Cultural Dilemmas

Cultural Dilemmas and Issues of Asian Moms in the U.S.


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What Festivals Do Asian People Celebrate In The U.S.?

Easter baskets, eggs, bunnies and other goodies have flooded the stores around us. Last week when I went for grocery shopping with my daughter, she started asking questions about these goodies and if she can have them. This event provoked me to write this post about the cultural dichotomy faced by many Asian moms while celebrating festivals in the U.S.

What festivals do we celebrate as Asians living in the U.S.? How do they impact our lives and those of our children? Do our children enjoy celebrating our native festivals and cultural events the same way they enjoy American festivals?

Many of us celebrate Christmas and get gifts for our children. Our children participate in the Independence day parade and also dress up in their favorite costumes for Halloween.

What about the festivals we have grown up celebrating in our childhood? Do our children enjoy celebrating them as well? Some of us will say yes. Many Asian moms keep their tradition alive by celebrating their native festivals and making them an important aspect of their children’s lives as well. There are many places in the U.S. where people of all cultures get together and celebrate  many Asian festivals like the Chinese New year, Diwali, Holi and Vaisakhi.

We Asian moms should take full advantage of the opportunity provided by this country to practice freely our religious and cultural beliefs. Get together, celebrate and enjoy American as well as your native festivals in collaboration with your and your child’s American friends. Educate them about your culture and make our society a place where our children and their peers are more tolerant and respect each others traditions.

Make your child a global citizen who is deeply rooted in his/her Asian culture, educates others about it, and also respects different cultures.

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How To Talk To Asian Kids About Their Different Appearance?

Last week my daughter told me that her skin color is different from her friends. I was concerned, and this was our topic of discussion every now and then when I picked her up from school. I didn’t know how to handle this. I grew up in an environment where all the people around looked like me and never had this challenge as a part of my childhood.

An Asian kid with an American child in school

An Asian kid with an American child in school

It is not just about appearance, it is also about the food we pack for our children in their lunch boxes, the language we speak, and many other cultural things we do that raise questions as well.

We Asian moms are not the only ones facing these questions. Women of many other races deal with similar problems while raising their kids in the U.S. We cannot change the way our children look, but we do bring some changes in our lifestyle. Celebrating American festivals, eating American food, or watching ‘Super Bowl’ with our kids have become a part of our lives.

What about the things we cannot change? How should we handle their concerns about looking different from their friends? I have some suggestions which will be helpful in making our children confident about the way they look.

Do Not Shy Away From These Conversations. When your children talk to you about their different skin color, listen to them. Do not avoid the situation. Tell them that we may look different from outside but we are all same inside. Assure them that there is nothing wrong in being different. Have these conversations with your children on a regular basis, but do not overdo it.

Talk About Their Issues By Giving Examples. Do not give long philosophical lectures, they will not understand them. Talk to them as issues emerge by giving examples of things around them, so that they can relate and understand. For example, talk about people they know and who can be their role models.

Make Them Feel Good About Themselves. Educate your children about the good things in your culture, things that they can feel proud of. Repeated positive reinforcement about their bodies, their culture and their roots will make them confident. Tell them that what matters most is to be good, by giving examples of little acts of kindness that they can do.

Be Confident Role Models For Them. We Asian moms can bring a huge positive change in the lives of our children by being confident role models for them. Our kids learn a lot from us by watching how we behave in different situations. If we are confident about our appearance, it will automatically effect our children’s perception about their looks.

Educate Them About Different Cultures. Expose your children to different cultures by reading books, taking them to different countries for vacations, watching multicultural shows on television, and interacting with people of different cultures. This will not only educate them about the diversity in the world, but also make them confident about themselves looking different from others.

Do you have more ideas on how to talk to our children about looking different from their friends, let’s discuss them.

Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net