Saturday, August 02, 2008

Transracial Parenting Tips

Janet and I have been parents for a little over five and a half years. So far, we have learned a few lessons that could be beneficial to new transracial families:

1. When someone asks, "Are you going to tell him that he's adopted?", just respond, "How did you know? We've been trying to keep it a secret."

2. The ethnic hair products aisle at Wal-Mart exists for a good reason. No amount of conditioner will keep African American hair moist. Look for hair lotion in the ethnic hair products aisle.

3. White women cannot cut the hair of black boys. They do a fine job with mine, but not with his. Trust me. Find a black barber shop. You may look out of place, but he will look great.

4. If possible, join an interracial church. Your child needs to be able to relate to peers of his or her race.

5. Teach your child to respect authority early in life. Give him an opportunity to succeed.


Thanks for reading.

5 comments:

Mike said...

I like the "join interracial church". In my experience these have been some of the most dynamic communities out there.

Terry said...

We like it. Thanks for the comment!

mattdabbs said...

I love hearing perspectives of people and advice like that. No matter how hard you study something you just cannot come up with it as well as when you live it. Thanks for doing what you do.

Jennifer (O) said...

wonderful post, Terry! I like the last comment about respect. That has always been top priority in our household! Thanks!

Terry said...

Matt,
Thanks for checking out my blog. I appreciate you for taking the time to look at my perspective.

Jennifer,
Respecting authority was not at the top of my list for Christopher when we first adopted him. However, I read a good book--and I have forgotten the title and the author now-- in which the author was a white woman with a black child. She stressed this point because of her experiences. She noted that a black child will be more likely to be suspected of wrongdoing (even if he is completely innocent) because of his race. Therefore it would be absolutely essential that a black child learn to respect authority. He may not be given many second chances. Last month, this was re-affirmed when I heard an English professor from Abiline Christian University speak at the Wednesday evening service at the Park Plaza Church (we have been visiting there on Wednesday evenings during the summer). He talked about being a young professor with a new car in Nebraska about 15 years ago. He was driving a white friend around when the police pulled him over and asked him if he owned the car, even though he had violated no law. His white friend had never been pulled over by the police in his life, but he said that it is a way of life for young black men (even innocent Christian university professors). I realized that the advice I had read was essential for my son. He may be suspected of doing something wrong, but I want to make sure that there is no basis for the suspicion. I want to help him avoid as many unneccesary problems as possible by helping him to respect authority. Of course, it's important for all children, too. Thanks for reading my blog!