The mixed family

May 16, 2014

"how to raise kids in a multicultural family"

As I’m Indian and my husband is British, Anya is a mixed kid.  These days I’m seeing more and more mixed families which is a wonderful thing.  Many of our friends are multicultural as are Anya’s.  Especially in and around London, the multicultural family is very much the norm and I love this aspect of my adopted city.   Recently a friend in a similar family asked me how I was exposing Anya to the Indian side of her culture and this got me thinking.  Am I doing enough?  As Anya is getting older, I am getting more and more conscious of the need to make sure she understands her Indian roots too.  As her father is British and she is growing up in London she will naturally understand and experience the British culture but exposure to the Indian side is up to me.

Anya has grown up eating a lot of Indian food at home and has visited India several times.  I’ve tried to teach her Hindi (the Indian language) but she resisted my attempts because she felt no one else speaks it so why should she.  She would cover her ears and tell me not to speak in ‘that funny way’.  Of course we all know that no kid likes to be different.  Instead, I recently enrolled her in Hindi classes.  This isn’t just to learn the language but also to give her an opportunity to mix with other Indian kids and let her see that there are other people in London who speak Hindi (which came as a bit of a shock to her at her first class!).  I’ve also started making an effort to celebrate the biggest Indian festival of the year and I even went to her school to give a talk about it to her class.

I’m learning as I go along and trying to do things so that she has a balance of both cultures.  My husband Richard is totally supportive of this and like me, completely believes that if you do happen to be a mixed family it’s so important to have a good understanding of both your cultures as that can really widen your horizons.

Since I’m still finding my way, I’m really curious to find out if you are a mixed family, how do you do it?  Do you have any tips on integrating the second culture in to daily life?  I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend! x

{photo by ebabee – an old one from when Anya was just a baby}

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  • thefolia

    Is she into dancing? I bet she would love Bollywood dancing if she hasn’t already done so. The movements and colors are so beautiful. Tell her she would be able to understand the songs if she learned Hindi.

    • ebabee likes

      That is a really good idea – she does love dancing and dancing to the Bollywood beats is so much fun. I bet she would love it. Thanks for the suggestion x

  • Marie-Laure {La maison de Loulou}

    We are mix vietnamese and french; we are building our own little family … now, for me the most important is to teach to Louise and Roman both culture, tradition, food..etc, just because it is part of them and it would help them to grow up as individual. And understand where they are coming from. You are doing an incredible job with Anya as mom and woman my dear.

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you for your lovely words. I so agree with you – being part of two cultures is a wonderful thing but it’s important to understand and embrace both. What a lovely combo – Vietnamese & French. I imagine the food at your home must be amazing 🙂

  • Yolande

    We are a mix of Eastern-European Roma and German living in the UK. We eat the food, listen to the music, read books (lots of fairy tales), travel to our countries, have paintings and photographs all over our flat, meet other people from our cultures, do colouring pages with images of our cultures (a big hit), watch films, talk about it a lot, celebrate special days in our cultures, dress in traditional dress (German Dirndl), have Romani dolls that look like our children, watch dance performances. We try to make it fun and exciting and something to be proud of. So far that works well.

    Fortunately our children attend a very mixed school (over 60% non-native speakers). Most of their classmates speak two, it not three languages. So our kids are highly motivated when it comes to learning the languages.

    • ebabee likes

      Hi Yolande – thanks for giving me so much details. Your activities are really good and have given me a lot of ideas. My daughter is very much in to colouring and I think it’s a great idea to get her some colouring books from my culture. I had never thought of that. Also I can see you make it very much a part of everyday life and thats fantastic.

  • Yolande

    Thank you. Have fun!

  • Uju @babesabouttown.com

    Great post and got me thinking too. I would consider us a mixed family since my kids are being raised Londoners to a hubby born in London and have a half French brother, a grand mother from New Zealand and my family are all Nigerian!

    They think of themselves as English although also Nigerian, especially when it comes to football (at least if we’re doing well). Although recently Ezra urged me not to tell someone jus long and mouthy Nigerian names and I had to remind him to always be proud of his rich heritage. It adds so much flavour to life and they love the food (although I make it less spicy for them) and they also love coming from such a big colourful family !

    • ebabee likes

      Thanks. I so agree. Being part of a mixed family is a wonderful thing. And like you say it allows you to change sporting loyalties according to who is winning 🙂 🙂 But sometimes (like you mention with Ezra) kids can want to hide part of their heritage because it makes them different. Never had Nigerian food – would love to try it one day 🙂

  • susan @happyhealthymumma

    Hi! I’ve just discovered your blog! I love it! Firstly, your daughter is beautiful and has a beautiful name! we also would call our daughter Anya when we have one although it would come from the Thai version! My husband is Chinese-Thai and I’m British- so our 11 month old son, Thomas, has a lot to look forward to! My husband and I both speak English to him at the moment, but his grandparents speak only Thai to him and are adamant that he must also learn Chinese when he is older! (they wanted to send him to a Chinese school….but I put my foot down and said I want him schooled in the UK!) I love being part of a multicultural family!! We plan on going to live in Thailand for a couple of years until Thomas starts school just to give him some time there….I’m really looking forward to it although am scared he will favour his Thai heritage over his British one (is that normal ?!? haha)

    • ebabee likes

      Thanks for your lovely words about my blog. I agree, being multi-cultural is a lovely thing. I think it’s fab that you are going to spend a few years in Thailand – great way to expose Thomas to that part of his culture. I’m sure he’ll be half and half for now. And when he’s older, if he’s anything like Anya, he will choose according to the convenience of the moment! She goes from choosing to be British to choosing to be Indian depending on where she is and most importantly what’s in it for her 🙂

  • Urban Mumble

    We’ve got a similar mix as you. Being very left-brain, I’ve done my research about the many benefits of being a mixed-blood child and having two languages in the house. Mixed children are, on average healthier, more attractive and often do better at school. Some people will tell you, having two or more languages or cultures will make them confused but that is simply not true. It’s a bit like brain exercise; it ultimately leads to better results. And it’s easier for mixed-culture children to conquer the world because they have a better understanding of other cultures and are more adjustable 🙂

    • ebabee likes

      Sounds so true. I have never looked in to it just because it is what it is. What’s your mix? Will be checking out your blog very soon so I guess that will also answer my question. Thank you for stopping by. x

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