All children go through milestones in their lives, and as multicultural parents we also reach our own, even if we are not ready for them. A couple of weeks shy of my daughter’s sixth birthday she was invited to her first sleepover. The thing is, though, we don’t do sleepovers. As a Dominican born and raised in the island, this is such a foreign concept and an activity that seems so strange to me.
While I’m not particularly religious and consider myself pretty open-minded, there are some things that simply make no sense to me, and going over someone else’s house to sleep ‘just because’, is one of them. That’s why we don’t do sleepovers in our family and it is a topic that has been talked about with the kids as something we just don’t do; the first invite just made it official.
One thing I have learned about raising multicultural children is that your family values should be clear, and that it is important to differentiate between having a world view from adopting and doing what everyone does, just for the sake of “embracing”. So, as a multicultural mom who happens to be a Latina, this milestone was an important one for me because it gave me the opportunity to teach my daughter about the importance of being true to oneself and our values.
I know this was just the first time my daughter was invited to someone’s house to sleep. However, I’m glad that while she wasn’t particularly happy about the fact that we don’t do sleepovers, she knew the answer, and promptly said, “I know, we don’t do that” even before I finished the sentence. I was proud of my little girl and confident about my choice as a mom raising children in a multicultural world; helping them to shape who they are without ignoring what I feel is right.
As parents, we know that more often than not the best choices for our children can be the less popular ones, the ones that make us be “the bad guy” for a while. However, I think there is beauty in knowing that if you raise your children right, they will grow to appreciate those tough choices. And hopefully, they will be ready to do as such for themselves as adults, and pass along to their children once they become parents.
Are you raising multicultural children? What is your sleepover policy?