Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Parent to Parent: Mixed race kids
One of the toughest parts of being a parent is helping your kids discover who they are. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Seven's Lynn Martinez shows us how to answer those tough questions and blend two cultures into one colorful family.
WSVN -- Hillary Washington met her fiancee, Doc four years ago when he was spinning records at the restaurant where she worked.
Hillary Washington: "And then he came in and he was the DJ, and I was like, 'Oh, no, now I'm going to like the DJ. That's the worst.'"
They started dating and have been together ever since. But when they decided to move from New York to Miami, they found out they were in for more than one life change.
Hillary Washington: "When we got down here, we were pregnant with a girl."
Doc Gonzalez: "And this is pretty much it, this is the outcome of our move."
Hillary, who's African American, says she and her Puerto Rican fiancee have met their fair share of challenging situations.
Hillary Washington: "People look more to try to figure out. I mean, it's human nature to figure stuff out, but people will look and say, 'OK, well who is she, and who is he and those two kids? Well, that couldn't be.'"
Seven's parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says, that as more people are globetrotting, Doc and Hillary's blended family is becoming more run-of-the-mill.
Dr. Valerie: "People meet each other, they fall in love, and they have babies. You know, and they have mixed cultural experiences, which is a good thing."
It can be tough to raise a child who's comfortable in his or her skin, but Dr. Valerie says it all starts at home.
Dr. Valerie: "In a mixed race family, it's important to develop your own sense of identity as a family, even if they are mixed races. What is your tradition as a family?"
And when those tough questions hit, be up front. It's never too early to talk about your family's heritage.
Dr. Valerie: "But definitely, if your child is asking about cultures, it's a great opportunity to explain the differences between people but also explain that we find similarities between people, too."
Also, give your kids the tools they need to learn about where they come from, and, parents, it may be a good chance to find out more as well."
Dr. Valerie: "So have books and videos and all the different things, all the different things from that child's background to share, and makes the child feel, you know, accepted."
And finally, give your child the freedom to explore when it comes to their cultural identity.
Dr. Valerie: "Your child is going to question who he or she is. The parents have to learn to be more comfortable with it."
Doc and Hillary couldn't be happier with their colorful family and say they hope their love is an example to their own kids.
Doc Gonzalez: "We hope that we've done a good job, and they've seen enough in terms of how we get a long and deal with one another."
Lynn Martinez: Dr. Valerie also says that the key to giving your kids pride in their background is structure. Try celebrating Holidays or traditions specific to both cultures.
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