Nurturing Multicultural Friendships in Children

Estimated read time 5 min read

When I decided to leave my island behind in my mid-twenties I didn’t set out to live a multicultural life; I could have never imagined that more than a decade later I’d be nurturing multicultural friendships in children, and my American born children at that. Moreover, multicultural living never even crossed my mind before I moved to the United States because at the time Santo Domingo wasn’t as diverse as it is today.


Although I hadn’t thought about it, my journey into multiculturalism started many years before I moved to the US, when I visited the country for the first time in 1997 as an exchange student. During that first summer here I was able to interact with students from other countries while experiencing the American culture for the first time. That experience prepped me for my future; I think it came naturally to me to interact with other cultures due to the fact that I come from a country which main industry is tourism.

Nowadays I not only spend my time nurturing multicultural friendships in children; we live and breathe multiculturalism in all we do. You might think that this is obvious for me to do it due to my work as a multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion expert, but I’m here to tell you that that’s not the reason. If anything, my work just makes me more passionate to spread the message and get everyone excited about a multicultural approach to living.

As a mother, nurturing multicultural friendships in children is as important as nurturing kindness and good manners. We live in a multicultural society; one that is only becoming more and more diverse and we need to prepare children for a culture of understanding that leads to peace and freedom.

I believe it is very important for children to get to know and have friends with different cultures, ethnicities, and colors because that’s the true composition of this country. This is not only my opinion since research has shown how having cross-group friendships reduces prejudice because it removes doubt and fear of the unknown and adds real-life experiences instead. As a mom, I know that if we commit to multicultural living, we will be leaving a beautiful legacy of harmony and wholeness for the next generation.


3 Simple Ways Of Nurturing Multicultural Friendships in Children

Nurturing Multicultural Friendships in Children is not complicated. In fact, it is very simple as there is not a “secret sauce” to doing that. There are steps you can take, of course, but it has to come as an integral part of the way your family lives. Here are 3 ways in which you can adopt a multicultural way of life that will help you in nurturing multicultural friendships in children of any age.

Teach By Example. This is probably the phrase that defines motherhood since we know that our kids are most likely to follow our lead when we are not telling them, but when they see we are living it. In the case of multicultural living and nurturing multicultural friendships, the most effective way is to do it yourself first. Before trying to get your kids’ friends to look diverse, take a look at your own friends, at your community and see if it reflects the diversity of our country. Having your kids exposed to people from different backgrounds, not only children but the adults around them too, it’s the starting point for children to see that that’s the normal thing.

Do Your Homework. Before enrolling your children anywhere (including the school you are going to choose), you need to add diversity and multiculturalism to your list of requirements. Although I know this is harder to do in some areas of the United States, it is not impossible. One of the things I did before I moved from New York City to Raleigh in North Carolina was to research the schools that were available. That applies to anything you will enroll them to, like sports leagues, dance or art lessons. Make sure you are helping them meet kids from diverse backgrounds.

Look At Your Church & Social Groups. If you already belong to a social group or church, most likely you already have friends and build a nice community. I understand that, if this is the case, you will not be leaving your church in the search for diversity. However, this can be an opportunity for you to lead an effort to add more diversity to your organization. Creating a group of people that will work on attracting members that are diverse and share the same interests and/or faith. This will enrich your community, your inner circle, and will definitely include other children that your kids will have access to, get to know and eventually befriend.


I hope these ideas help you on our path towards multicultural living. As you can see in the picture, just by being exposed to kids from diverse families, my daughter has built a beautiful rainbow of friends that is multicultural. For her, her Latina, African-American and Caucasian friends are all the same. Not because she can’t see color, or that they look different, but because she can play, imagine and be a kid the same way with all of them, and that’s what’s normal. I have to say that it is a bonus that all of these girls are also being raced bilingual, and that right there says volumes about their parents and the way they are being raised to see possibilities in our differences.

Now it’s your turn! What do you do to encourage friendships that are not within your own culture?


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