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Blended Families: How to Promote Multi-Culturalism in the Home

Two families at backyard cookoutBlended families, or those with members from two or more different cultures, can be an incredible blessing to be a part of. However, multicultural families can be subject to scrutiny and discrimination from the outside world, and it can be difficult to balance the needs and desires of each member independently. Here are a few ideas for promoting healthy and balanced multiculturalism in your home.

Address Cultural Differences in a Fun Way

Talking about culture and cultural traditions does not always have to be serious. For example, blended families can do dinner nights where one side of the family makes a traditional dish from its culture, and the other does the same. This can make for an interesting and hilarious mash-up of cultural culinary traditions. Families can also make up holidays that combine two well-known celebrations from each culture—there are a million ways to preach acceptance without stressing over it too much.

Talk About Difficult Topics

On the other hand, it is important to inform children about the particular situation that they are in. Talking about the citizenship and naturalization process can be one way to do this; talking about the perils faced by people moving and emigrating around the world can be another. If your family has a mix of immigrants and non-immigrants, it may help to educate your children on the immigration process and where your family falls. Families who have moved here from other countries may have to deal with tough topics like speaking with US citizenship lawyers or other experts. Decide what information is best for each age level in your family.

Teach History to Kids

Kids are naturally curious and inquisitive, particularly about where they come from or what their families look like. Proudly displaying family photos in the house from both sides of the family and explaining the history of the cultures that make up your family is a good way to wake kids up to their unique lot in life. Knowledge is power, and will come in handy for kids if they encounter ignorance or malice later in life.

Examine Different Cultures as Well

Embracing multiculturalism requires learning and teaching about traditions that exist outside of your family unit, too. Celebrating foreign holidays, traveling to diverse locales, and learning the basics of other languages and cultures can help cement the perspective that all cultures are to be valued and accepted.

Being a member of a blended family is a great gift: parents can learn and teach the value of cultural preservation and appreciation, and kids can grow up with the idea that all cultures and peoples deserve a shot at understanding and respect. Blended families are becoming more and more prevalent in our increasingly small world, so the values listed above will only become more pertinent with time.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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