Balanced Melting Pot

Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

How old is old enough?

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Traditions on October 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm

To continue the topic of choosing mates, let’s talk about the appropriate age for children to begin dating.

Now, I know the exact time is going to vary based on the personality/development of the individual child, but I think we all think about the approximate age range with which we would feel comfortable.

Of course in determining this age range, I have to think back to how my parents handled this oh so delicate topic. Basically, dating was OUT of the question. The concept of me going out alone with another teenager was completely foreign and they did not think it was a “good” idea. Hence, I didn’t go on my first real date until I was 18 years-old. I don’t think that this was such a bad thing  – I didn’t feel like I missed out on much since I was able to live vicariously through my American friends. When I finally did go out on a date, I felt comfortable in the situation and like I could voice my opinion on what I did and did not want to do.

A few years ago, there was an article in the local newspaper about Hispanic families in South Florida chaperoning their children’s dates (I’m still trying to figure out which is worse – not being able to go or having an older family member hang around the whole time 😛 ). I was actually a bit surprised to learn about this practice and began wondering how many other cultures did this. In any case, there has to be a time when this is even discussed.

So, when do you think is a good time to allow dating (with my boisterous five year-old, I’m thinking 20)? What are the “protocols” around this activity and are they directly linked to your culture?

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How do you choose a mate?

In Culture, Questions on October 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I was catching up with a friend the other day and we got to talking about the dynamics of a relationship between two immigrants with the same cultural background where one was raised in the US and the other in the country of origin (like my husband and I). My friend was saying how the differences between their life experiences can be great enough to make them incompatible.

It really got me thinking – since I like to think that my husband and I are compatible 😉 – but this is good point that I don’t think we think about when looking for our “mates”. I think that sometimes we are so caught up in picking someone that is culturally the same that we don’t take into consideration the person’s unique upbringing. I have also seen the exact opposite happen where for whatever reason, the person has an aversion to people who are culturally similar and veer as far away from the as possible when dating. I guess the middle ground would be a person who turns a blind eye cultural background all together and simply focuses on the person as a whole.

Either way, we are drawn to people for certain reasons that sometimes don’t pan out to be in our best interest. Does cultural background play a role in your choice(s) of significant others? If yes, have you found it to be helpful or hurtful to the success of your relationship? If not, do you make an effort to educate your partner on your cultural heritage or find it easier to simply share American cultural norms?

N.B. Please check out the survey on the Polls page that has a question about this topic and children.

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Immigrant Families and the Economic Crisis

In Economic Crisis, Parenting, Questions on October 13, 2008 at 11:45 am

I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss this topic (and my husband suggested it 🙂 ), but I think there is an interesting dynamic that may be occurring for immigrant families during the US economic crisis.

For instance, many immigrants provide financial support to family in their countries of origin. As I heard one journalist put it, “when the United States sneezes, other countries develop pneumonia”, so if we’re feeling a squeeze here it’s only worse in other countries. This can create an added pressure for immigrant families who may be finding it more difficult to maintain the same level of support and make ends meet at home.

I also think that during this perfect storm, we are forced to look at some of our comforts and some of the expectations we have by virtue of living in this country (i.e. acquiring large amounts of debt). We may also see the fragile state of developing countries and how they have more at stake right now than we realize.

So my first question is: How are you handling the crisis as it relates to your family here and abroad? Another question is for parents who may not have families who need their financial assistance in their countries of origin. Are you using this economic situation to teach your children about poverty and/or financial responsibility? If so, how? If not, do you think that it’s inappropriate to discuss these things with children?

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