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Multicultural Is More Than Multiethnic

There's more to being considered a multicultural family than having different races in one household.

When someone tells you that they are a writer, what's the first career that comes to your mind? For most people writer is synonymous with book author, but there are a number of other occupations that would also fall under the title of a writer including:

  • Social Media Content Writer

  • Publicist

  • Advertising Copywriter

  • Journalist

  • Blogger

  • Communications Manager

(These are the ones that first come to my mind because I've had these job responsibilities throughout my career.) There are also grant writers, medical writers, research analysts, and the list goes on and on. So while a book author is a writer, you can't assume that a writer is always a book author.

Similarly, a lot of people think that multicultural is synonymous with multiethnic. While Multicultural Parenting does focus on multiethnic families, we understand that the term multicultural can include a variety of other family situations. Multicultural families can also include families with differing:

  • Religions

  • Hobbies

  • Socioeconomic Backgrounds

  • Medical Histories

  • Education

  • Values

  • Eating Habits

  • Family Structures

In fact, culture can be used to address really any belief, practice, or lifestyle an individual follows. So the different cultures within a family could be endless!

There can be so much diversity within one family, and children can either benefit from their parents' differences or be torn between them. That's why it's important to remember that when raising multicultural children, parents need to work together and be prepared for a few surprises along the way.

My husband and I have similar cultural backgrounds (multiethnicity aside), so while we haven't had any make-or-break cultural differences, we do have some smaller ones. Our eating habits for example are very different. For me, breakfast is an important meal each day, while for him, he'd rather not eat it. Now that we have kids, I make breakfast for them in the mornings and still get frustrated every now and then that he doesn't take a turn. But from his viewpoint, breakfast can be yogurt and some juice or milk and cereal, so he doesn't understand why I get stressed out about it. Breakfast could turn into a daily argument in front of our kids, but since we know and understand our differing eating habits we're able to manage expectations for each other and our children.

While Multicultural Parenting follows the pattern of celebrate, educate, and participate, this is in terms predominately for parent-child relationships. For spouses or partners, Multicultural Parenting encourages learning, understanding, and respecting. Even if your spouse or partner doesn't live the same cultures as you, you can incorporate a blend of your lifestyles that will enrich your children's multicultural upbringing. They'll be all the better for being exposed to different cultures within their own home and will develop empathy for others from a young age.

So, while Multicultural Parenting may address a lot of multiethnic parenting ideas, the principles can be applied to a variety of multicultural family situations.

What family cultures will you and your partner/spouse be sharing with your children?


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