Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
Not new to this concept but definitely an interesting topic to talk about. My maternal uncle was married to my aunt who comes from a different background than we are. Technically she belonged to a different culture and spoke a different language. And I personally saw them growing in two different cultures.
In my opinion, raising kids bilingually and bi-culturally is so fun yet challenging. Somehow I will have to do this anyways. Most likely my boyfriend and I will be getting married in the near future and have kids of our own. You might be thinking what’s so new about it. Well my boyfriend is black and I’m an Indian. Marriage itself can be challenging when you want to keep up this sort relationship and stick around.
Okay. Well, when I’ve kids of my own, I really do have ideas and thoughts how to raise them.
1. By exposing them to both cultures. Introducing your kids to both cultures shows how much you enjoy showing your kids about the roots of your family and how rich is your culture. So while growing your kids will pick few good points from both cultures and follow the same makes both us or you happy.
2. Make them learn both languages. Letting them learn both languages at same time can be fun and kids can learn any language pretty fast at their age. Sometimes, they could relate the similarity of words used in both languages. Talk to them in both languages, so that it makes them understand that its an important thing to be followed in your family.
3. Make them spend time at their grandparents place. In my case, I’d definitely make them visit my parents in India and so as my in laws in Kenya. Kids can learn more from the experiences that their grandparents had in their lifetime and their teachings will definitely get into their minds. So make sure you send or take them to your respective countries once in a while.
4. Make them speak to their grandparents and cousins over the phones in their language. By doing so, the kids will the fluency in the languages.
5. Make them read few books on your cultures. This is very best way to make them learn about your culture and they will talk about what they learned by reading the book about cultures and how it influenced them.
Having a hard time raising your kids bilingually and bi-culturally then try following these steps. It’ll work slowly and effectively. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.