I think it’s important when raising a bi-cultural child to find a balance between both the mother’s and the father’s upbringing and cultural backgrounds. The truth is, it’s not always that simple. As a single mom who is raising a Half-French, Half-Egyptian boy, I can say it’s quite tricky most of the time. My son’s father is not very involved in his life. He is around, but Skype chats are not the best way to establish a peaceful and steady relationship while teaching a young child about a far-away culture.
I decided that I could be the one talking about this other part of who he is. We started with a small photo book that I built from photos that I took on a trip when we were still married, showing the country, the village where his dad grew up, his dad’s family members and some nice spots around. Whenever he wants, he can ask me to have a look at it.
We have other resources at home, such as books and songs. I don’t speak Arabic but I know a couple of words, so we learn them together.
As he is growing up, I am keen for my bi-cultural child to know the culture from another perspective: the food and tastes of Egypt, the colors, the history, the way people are living, and how they are different from us.
For this, Internet is of great help.
When it comes to religion, I use books. I am interested in religion in general and I’d like my son to learn more about it. As his dad and I could not agree on anything, I decided not to give my son any religion. He will choose later. Still, we are talking about it, about Islam and Christianity.
As a matter of fact, I wanted to take him with me to Egypt, but right now things are too hectic and crazy with his dad. So I made a long-term plan to go to Egypt with him, when he’ll be old enough to travel without any worry.
Some days I would love to have somebody to do this for me, somebody I could rely on when I don’t have answers to some of his questions, as I have my part to deal with too. I have to be careful not to overdo things and accept that sometime my child does not want to hear about his dad and his dad’s story.
But I have to say it’s a relief that I don’t resent the culture and the man. It is helping my boy to know about his roots, the roots that will help him grow stronger and understand that our world differences are a chance.
And you? Tell me, how are you teaching your bi-cultural child about cultural differences?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Marie Kléber of France. Photo credit to the author.
Writing this post was the most challenging of all the posts I’ve ever written. You may not find it that valuable, but I will still go with writing and publishing it. Actually I wanted and needed to write, but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to share it. My thoughts and my mind are a real mess.
Since the beginning of the 2013, life was really hard for me. First, I lost my father, and although I was accepting this fact and apparently I was calm, I was unaware that I was plunging into depression. It took me five months to realize it and accept the idea that I needed therapy. When I started to feel better, the situation in Egypt deteriorated, and we were under curfew for months. I was imprisoned at home and rarely went out. I lost interest in everything except the political talk shows, but later on I realized that was the main cause of my feeling down and fearful most of the time. I totally lost motivation to do anything and lost interest in anything. All I wanted was to stay still and silent for hours. (more…)
I mentioned in previous posts how I am madly in love with my children and how I take care to express my love to my children. I even wrote about different love languages to express our love to our kids. I was always crazy about children, especially babies and toddlers. However, a little while ago, I had a wrong belief that once they go to school they are not that tender and young, and this belief was the cause of depriving me of enjoying many beautiful years of my elder son’s childhood.
My elder son was six years old when I gave birth to his younger brother. Of course, all my attention was shifted to the newborn baby, and as he was rarely sleeping at night, I was extremely exhausted, impatient and nervous. It took me a whole month to realize that my elder son had became such a low priority in my life. Taking care of the newborn baby, the house works and all these details brought my elder son to the background of my life. All I was taking care of was sending him to school and lettin him do the homework, and I totally neglected his emotional needs as a child. (more…)
I am trying to teach my youngest child three languages. I am determined to make it work, even if I only speak one perfectly. I am making a conscious decision to do something that is almost as awful as pulling teeth (in my opinion). I am determined to force myself to come out of my comfort zone, even if it means being laughed at; yes, it happens sometimes. My attempts to teach my young child English, Arabic and French were inevitably a disaster waiting to happen, except that it happened right away. It is a deliberate act of madness on my part, and I hope that my son makes it out alive.
Here’s a little background on my adventures. I have always been a passive bilingual. In my case, I understand spoken French (mostly), I understand written French (greatly), and I can speak some French. The problem is, as the years go by, my linguistic ability coupled with my self-confidence dwindles. And boy is it ever complicated! Along with my love for French, I found it necessary to study and learn Arabic – I married an Arabic speaker. Sure, he speaks English, but my mother-in-law doesn’t speak more than ten words of English.
Learning a new language in your late 20’s is something different. I have always respected immigrants who move to new countries and learn the language (through no choice of their own of course), but now I respect them ten-fold. (more…)
On Monday we will be in lovely Cape Town, South Africa, with Mamma Simona. Simona has the kind of positive relationship with her children that makes her the envy of other parents of teens. She tells us what her secret is.
On Tuesday we head to Washington to hear from Tara B., who discusses the role of gender-based marketing in our children’s lives. Would you buy your boy something that would typically be used by a girl, and vice versa? Tara tells us her views and how she handles it with her own child.
Next up also on Tuesday is a post from Elizabeth Atalay about a women from Rhode Island who began her own non-profit and is helping to provide food to people who need it most in Africa. An inspiring story!
On Wednesday, we’re off to Egypt, where Nihad talks about a dilemma she faced in the raising of her children. How would she balance discipline with love? Was she going to be critical of every mistake her children made, or was she going to focus on encouraging them to value themselves?
On Thursday, we’re back in the United States with Illinois mom Jill Barth. This mom talks about the dilemma faced by many moms who work outside of the home, and whether we are sending our kids the rights messages about the way the world is supposed to be.
We end this multinational week in France, with a post from Lady Jennie, and her topic is vacationing with children.
On Saturday, check out the Saturday Sidebar with Purnima, where the World Moms give their thoughts on an important topic, and chime in with your answers to this week’s question!
Our giveaway this week is a gorgeous scarf from Indonesia, donated by our contributor, Maureen from Tatterscoops! To be entered to win, comment on the blog from Sunday, August 26th through Saturday, September 1st EST! (Check our sidebar this week for a photo!)
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This World Moms Blog Travel Itinerary is written by Kirsten Doyle @ Running For Autism