As I’ve mentioned in the past, before having my children I didn’t expect to have boys, and as it turns out, I ended up having two of them. After the initial shock, I soon realized that I was now embarking in parenting multicultural boys at a time in which boys of color continue to be the target of hate, negativity and a society that looks down on them. That meant I had to step up to the challenge and make sure I raise confident, kind men that can build a better society for all.
Having a clear goal I then set to figure out how boys respond, what moves them and how I can build their confidence while also building kindness and values that I know will make them the men I want them to be. Although I believe in equality and the ability for boys and girls to do the same things, to be adventurous and kind, curious and sweet and every possible thing any child can be. What I’ve learned is that in order to get to them, to speak their language, there are different avenues, different things I can do to connect with them at a deeper level.
Tips For Parenting Multicultural Boys
Fewer Words Is More. In many instances, parenting multicultural boys is the same as parenting any other boy, and when it comes to talking to boys, (in most cases) it is best to do it in several, smaller talks. Boys usually deal with their emotions with a lot less talking and that’s the way they prefer we tackle any teaching moment. However, learning to ask the right questions and just a few of them at a time is going to help you connect with your boy, creating a bond that will allow you to deal with difficult topics that are specific to parenting multicultural boys as they grow.
Learn To Read Non-Verbal Cues. Because boys don’t open up verbally, it is crucial to observe your child and read the non-verbal cues. No one knows your son the way you do, so learning to identify his body language will work to his benefit as he grows and experiences things. No one wants their child to be bullied, discriminated against or be judged by his appearance. Still, we know these things can happen and a boy will not come to tell you the story. Being able to identify if your boy is hurt, sad or going through something is an important part of mothering a multicultural kid.
Hugs And Kisses Go A Long Way. Because boys often keep their feelings in, and especially because boys of color are often socialized to “be strong”, “don’t cry”, etc., while parenting multicultural boys we must be intentional in providing them with physical touch, visible, palpable love and affection. No matter the age, allowing your boy to show emotion, to receive physical touch, will teach him he is cared for and give him permission to be affectionate and kind while building his confidence at the same time.
Good Sportsmanship For Life. Most boys will practice a sport at some point, at least until they express other interests. One of the lessons I learned from my father that I think is a great tool when parenting multicultural boys, is to apply good sportsmanship to everything they do in life. Showing them it doesn’t matter if they win or lose if they are the fastest, the smartest or excel in a particular field, what matters the most is how the approach any situation, being generous, kind and supportive of others. It removes a lot of the pressure, boys often experience socially. It builds in its ability to have qualities that used to be considered for girls.
Let Him Be Shy. When having to face social situations, many boys tend to become shy, even if they are outgoing at home and with friends in school. Don’t pressure your boy to “perform”, allow him to show up in the manner he feels more comfortable. Because multicultural boys are often code-switching, assuming what you interpret as a shy persona, might be his way to be who he needs to be in a particular situation.
Parenting multicultural boys, as in any kind of parenting, is all about providing children with the tools they need to have good self-esteem, learn to respect others and grow up to be kind, gentle human beings. The road to get there is the key to success, and tending to a child’ specific needs is the best we can do as moms to support our boys.
Are you parenting multicultural boys? What different strategies do you use, if any, in their upbringing? I’d love to hear from you!Let's embrace diversity and create social change! © Dania Santana ~ Embracing Diversity
Multiculturalism, Diversity & Inclusion Expert | Author | Speaker