Posts Tagged blog

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Cesar Chavez for Kindergartners

By

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. Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez. I'd say that's a great start! So far, I am very pleased with the Berkeley public school curriculum!.  Read more »

The Benefits of Ayurvedic Cleansing

We have been at an Ayurvedic ashram in South India called Arogya Niketana for three weeks now.  Read more »

Around the World in One Semester

My family and I have embarked on our long awaited five-month trip around the world.  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.  Read more »

I Can’t Speak Business in Any Language

None of my languages are business compatible. This morning I was sitting on a train from Paris CDG airport into Paris. I was singing a silly song in my head ("et les meufs et les keufs dans le RER") and started thinking about cultural knowledge and blending in. Listening to the chatter around me, I suddenly realised that as French as I sometimes like to think I can be, there is a massive part of French culture that I can not blend into at all: business.  Read more »

Cooking 101: First Family Recipes

We all have our secret pepper sauce.   Ok, maybe not. I’m half French but when it comes to food, I am probably weighing in at closer to 3/4 French. Unlike my Trinidadian friend, I don’t have a secret family pepper sauce, but I do have my family’s vinaigrette!   I’ll never forget, standing on my tippy-toes, chin resting on the white tile counter, while my mother measured out the ingredients into the deep bottom green Pyrex salad bowl, explaining to me the critical ratio of red wine vinegar to vegetable oil  Read more »

Empty Nest in the Emirates

For the last four years our family has been going through a well-rehearsed but unpleasant ritual on a regular basis: the leaving of college-age children. They leave after summer break, again in the winter then spring, and after Eid holidays. They depart for other countries to attend universities, internships and summer courses.   How excited I was when our first child got accepted into college! After months of research, accumulation of certificates and often emotional negotiations, the choice was made.  Read more »

Language Dilemmas in a Multilingual Family

Language has always fascinated me. Getting to know a culture and its complex, subliminal messages…the soul of a people comes only with an understanding of that society’s language. That is why I chose Foreign Languages as my major in college and studied German for a year and half, dreaming of a career as a United Nations translator/interpreter.  Read more »

Why Everything is Done Properly in Germany

I grew up in Germany, where according to English folklore, everything is done properly. As always, there's a bit of truth behind that and now that I live in the U.K., I find that truth in places I did not expect, for example insurance sales calls. I have taken a lot of insurance company sales calls lately because two of our short-term insurances ran out—the one for the car we recently bought and the one for our fridge freezer we purchased a year ago.  Read more »

Behind Germany’s Ban on Circumcision

The circumcision “ban” that happened in Germany this past week has stirred up a lot of bad feelings and accusations. A court in Cologne settled the case of whether a doctor was right or wrong circumcising a little boy. See here, here or here. The interesting part is that a lot of newspapers use the word "ban" in their headlines. I know, of course, that publishers like an extreme headline.  Read more »

Bilingual Writers and Colonialism

It's funny how things go sometimes. After reading Francois Grosjean's recent article about Cherishing the Multilingual Heart, I started looking for authors that are multilingual. I have to admit that I didn't get very far, but I didn't have to: Francois Grosjean looked as well and he found quite a few amazing bilingual writers. It's a compelling list, full of names that are bound to make any multilingual proud, whether they are writing or not.  Read more »

Putting Down Roots and Buying Real Estate as an Expat

For an expat family (or for this expat family, anyway) putting down roots somewhere can be difficult. The possibility of moving on is always present. The culture and language are not our own, we don’t have much family nearby and the current world economic situation means that jobs are more likely to change than not. So how do you settle down? Put down roots? Feel connected? In our case, the beginning of an answer to that question lies in buying real estate.  Read more »

The Power of Culture in Raising Multilingual Kids

TV and Other Cultural References Through use of technology it is fairly easy for us to expose our children to all kinds of languages and cultures. Need proof? My daughters recognise the title song of a TV show called "Wickie und die starken Männer" even though we live in the UK where it will never air. I used to watch "Wickie" ("Vicky the Viking") when I was a kid.  Read more »

When Relocation Adds a New Language to the Mix

I am now faced with another move 18 months into our Asian adventure, having not yet finished arguing with myself over how much to encourage (hyper-parent) my kids to learn Mandarin on top of our three family languages. We are relocating to Bangkok. This opens up a whole world of new possibilities. First and foremost, it means I will be able to afford daily massages, as we will no longer be living hand to mouth.  Read more »

10 Tips on Living with Chronic Illness

As I write this piece I am sitting in a health clinic that my daughter and I attend. When we were here yesterday, a woman who suffers from the same condition remarked how badly her mother felt at having passed it on to her (our condition is genetic). Before I had a moment to think, I blurted out that I didn’t feel badly. Don’t get me wrong--I hate seeing my daughter in pain and like any mother I would love to remove the word "suffering" from my child’s life.  Read more »

We Are Not So Different: Why China’s Recent Hit and Run Tragedy Shouldn’t Shock You

Disclaimer: Viewers beware. Link to article also features graphic video of incident. You can stop the video in order to read article if needed. A few days ago, a toddler was struck by two vehicles on a road in China and eventually died because no one stopped to help. My initial reaction? Total shock followed by immediate outrage coupled with an attitude of “this would never happen where I come from.  Read more »

Are Germans Really Rude?

Disclaimer: bloggers opinions are entirely their own and are independent of InCultureParent. Being a German myself, I feel I'm entitled to say this: Germans are rude. In the UK, being rude is a really bad thing. I wonder where it ranks on the "don't do!" scale, but I guess it's up there with stealing from the handicapped or old women, or lying to a child.  Read more »

Language for Family Ties or Competitive Edge?

When we decided to move to Singapore about 18 months ago, people’s reactions fell into roughly three categories: 1. People who knew pretty much nothing about Singapore: “Are you insane?” “What language do they speak over there?” “Is it safe? Don’t they hang you for littering?” 2. Those who had been to Singapore or were planning on it: “I am so jealous, you are going to eat so well.  Read more »

Our Trilingual Family Origins

A while back someone asked me where I am from. I explained that I am half French and half American to which they responded, “Oh, so you’re Canadian!” If only it were so easy. Their response got me thinking about identity, culture and one’s sense of self and belonging. Growing up in New York with a Brooklyn-born father and a French mother from Normandy, I never really felt American.  Read more »

Which Language First When Raising Trilingual Kids?

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

The All-or-Nothing Family: A Lament

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

Expat Life Explained

I was obviously joking when I told you not to live abroad. Living abroad is probably the second most amazing thing I have done in my life. Right after raising children. But while we're talking about the problematic sides of multilingual living, I might as well mention one big problem all expats will face at some point.   Family & Home Away From Home   So you're living abroad.  Read more »

Embarrassing Multilingual Moments

The other day a builder was at our house to do something in the kitchen. He told me how he thought it was funny that just when he knocked on the door, a Lufthansa aircraft went overhead, because garble blah garble blah blah.   I tried not to do the completely blank stare, but I had not understood a single word of his explanation.   Now, about an hour later, I think he was trying some German and I felt a bit sorry because it failed utterly.  Read more »

Forgetting my Mother Tongue

Francois Grosjean's recent article on language forgetting struck a cord. I have experienced a form of language forgetting myself when I was seven years old, in a limited sense. My family moved from Frankfurt in Germany's Hessen region to Hamburg in the North. Both my sister and I had spoken "hessisch," the local dialect spoken in Hessen. Within six months after the move we had both completely switched to a Hamburg accent and had actually forgotten our dialect.  Read more »

What’s for Dinner?

They say the last holdout of cultural assimilation can be found in the refrigerator, or the kitchen cupboards. Food is such a primal thing—we are what we eat. I was thinking about this yesterday, watching Matthew eat his snack: peanut butter and jelly on Lebanese bread. A French friend who was visiting laughed and made a comment about the marriage of two cultures.  Read more »

Why I Want My Children to be Multilingual

Question: why is it important to me that my kids speak more than one language? I have to admit that I never really thought about this. When I married an Algerian woman I must have assumed my children would be multilingual. Or maybe I was so unprepared that I actually didn't have an opinion. But in hindsight it is obvious that there really was no choice for me.  Read more »

Raising Kids in Non-Native Language Part II

I have recently been thinking about how long I can carry on talking to my children in a language that is not my mother tongue. There are many, many occasions when it is difficult and I'm sure I lose my cool with the kids more often because of the constant pressure I put on myself to stick to French, even when it would be a hundred times easier to think what to say in English.  Read more »

Another Benefit of Raising Kids in Non-native Language

In the beginning I often felt quite self-conscious speaking French in public, with my English accent and errors. But people have always been lovely--English people often try and say a few minority language (ml) words to the children, such as 'Bonjour' and 'Au revoir,' while French people are often curious about my decision to speak non-native French, particularly if they haven't spoken French with their own children! And an unforeseen benefit is that I feel less exposed when it comes to disciplining Schmoo in public! Schmoo sometimes teaches me new words now--a few days ago she kept referring to her pot of bubble mixture as a 'flacon,' a word I don't know and hadn't taught her.  Read more »

The Expat’s Dilemma

Eight days before Halloween, on a misty Saturday afternoon, I had what the French call "un grand moment de solitude." I was in a nearly-deserted park, one designed on a truly grandiose scale. Matthew, age four, was standing next to me, dressed in a raincoat and boots, with a king's cape. A golden crown was on his head and a foam sword was tucked into his improvised kingly belt made out of a playsilk that had been languishing, unused, for years in his toy box.  Read more »

Reinforcing the Minority Language

Early on, I read quite a bit about language acquisition and discovered that children need interactive language exposure in order to learn a language. This means that sitting your child in front of the television to watch minority language (ml) programs alone will not teach them that language. Your child needs to be highly motivated to actually use the language in order to learn it, which is only possible if they are brought into contact with people who speak it and who they want or need to communicate with.  Read more »

Life in the Middle

It's only from a distance of months or years or decades that you can look back and see how one apparently small decision nudged the course of your life in a totally unexpected direction. I don't really know why I decided to take French my sophomore year in high school. I grew up on the Mexican border; it would have been much more practical to take Spanish.  Read more »

No Common Mother Tongue

A lot of resources on the web talk about the two most successful approaches in multilingual parenting: "One Parent One Language" (OPOL) and "Minority Language at Home" (MLAH or ML@H). Both have advantages and both are tailored to pretty specific situations. MLAH works best in an expat environment for example, where both parents speak a common language but live abroad with their children.  Read more »

Adventures in Raising Trilingual Kids

Welcome to my blog! I am bringing up my children, Schmoo and Pan-Pan, to speak three languages: English, Twi and French. I started learning French at school (age 11) and loved it so much I ended up studying it to MA level (age 26). So after all those years of struggling to learn another language I wanted to give my kids the easy option! As my husband grew up in Ghana, he speaks fluent Twi, so it was easy to add this third language into the mix.  Read more »

Four Generations of Multicultural

I am fourth generation multicultural. On my father's side of the family there is a long history of people marrying outside of their tribe. Africa is so often referred to as "Africa" that the rich diversity of tribes and cultures within it can be overlooked. Tribes can be as different in their language, culture and customs as an English person can be from a Hungarian.  Read more »
Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

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!
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
@Oceania To me it looks like you're demonstrating the same kind of rudeness you (claim to) condemn. Please open your mind a little and stop living in the past. New Zealand has its own problems as w...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Joseph Dear Joseph, If you were never in Germany, why do you think you can preach me on experiences almost every other expat had in here? I wrote that post 4 years ago, and what my toughts were ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I think, in general, Deutschland struggles with emotional intelligence. It's been repressed and underrated for so long that it's atrophied somewhat. Reminds me of an interesting study recently, in w...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon
[…] What’s Easter without a Whipping?, InCulture Parent — a post about the Czech tradition of men and boys whipping women on Easter.  I found this very troubling. [̷...
From What’s Easter without a Whipping?
[…] Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia, InCulture Parent — on our irrational fear of abduction and sexual predators […...
From Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia
I have been living in Germany for about 8 or 9 months now, and a lot of these comments are absolutely spot on. I came here from the US, having heard of none of these "negative stereotypes," (I actua...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I'm in a choir at my church, and one of our new members is very pushy. We don't expect her to be perfect (and she's not!) but she seems to hover, making sure our music is in order, bringing arm load...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
It is very difficult to deal with swabian in laws. They don't like expressing affection and tend to be critical. I gave up on trying to please them when I am feeling lonely, empty and hopeless. D...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I don't intend to come off as rude myself. I've never been to Germany before, but these generalisations are unacceptable, especially since many others (not in this site, of course) have had positive...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Zim Spend some more time. Know a few people before jumping to conclusion...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@M. White Was he mistreating you? If not, then don't divorce. Ask him what's considered polite and what's not. Please read about cultural differences before lumping all Germans as rude. Sure, some ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Jill Don't give up too easily. Study the culture a little, learn the language, and treat them with respect. Maybe then you might have a better time. Sorry about your experience. I've never been t...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Tonya It's usually not a good idea to smile at strangers. Germans usually smile towards family members and close friends. Maybe you just had a bad experience. Sorry to hear about tha...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Amy Sorry to hear about your troubles. You stayed there for four years, and you couldn't make a friend? Try again. Or visit another part of Germany. I've never been there, but one cannot generalis...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Jenny Well sorry you got harassed by the German lady on the bar, but don't use a confirmation bias like this, especially since that girl could have been another nationality as well, even American....
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I haven't been to Germany before, but this is disgusting: "It took me months to figure out that I was being rude (I am German, after all)" *sigh* nothing but generalisations. For the umpteenth tim...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
@Ivan 5. Scolding others while not liking getting scolded is not limited to Germany; it's a human condition. 9. The reason they rarely use A/C is the climate. Most of Germany is further to the nor...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] was previously published on InCultureParent.com. Republished with permission from the […...
From Dear Infertility Patient
I think this is very awesome book according to your review and you enjoy it too.. i will also purchase it thank you for guiding m...
From Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Little kid's from age two through six year old's absolutely do need spankings, it's the natural thing to do to make them work off infantile or toddler frustrations, it makes the child feel better af...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
I have met a lot of people with good manners but still are very inconsiderate of others, I'd rather someone be considerate than just use manners. I want people to actually care about me, not just gi...
From I Was Wrong. Manners Do Matter.