July 7, 2009

interracial kids

I really don't like the term "interracial". Now in America, that is so common, that kids born of parents of different races are just kids - labeling many times does more harm than good.
In any case, my little boy, I am always talking about, has parents that hold more differences than similarities (racial and others). Thank can be good and not so good. But how can we use this as an advantage to raise a balanced individual?

I am from Peru (South America) and his dad is from the United States.
Since the moment I got pregnant I noticed the differences in approaching the birth of a child to the raising of him. We both have been molded by two set of parents who have raised us in their tradition, the way we perceive values, culture, etc.
I have carried those teachings with me as I moved into the States, and in my head, the way I was raised is the way you raise kids. It "doesn't" help that I helped raise my brothers and sister, so, "my way" is ingrained in me.
I am also an adult, and I have come to see that there is some attitudes from "the American way" that I would like to adopt as opposed to the Peruvian way, but finding that balance is really hard.

I also grew up in a divorced home, where a single mother worked to death to provide, and a single father made real the word "sacrifice" in order to be in our lives - so, my expectations are high.

In Peru, when you have kids, they become a high priority - even if they come from single parents. You many times work around the kid's schedule, there is no such thing as nursery, or day care or babysitters. Your leisure time is spent as family, or the parent with the kid.

I have noticed a big difference there. I think in America, there is a huge emphasis in the parental / adult life, how to continue having that "freedom" in spite of kids. How to continue to achieve "your dreams" in spite of kids, and child care is one of the most profitable business!
I think that was and continues to be a reason of disagreement with my son's father and I.
Why isn't your kid a high priority? is strange to me.
I am not saying a person ceases to exist when kids come, but your needs shift, as it is time to mold this little guy or girl.

There are many other issues when "two worlds" collide I think. Feeding, discipline, how you communicate with your child, what you expect of your child, education, goals, etc.

I know in America the saying is: parents are here to raise responsible adults.
In Peru, that saying is kind of foreign. I think the saying would be: parents are here to raise the kids, as you pour into them.

I love the sense of Independence this country tries to install in kids, from early on. But I also love how, in the Peruvian way, we don't push our kids to move out as soon as they turn 18. I have mixed feelings!!

Peru is a matriarchal society, there are LOTS of single mothers and the respect for a mom is essential. The sad part is that since it is also a poor country, many times the dad is not much present in the life of a kid because they live their town to go work in the city. But when a dad wants to be there for his kid, he moves mountains and rivers to be present, at least for a moment, in that kids' life.
Many kids do just fine with this type of interaction - so, I don't buy into the numbers and statistics that are thrown into single parenthood, that has also been a conflict.

What I have loved to learned from this country is the emphasis in the need of a father. I am contradicting myself, I know. But it is here where I knew how much I needed my dad, and how irreplaceable he was.
I love that there are organizations that will help you guard for your child's well
I love that there is an emphasis in the developing of a child, educational I mean.
I love places like Disneyland that allow a kid to be a kid (in Peru you grow up too fast).

But then, how do I balance, how do you balance? without having to pull the kid back and forth to go my or the dad's ways.
When two parents communicate and respect each other, that works beautifully, when they don't - not a good experience, specially for the kid.
As i develop this blog, I think I will move from experience with court issues (although that will never be over I think - there is much to talk about - "father's rights", "court orders", etc) to experiencing raising a child in a push / pull situation - I hope is doesn't get to that. But you know as well as I do it is bound to happen.

As for now, my son dominates both English and Spanish.
Peruvian way: He doesn't go to child care (as I am blessed to have a job that keeps me at home), He drinks his cup of warm milk upon waking up and going to bed. He sleeps in mom's room.
US way: he likes stories before bed (love it!). He eats lunch before 1pm and dinner before 7pm. He will be attending pre-school at age 2 1/2 - yikes! He can work the computer!

I hope and pray he will adopt the best values of both and grows up to become his own individual, and most of all - which is a Peruvian and US way - that he will love God.

Loves your kids and be amazed as their individuality.


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