The way an adult identifies and adopts their own culture influences the way children learn and grow. As guardians/parents, we serve as role models for our children, demonstrating respect and appreciation for both our own culture and the cultures of others. We are our child’s mirror, and what we reflect on them contributes to their perception of themselves and their identities. We can help our children learn to value their own unique identities and to find beauty in the differences around them. Below are a few suggestions for raising cultural pride and awareness in our children:
Have conversations about cultural identity & support exploration- As infants, children begin developing an identity, which comes from their interactions with the adults in their life. As children grow, they become more aware of different dynamics, cultures, and races. It is beneficial to the child for a guardian/parent to be supportive and accepting of a child’s exploration of cultural identity because this provides a sense of belonging. This could be done through traditions, cultural events, language, food, music, etc. By celebrating a child’s unique individual culture, you are celebrating the beauty of your child.
Awareness of diversity & discrimination- Children notice when someone looks different than them. According to the American Psychological Association, infants can see those physical differences and they start responding to them. Discussing differences can help children appreciate diversity and better recognize experiences of discrimination. Discussing diversity and discrimination with our children is crucial as it equips them to handle certain situations and reduces the potential negative impact on their mental well-being.
Share your own experiences- Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed listening to the stories that my family members have shared about their childhood experiences and life in the Dominican Republic. This is a great way to bond with your children and pass down values. This is a precious experience that I share with my family and one that I hope to share with my children one day.
Hillary Aponte-Chimelis, LPC, PMH-C, R-PLC
H. Aponte-Chimelis Counseling
4641 Pottsville Pike, suite 101B
Reading, PA 19605