Trust is an ability to believe in what someone says and does. Children are not required to trust a parent and at times, unfortunately, maybe trust has not been earned. When raising multi-racial children, trust is an important part of everyday life including education and relationships. Parents of multi-racial children can start teaching and fostering trust early in life giving children the most important tool to take control of education and relationships.
Promoting Trust Early in Life
Physical Contact – Parenting experts have preached the importance of skin to skin contact for decades, but for the parent of a multi-racial child, contact means more than snuggling. Allowing other family members to have physical contact with a multi-racial child early on can have a huge impact on how that child reacts to other races and ethnic backgrounds in the future. Montana Banks, a 13 year old multi-racial child, remembers the smell of patchouli and the dark skin of her grandmother’s face. Every time she smells patchouli she remembers the beauty of that face – physical contact created trust on some basic level between Montana and one half of her ethnic background.
Endearing Words – Words of love have great impact on every child. Parents of multi-racial children can take those endearing words one step further and use them in context with both ethnic backgrounds. No matter what the family relationship status is at the moment, positive words about both sides of the family will have an impact. If one parent is feuding with relatives and negative words are constantly spoken about those relatives, multi-racial children may link the negative words to the race of those relatives. If negatives words are a must to get feelings out, they should never be spoken in front of children.
Making Both Sides Equal – This is a parenting tip that is not necessarily unique to multi-racial parenting, but one that is certainly very important to use when raising multi-racial children. Both sides of the family need to be equal. If a child recognizes patterns of negativity on one side of the race line or another, this could develop into negative feelings about that race. For instance, if mom constantly talks about family members who are out of work and dad talks about how his side of the family is flourishing, is it better to trust dad’s race because they are evidently the better of the two?
Trust, Education and Relationships
When the multi-racial child learns to trust all races, they are more apt to have trust for those who are there to help in times of need. If the child is teased at school for being multi-racial they know they can trust a teacher no matter his or her ethnic background. Heaven Banks, an 11 year old multi-racial child, remembers when one bus rider commented to her, “You should just go back to where you came from.” She took this as being negative and never hesitated to tell the bus driver about the situation. If trust was an issue, the situation may have been left to fester causing more trust issues in the future – leading to problems in future friend and intimate relationships.
Multi-racial parenting is based on trust issues that are far deeper than some parents ever understand. With two distinct cultures meeting in one home, multi-racial parents have a hard road ahead, but one that can be rooted in trust so children can take that huge step toward living the best life they can live.