Balanced Melting Pot

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Value of Diversity

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Race Relations, Thoughts on February 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm

I was reading a post on Anti-Racist Parent written by an adoptive parent who needed advice about choosing the right school for her Ethiopian-born daughter. Her dilemma was whether or not to put her 4 year-old in a school where more people looked like her or to seek out a more diverse environment.

I have to admit that a school’s diversity has always been in afterthought in where I choose to put my children. I first want to make sure that they are in an environment where they can thrive socially, emotionally and cognitively because I think at that age culture is very abstract and therefore not a priority. After reading how much thought this parent was putting into this, as well as some of the answers, I started to think maybe I was overlooking something.

In the book Inheriting the City, the author mentions that immigrants have the tendency to want cultural awareness for their children, but will place them in culturally non-diverse school because they are often seen as “the best”. While this can sound elitist, I can’t blame parents for trying to offer their children the best chances to succeed academically.

For me, by virtue of looking for the qualities above, I found that schools became less and less diverse – this may only happen in urban areas. Now, was I supposed to forego quality programs and look for others that had more of a mix? That sounds wrong to me, but let me know your thoughts.

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I’d like to talk to you about your child’s behavior…

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Social Norms, Thoughts on February 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Most parents know that children, at a very young age, make friends. Since they do not have the means to maintain those friendships, the onus is usually on the parents to keep them in touch, etc. (by the way, this an American cultural norm).

I have come to accept these duties – just as I have all the other unexpected jobs that come with being a parent 😉 – so my issue is more with the friends my 6 year-old daughter is choosing to keep and the parents that come along with them.  Sometimes she comes home telling how her friend said something that I consider to be inappropriate to her (i.e. you better buy me this or else I’m not going to be your friend). I try to take into account that they are only 6 or 7, so they may not fully understand what they are saying. However, I also try to make it clear to my daughter that good  friends would never make such demands. I think that’s even harder a concept to grasp at that age.

So, this leads me to the problem of wanting to discuss some of these inappropriate conversations with other parents. This should be easy, right? Wrong! I am well aware that many of the parents of her friends are immigrants and this can be tricky territory. Parents, especially Haitian parents, can interpret my address of this issue as my trying to criticize their child. I actually think that often we don’t know what are kids are saying to others and I welcome parents/teachers telling me when my child has spoken out of turn. How else can I fix it?

Now, I know there is never a universal way to correctly address a touchy subject with someone, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. Sorry for the unannounced two week hiatus. What can I say, life happens 🙂

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