recently read a fascinating article written by a modern African mom about how she decided to care for her ba...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] and movies. ● Use anonymous sites to talk with people using different languages  or seek a pen pal who is a native speaker. Omegle is an app that pairs people up with similar interests....
From 29 Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids
[…] the majority of non-Western societies, babies sleep with their parents–if not in the bed, then in the same room. So do young children. It is only in industrialized […...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
While I enjoyed the article and the idea of reading your baby is exactly how you should do it, I don't think that the author was following this at all. Becoming a full time walking zombie human ...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
I like your post and also suggest to another book stores holder in USA. Login their site to get more detail http://bit.ly/1If9B...
From 10 Best Children’s Books for Gifts
I must admit that being trained as a per-primary teacher has given me an advantage in knowing how to occupy my children. Even if you haven’t been trained, it’s not difficult to find ways in spen...
From Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums
Honestly,I think so because nowadays children have came kings not to touch,parents have to let themselves dominated by their kids wich is not the normal thing at all ?!I'll put it straight ,i'm agai...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
This seems to be a recurring debate in North Americans. The passionate, fervent desire to claim lineage elsewhere, when the entire demeanour, outlook, and approach to life distinctly screams Americ...
From Why People Tell Me I’m Not Really Jamaican
[…] niet huilen, en wat zij ziet in Engeland, waar huilen zo normaal wordt gevonden in het artikel Why african babies don’t cry. In haar artikel geeft ze aan hoe in Kenia de norm is da...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] I could reference those books but instead I’ll send you to links from In Culture Parent. This post includes six books geared toward children about Ramadan. Here are a […...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
We are hoping to do Belize this summer! Tanks for the articl...
From 10 Best Places for an International Family Vacation
Wow, I am not alone. It makes me happy to know I am not the only one but then I feel bad for all of you for being in my situation. I am hiding in my room right now from my in-laws. I am american and...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] common disagreements in multicultural parenting are better explained in this blog from InCultureParents. Aside from parenting, there are often other issues  related to being a minorit...
From Common Disagreements in Multicultural Families
When I see stories like this, these "gotcha" stories from white people abroad I always laugh to myself. I don't think I've even seen a single instance of a spark of understanding for those that rec...
From Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don’t Think I Speak Mandarin
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2013/04/5-games-to-get-your-bilingual-child-talking/ […...
From 5 Games to Get Your Bilingual Child Talking
Hi Mindy, I saw your email but didn't have a chance to reply yet so I am glad you also left a comment! We didn't give malaria or typhoid medication. Personally, I hate malaria pills having taken th...
From 6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids
Hi Meme, I am not fluent and only know a few phrases and basic things. I have written a lot about this topic--it's definitely tough to raise kids in a language you don't speak and very tough for th...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…] the majority of non-Western societies, babies sleep with their parents–if not in the bed, then in the same room. So do young children. It is only in industrialized […...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
Loved your Nicaragua article I am taking 12, 4, and 1 Yr old to south pacific side I really don't want to give any of us typhoid or malaria are these really necessary looks like a no from your other...
From 6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids
Are you also fluent in Arabic? Just curious based on your children being bilingual per your bio. We are a mixed family and I'm only partially fluent in Arabic but husband is a native speaker and s...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…] by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom · Just Children&rsquo...
From Multicultural Children’s Book: One City, Two Brothers
Great point, Meera! Congrats! I did it with my daughter with not only books but also with movies on TV. It works! Now she is 26 and she speaks fluently 5 languages and her perception of life and ho...
From Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids
LOVE this post - thank you thank you thank you. I am currently working through living with my Korean MIL for 6 months - she came over to the US to help with my infant daughter. I lived in Korea prev...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
Just what my heart knows but is so hard to drowned out the loud disinformation...always follow your heart. Learn how and you will be empowered, this is where you begin, with breastfeeding & birt...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
I love this! Thank you for sharing. I'm speaking to my daughter mostly in Spanish. It's been hard. My husband is a "classic failed bilingual" though he still speaks enough to get by. My Mexican ...
From How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest
Why have we developed this in the west, do you think? Is it to do with both parents having to go back to work? Is it misogynistic? ( the woman should be in bed with her man who should not have to sh...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…] Read the full article The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I can relate completely! It's very upsetting when you are proud to represent your culture and want to embrace it but you aren't accepted("don't pass the test"). and i love the way that alexis worded...
From Why People Tell Me I’m Not Really Jamaican