US and Canada

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal


What I Can Do as a White Mom After Darren Wilson’s Acquittal
As a white mom of two biracial daughters and a kindergarten teacher devoted to teaching my students how to recognize and combat racism, I am devastated by Darren Wilson’s acquittal.  I struggle to find the words to describe this event to my older daughter, whose immediate response over dinner last night was, “I’m not sure I want to say this in front of you, but…white police officers are bad.”  She looked at me questioningly, watching my reaction.   There were many things I immediately wanted to say, including, “This was an unjust case, and there are many fair and just police officers of all races.  Read more »

Do WASP Westerners Deserve Visibility in a Foreign Culture?

I’m rarely riled by critics, but recently a couple of comments really got under my skin.  Read more »

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

Since moving to Beijing and marrying my Chinese husband, it has been one adventure after another as I navigate this Chinese culture as a foreigner while also navigating the demands of a relationship.  Read more »

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

The filmmakers of American Promise, a documentary made by two African American parents about the experience of their son, Idris, and another African American boy, Seun, at the Dalton School in New York City over the course of 13 years, are being criticized for their decision to document their child so closely, as well as for their parenting decisions.  Read more »

Thankfulness, Insecurity and Adoption: A Messy Lesson

My daughter Meazi’s second grade class visits an assisted living facility every month. For the November trip they planned a “Make a Thanksgiving Turkey” craft for the seniors living at the facility. I signed up to be a volunteer parent. The night before I spoke to Meazi about how happy I was to be going with her and how lucky I felt that I was going to get to spend some time with her during the school day.  Read more »

5 Fun Halloween Costumes with a Global Twist

1. Globe   Globe Halloween Costume/Geography Lesson   2. Eiffel Tower   Photo courtesy :   3. Gangnam Style   Photo courtesy :   4. Dalai Lama   Photo courtesy : pinterest   5. Frida Kahlo   Photo courtesy : Marion Vendituoli .  Read more »

How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race

Children thrive in classrooms where they feel “known”, where their experiences and voices are valued. These classrooms become safe spaces for children to take risks and challenge themselves as they learn to think critically about the world around them and learn the skills necessary to succeed both in and out of the classroom. As teachers work to set up classrooms, plan curriculum over various units of study, design newsletters or other communication home to families, and choose the books that will fill our classroom libraries, we ask ourselves how can we create an inclusive and safe community of learners?   To this end, many schools have become devoted to social and emotional literacy, to creating curriculum and school wide experiences that take into consideration the emotional lives of children and how to help them navigate through conflicts, learn language to be inclusive with one another, and help to name and regulate difficult emotions that arise.  Read more »

A California Public School Snapshot: What Makes Berkeley so Great?

This post was written for the blogging carnival on Schools Around the World over at the great educational site The Educator's Spin on It.   Berkeley, California has a unique school system compared to most of the U.S. In the majority of the U.S., your address determines where your child goes to school. That means that people with higher incomes and pricier houses, with a higher property tax base, have access to the good public schools.  Read more »

How I Learned to Be a Happier Mom

I didn't grow up in a very happy household. My parents saw the world as a menacing place, full of people out to screw you. "Life is a battle, you've gotta give it hell every day" was my mom's rough equivalent of "God bless you" when leaving the house in the morning. Like many Americans, my parents placed a high value on material possessions. Making money and acquiring lots of stuff was the mark of having made it and by default "happiness.  Read more »

The Cultural Dilemma of American Summers for Immigrant Parents

I don’t know how to run a lemonade stand, make ice pops or build a sandcastle—all time-honored traditions of an American summer that I am struggling to acquire alongside my three-year-old Indian-American daughter. Among the many cultural dilemmas that we immigrant parents in the U.S. navigate when raising our children in a completely different culture is how to engage in the everyday rituals of our adopted homeland so that our children can fully embrace their hyphenated heritage.  Read more »

Preparing our Children for Racism Part II—From Understanding to Action

If you missed Part I of the series, Laying the Groundwork, you can catch up on it here.   After my six-year-old’s first brush with racism, I had to act. How do we prepare our children for racism? Start early, remember and examine our own experiences, practice coping methods ahead of time, build self-esteem and a strong sense of identity, teach them to tell an adult, and show them how to take action.  Read more »

How to Talk to Kids About Race: What’s Appropriate for Ages 3-8

The topic of race is too often reduced to encouraging our children to ignore the racial differences around them, with the idea that this will result in creating a “colorblind” child who is more inclusive in her ability to see beyond color. There’s nothing wrong with wanting our children to look beneath the surface. That’s why we say things like “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “it’s what’s on the inside that really matters.  Read more »

Preparing our Children for Racism — Part 1

Part 1: Laying the Groundwork   I always knew that this day would come and have been preparing my children for it since they were two or three. I read books and articles, hoping to put it off as long as possible. I secretly gave them tools to fight with, without actually telling them what the fight was all about. I did not want to taint their innocence, but I knew they had to be ready.  Read more »

My Native Son’s Search for Identity

“I’m apparently, a really good bear,” Akask pulls up a chair to the counter in our kitchen. “I heard someone say that from the train,” the small tour train that runs every half hour through the park, in the First Nation’s tourist village where he works.   I imagine my brown-eyed son blinking behind a mask carved into ovoids by a local artisan, bobbing his head back and forth in a lumbering bear kind of way.  Read more »

Why Arabic is Dead and Spanish is Alive for My Kids

My kids hear Arabic every day from their dad but it’s amazing how much more of a hold Spanish is taking after seven months of learning it. They take Spanish several days per week in a small class with two friends. Plus many of their close friends are native Spanish speakers so we are socially in an environment with Spanish around us pretty frequently.  Read more »

My Son was Bullied for Looking Different

When my son’s patka (small Sikh turban) was pulled off his head at school, my initial reaction was to educate the children about what the patka represents. So I shared the story of “A Lion’s Mane” with my son’s Kindergarten class.   I presented the story in smaller chunks to ensure their understanding.  It was fun and interactive; a royal procession left the room at the end of the day with hand-made crowns atop glowing faces.  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. The blonde-haired baby with whom I’ve spent all this time, the same child who calls my name as soon as my car pulls up, who kisses me on the mouth and tells me daily he loves me, his diction ridiculously clear for a toddler.  Read more »

How I Saved Valentine’s Day in 30 Minutes

I was sure not to fail on helping my kids make (or let’s be real—making for my kids while they kind of help) cute Valentine’s this year. But alas I did. With so many cute and easy ideas out there, like this from Rookie Moms, and this from Parent Hacks, not to mention all of these adorable and doable ideas from The Crafty Crow, I felt motivated--I was all over it this year.  Read more »

Cesar Chavez for Kindergartners

This was daughter's homework book one day this week: Granted, both girls found the book a tad dull, as it is not always as fun reading historical accounts at that age as it is to read books where animals talk and unicorns make appearances, but I was glad they made an age appropriate book on such an important figure in U.S. history. The first two historical figures my older daughter has learned about in kindergarten so far are Dr.  Read more »

How I Raise My Kids to Respect Their Elders, Nigerian Style

I came to the United States 13 years ago, as an adult from Nigeria. Despite being well traveled as a former airline employee, I had very little understanding of other cultures beyond my own.   In Nigeria, we believe in showing the utmost respect for your elders--elders meaning parents and their peers, grandparents, older friends and teachers.  Read more »

The Election of President Obama and Whether My Asian American Kids Could Really Be President

My parents always emphasized that although I was ethnically Chinese, my citizenship was American because I was born in America, “You can even be president someday—unlike us—because you are a natural-born citizen.”   In school, we learned the three requirements to become president of the United States were to be a natural-born citizen, at least thirty-five years old, and have resided in the United States for the past fourteen years.  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. This horrific tragedy, in which the young siblings were brutally stabbed to death before the killer tried to take her own life, was a frequent subject of conversation between me and my boss in our first days together.  Read more »

Multiculturalism at Work in a Kindergarten Classroom

Last week I volunteered for a few hours in my daughter's kindergarten class in Berkeley, California. I loved this glimpse of multiculturalism at work in her class that I witnessed.   Scene: I am sitting at a table with Chu-hee, Amir, Zaire and Rihanna. They are practicing writing “I like to” and gluing a picture of what they like.   Zaire asks me as he glues, “Who lives in your house?”   Me: Me, Jasmin, Lila and their Baba.  Read more »

The Only Things Your Baby Needs

Jail is an interesting place to observe parenting in practice. I’ve been alternately appalled and impressed by the methods mothers employ to placate and distract their youngsters during the interminable process of waiting in line to visit a friend in jail. Moms can’t let their child run around or throw a tantrum for fear of losing the opportunity to visit their incarcerated loved one.  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 »

Our Dia de los Muertos and Halloween Fun

This weekend we had a taste of all sorts of fall festivities and also celebrated Day of the Dead for the first time at a joint pumpkin carving/Day of the Dead celebration play date. (I must admit, these blended cultural celebrations are truly some of my favorites as they are the perfect reflection of how all the mixed families out there (and not solely multicultural families but also people who love incorporating diverse cultural elements into a celebration) create traditions.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Korean and English

Welcome Amber and Ben! Where are you from? Amber: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ben: Suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Where do you currently live? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania How old are your children and where were they born? Claudia is three and a half. She was born here in Philadelphia. Béla just turned three and he was born in South Korea.  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 »

A Few Drops Outside the Tribe

Although I have a diverse cultural background, I have always identified myself as a proud Native American woman. My family is from the Pueblo of Isleta, just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. My grandfather was born and raised in Isleta, speaking our native language of Tiwa before learning English. I am blessed with the dark, striking features of my mother, features which identify me as Native.  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 »

Reunited Outside the Orphanage Walls

Tanya’s car pulls into my parents’ gravel driveway. She is honking the horn, and waving her hand out the window. Meazi, Melese and I have been outside waiting for them to arrive from their five-hour drive from St. Paul, Minnesota. Peeking in her car, we see her boys Mintesinot and Tesfaamlak sitting in their cars seats, identical to ours, one with a cow pattern and the other with a butterfly pattern.  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. He listens to National Public Radio (NPR) with me in the car and asks thoughtful questions about the content, sometimes at the moment and sometimes a couple of days later, when I can barely remember the broadcast that is still so clear in his mind.  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 »

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 »

Multicultural Siblings: Identity and the Land of In-Between

When you join two cultures through marriage, like my husband and I, you know your children will live in the land between, never truly belonging to one or the other. From observing my Dutch parents growing up and my Greek husband as an adult, though their cultures and paths were quite dissimilar, they experienced this suspension between their birth culture and the one of their everyday lives, as a bi-product of immigration.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Mandarin, Spanish and English

Welcome Michelle and Tim!   Where are you from?   Michelle: ZhengZhou, Henan, China   Tim: I was born in Trinidad and Tobago and when I was about six weeks old, we moved to Puerto Rico. I don’t feel Trinidadian. If anything I feel more Puerto Rican or just plain old America.   Where do you currently live and how long ago did you come to the U.  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 »

A Different World: No Longer Brown in White America

To my absolute horror, my parents moved our family from the outer fringes of Detroit to a small city in Tennessee in the middle of my fifth grade year. Not only was I uprooted from a neighborhood and a school I loved, but I was transplanted from one racially and culturally diverse close-in suburb to a town where some people still believed that the South had won the Civil War  Read more »

St. Jean Baptiste Day (Canada): June 24

Akin to the national holiday of Quebec, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a celebration of Francophone culture in Canada. While Jean Baptiste is Quebec’s patron saint, Jean Baptiste Day has more pagan than religious roots and remains a secular holiday today.   The day was originally a celebration of the summer solstice. However, in 1834, after becoming inspired by the celebration of St.  Read more »

Disconnect to Connect: Foregoing Facebook and iPads to Model Connection for Our Children

So, I caved! I gave my 12-year-old Ethiopian daughter a cell phone this year. As she was heading into middle school, I realized that she needed it to stay connected to us “in case of emergencies.” Well, as you can imagine, the phone has become an invisible lifeline between my sweet Grace and her friends. Lately, when she walks in the back door after school, she forgets to say hello to me or doesn’t hear me because she is texting.  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 »

Crime Without Punishment: Why the Death of Vincent Chin Resonates Today

Before I came to Michigan for graduate school, the only thing I knew about Michigan was that it was where Vincent Chin was killed. My parents’ Japanese-American neighbors warned me to sell my father’s Toyota 4Runner and buy a Ford Bronco. I asked about safety as much as I did about academics before I decided to come.   This year marks the 29th anniversary of the baseball bat beating that caused the death of Vincent Chin.  Read more »

Make a Snowy Owl

A popular symbol of Quebec is the snowy owl (the national bird). To celebrate St. Jean Baptiste day, let’s make something fun and representative of Quebec.   Materials: 1 regular-size paper plate 1 dessert-size paper plate Cotton balls or white feathers (or even both) Scraps of yellow and brown construction paper Black pen Glue Scissors   Instructions: 1.  Read more »

Canadian Recipe: Poutine

The flashing-neon preface to this recipe is that this is our InCultureParent twist on poutine, the popular Canadian French fry specialty. Because we always try to feature healthy recipes, it didn’t feel right to us to encourage you to eat French fries, even if they are Canadian French fries. So we made our own variation of this Canadian dish, with baked sweet potatoes as French fries  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 »

Mother’s Day in Mandarin at the Chinese Speech Tournament

My daughter Hao Hao was once a timid child who cried at every little thing. She even got kicked out of sports camp because she dissolved into a flood of tears every time she got "out" in softball or tag. Once when she was at Leslie Science Center, she cried on a hike through the woods because she was afraid of the spider webs on the trail. Instead of giving in to her tears as the teachers and moms at Chinese School tended to do, the Leslie Science Center instructor simply handed her a butterfly net to empower her to wave away the spider webs as she marched down the trail, head and butterfly net held up high.  Read more »

What Color is Latina?

Although I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Cuban parents and am unconditionally of 100 percent Cuban descent, I have often felt somewhat disconnected from being a true Latina due to the color of my skin. From an early age, I never felt like I fit into the mold of what a Latina should look like. In school, when I played the coveted lead role of Maria in West Side Story, it was strongly suggested that I dye my hair a darker color even though I was from the same place (Puerto Rico) as the real Maria.  Read more »

Language Forgetting

I am still thinking about language forgetting. The issue at hand is that my daughters do not hear enough German to be able to develop a strong foundation, right? I am the only constantly available source of German they have. Doesn't that mean that I am the issue, really? Well, part of it is the fact that one person alone cannot provide enough immersion.  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 »

Identity Confusion: An Israeli Mom in NYC

In Israel almost everyone is Jewish, except of course for the Arabs with whom Jews rarely interact. As a Jew, if you decide to marry outside your religion or even do something as minor as celebrate a non-Jewish holiday in your own home, you experience a sense of betrayal. Betrayal of your land, your family and your supposed identity. But is religion really who we are? Or is it only a part of who we become after we taste and experience the world with openness and love.  Read more »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Arabic, Spanish and English

Welcome Selene and Jad!   Where are you from?   Selene: Guadalajara, Mexico   Jad: Rachaya El Wadi, Lebanon   Where do you currently live?   Grand Rapids, Michigan   Selene: We have only ever lived in Michigan together.   How did you meet?   Selene: We met in school (university) in Michigan when he was a junior and I was a sophomore and ended up working at the same office—a study abroad office—in college.  Read more »

Easter Craft: Design and Dye Eggs (Naturally)

Dyeing Easter eggs is one of the most popular Easter traditions, found in many parts of the Christian world. Here's an American way to decorate eggs that I learned growing up, with the twist of using natural dyes.   Materials: Candle and matches Natural dyeing agents (red cabbage, turmeric, beets) Pot White vinegar Salt Strainer Small bowls Eggs Large metal spoon Paper towels Drying rack   Instructions: 1  Read more »

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 »

Finding Aster

I began to think about Aster's birth mother long before the nanny handed her to me. It took many months for my daughter's biological mother not to enter into my daily thoughts. I felt such deep sadness for this child who, we were told, would never have the opportunity to know the woman who birthed her. She supposedly had no other blood relatives, so seeking out her birth family would never be an option for Aster.  Read more »

Cheerleading, Katy Perry and My Six-Year-Old

Our soon to be six-year-old is now taking cheerleading classes once a week after school. Her best friend S does it so we didn't even go into the "why not do some real activity?" discussion. And now she is building up a repertoire of pop songs that she hums and sings while she is playing, and that has made us think. Picking up English I do not remember at what age I started to listen to music.  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 »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Portuguese, Romanian and English

Welcome Ingrid and Leo!   Where are you from? Leo: Brazil   Ingrid: Romania   Where do you currently live? Berkeley, CA. (The each hold a PhD from the University of Berkeley).   How did you meet? Leo: At a birthday party of a friend in common.   Ingrid: It's a much longer story than that. He was visiting from Brazil.  Read more »

Family Evolution: The Meaning of Multicultural

I grew up in a multicultural house. My mother was born in the Netherlands. My father, although also of Dutch heritage, was born in Indonesia and spent much of his early years split between those islands and Australia. He brought with him foods, languages, a love of large birds and a unique accent. I was born in New Jersey but my parents raised me Dutch.  Read more »

Raised Under the Armenian Evil Eye

Growing up in a traditional Armenian home in Southern California, we had many superstitions and rituals. My mother was and still is the queen of superstition. Here are just a few of the many superstitions we followed:   • No whistling especially at night or evil spirits will come. • No cutting your nails at night. This will shorten your life.  Read more »

Living in harmony in a great world house on Martin Luther King Day

In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize lecture, given in 1964, he talks about the idea of a house, "We have inherited a big house, a great world house in which we have to live together--black and white, Easterners and Westerners, Gentiles and Jews, Catholics and Protestants, Moslem and Hindu, a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interests who, because we can never again live without each other, must learn, somehow, in this one big world, to live with each other.  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 »

Real Intercultural Family in the U.S.: Russian, Spanish, Dutch and English

Welcome Trevor and Rocio! Where are you from? Trevor: Breda, Netherlands Rocio: Mexico City, Mexico Where do you currently live? Queens, New York (Richmond Hill) Which countries have you lived in since you've been together? Just one—the U.S. How did you meet? Trevor: We met at a Valentine's Day party in NYC where I met you (the editor—Stephanie).  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 »

Languages of My Children

We belong to an international Christian church that is very diverse. We are blessed to have people from all different nations available to help us with cultural differences in raising our children. Our Ethiopian friends worship with us as do Hispanic, Asian and people from 50 different countries. I believe the expression “it takes a village” really applies to us.  Read more »

Family History

In the ten years between my wedding day and the day I met my children, I spent a lot of time fantasizing about all of the traditions we would celebrate once I finally became a mother. The celebrations I imagined looked a lot like those from my own childhood. There would be Christmas stockings stuffed full of Clementine oranges, chocolate coins, and Bonnie Bell lip smackers; dyed Easter eggs hidden in an obvious way around the living room; piñatas and paper donkey tails poised in the backyard for a birthday party.  Read more »

A Real American Family

I have one of those families that turn heads. I usually don’t notice. I am too busy shooshing everyone because we are also very loud. But every now and then I notice people have no clue what to make of us and look at us quite perplexed. I am the mother of 6 kids. We are a family of 8. My husband was raised in NYC and is Jewish by culture.  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
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
[…]        […...
From Why African Toddlers Don’t Have Tantrums
[…] Any content provided on this blog is opinion based with selected information from various sources where indicated. Image:
From Imbolc Craft: St. Brigid’s Cross
Or you could have had a beautiful white baby with a man from your own culture. Not enough drama in tha...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
Crystal, thanks for sharing your experiences. It makes for a fascinating read! The link to the Siddha school you provided seems to be no longer working. Is the school still ther...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
[…] but which colour to choose? Biome has 25% off storewide till midnight tonight with the code BIOME25 why African babies don’t cry – an absolutely brilliant […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From 6 Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth
I love this website and its insight on raising global citizens. I agree with what you say about no one English accent being correct - the thing that I was surprised by in this article was the fact ...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Why are Germans thinking about being rude? Do You All want to be Just A Coarse-Face? If all of you deviate from Universalism, there is much more to fear from the world than you expec...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] 3 Children’s Books from the Himalayas at InCultureParent […...
From 3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas
[…] How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race […...
From How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race
[…] don’t Need a Room. The baby room is certainly a modern invention. For much of history, and in other parts of the world today, babies […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Addressing the "grown up time" someone mentioned sure that many people address this differently with what works for their family. However, suffice it to say that when the baby's in your...
From The African Guide to Co-sleeping
[…] were taught to whistle – but other people use other sounds. Most people seem to shush or to hiss. It doesn’t really matter. You could probably sing “La Cucaracha” and it would stil...
From Thanks to Chinese Potty-Training We’re Done With Diapers at 19 Months
Thanks for the article! I tried to put my newborn twins into a bassinet at birth, but there was just no way! No way to breastfeed and no way to survive the nights with two of them waking me up all...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Olga, witam!:) what a fresh approach this has given me on such a day like today! I'm Half polish being polish from my mothers side and as this is the language that I ident myself with, I decided to ...
From 10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children
[…] the talk at school. You can see an example of bilingual twins’ language use in this article from InCultureParent and this Q&A on Twins List. Also, as you say, convincing them to spea...
From Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins
Thank you SOO much for sharing!!!! I have breastfed my twins for 3 years now and still going. It has been a struggle, especially with family members like my mother in law who wished I weaned at 2 m...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I aghree with the above comments. Society is reaching a new stages when we all enjoy hearing stories of the beliefs of other...
From Growing Up Baha’i in Rural Maine: A Not-so-Secret Double Life
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?