Adapting Parenting Style in a Bicultural Family
By Brittany Muddamalle
Bicultural Family Parenting: Finding your style
My husband and I made a plan early on in our marriage. We decided to wait 3-5 years to have children of our own. Shortly after we were married, we adopted a dog. This didn’t tide us over for long. We decided to start trying to have a baby about a year after we were married. We couldn’t wait any longer.
While I was pregnant, we used to spend our evenings talking about the kind of parents we were going to be. We planned everything out. The family trips we’d take, the names of our unborn children, what our relationships with them would look like, etc. We quickly realized our parenting styles were extremely different. Neither of us knew the best way to parent our kids so we looked to our families for advice. Then we found out why our philosophies were so different.
My husband’s family is very involved in each other’s lives. This definitely carried over into their parenting style.
In his family, friends and family are all a part of each other’s lives and that includes parenting. They all allow loved ones to discipline and correct their kids. The level of this varies depending on each family’s preferences, but it’s allowed in all of them.They don’t pick and choose who can correct their children. They all want their children to obey and it’s taught by following “the village raises the child” mentality.
If a child does something wrong, any family member in the room can respond. This can include discipline (time out, taking the toy, etc.) and verbal correction. The parents allow all of the family members to take part in the correction and discipline process.
In my family, they keep the correction process inside of the family. While friends have occasionally come in and corrected the children, it’s a rarity. Everyone understands and respects this. Even within the family, there are limits to how they will respond to the children.
If a child does something wrong, a family member in the room will correct them and then take them to their parents. Then their parents will decide how to handle it and discipline them how they feel is best.
Both of our families love and trust one another; however, they choose to parent differently. I have seen both parenting styles raise well-behaved children. I have seen the pros and cons of both methods.
My husband and I have learned so much from our families. We’ve been able to take both philosophies, see what works, and blend them into our own parenting style. We talk about our parenting style with all of our family members. They all know how we choose to discipline and correct our children. While they may not agree all of the time, they respect our decisions.
If our children do something wrong, we openly allow anyone to verbally correct them. This has been interesting because not everyone responds the way we would have. However, it teaches our children to respect their elders. At this point, we only allow family members to discipline our kids. Most of the time, they bring them to us because they would rather us discipline them. Some of our family members do choose to discipline them (time outs, taking their toys, putting them to bed, etc.) and we are completely ok with this.
We did decide that only family members could discipline our children. Everyone has such different parenting styles and we would rather only allowing family members that know how we have chosen to discipline take part in the process.
My husband’s family has taught us how important it can be to allow anyone to verbally respond to our kids. It has taught them so much about respect and we have seen the fruit from it. Our children have known from an early age to listen to anyone that speaks to them and they speak with a high level of respect to them.
While both of our families have and will parent their children differently, we will always glean all of the wisdom we can from both.
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