When it comes to providing a shelter of love and understanding for our dear children, raising a family with your cross-cultural partner must become “ground zero” for treaties and negotiations. We all have our own expectations and our own sets of values. Tools that were given to us by our parents, and by the circumstances around our childhood.
Having initiated the path into creating a family with someone raised in a different society, and under another culture can be both uplifting and challenging. The things we deem necessary may not be so for our partner. So, it is important that the bridge between communication and decision making rules the development of a better middle ground. It´s all for the healthy environment that our dear young ones require. Be always attentive and respectful of where the boundaries are, and be clear where you stand. As the years pile up, you will realize that it is in your children’s benefit for clear dialogues to allow you and your partner the possibility to employ the tools you each deem necessary. No decision is better than the other, it is a matter of perceiving how joy and happiness are the aim of every family battle.
Most of the time arguments are rooted in lack of communication. So, it is in our favor how much time we spend explaining to each other why we each do the things we do for the little ones in the family unit. We, after all, want what is best for the synchronicity between the message of the lessons we are trying to implement, and how receptive our children are to them.
I have experienced at times how the hardness of a strong punishment teaches children that are disrespectful and self-centered, it helps them to see where they are crossing the lines. Sometimes I don’t agree with how my cross-cultural partner handles situations with our children, but when you have two children that are two years apart in age, what works with one doesn’t necessarily work with the other. It’s always a challenge as a parent to try and realize these differences, because no children in a household is the same as his or her siblings. It is our duty as adults committed to beautifying a home, to create bridges of communication. Most sugary treats for instance, although at times rewarding, can become a source of hyperactivity. By trying to acknowledge a positive behavior with a candy or a muffin, we are also creating inside our children a rush effect that will make them wilder and rougher with the smaller babies in the house. It is paramount to know when certain sugary gifts have the power to create distress and tension between parents and siblings, especially for some Latino countries where dessert is a must after every meal. Pay attention to this, we all want a happy baby, and we all hate a hyperactive child that will not listen to you. Remember that child in the supermarket that will not listen to their parents? Most of the times this is due to some sugar effect. I for once don’t like my kids to be like those children who have no apparent respect for calm behavior.
For most Latino cultures, there is a tendency for boys to be raised like future man who have a very possessive nature when it comes to their partners, and sensitivity tends to be a thing left only for the girls. “Boys should learn to be boys, there is no time for crying”.
It was with my partner that I learn most of these paradigms of Latino culture. We are both trying to make a clear distinction of where to be strong and when to allow for human sensitivity to lead our oldest one, most of all when he is confronted with situations that allow for this sensitive development to take place. Just because most cultures are male driven animal slaughterhouses, it doesn’t mean that some proper change cannot take place. It is an effort on our part as parents to be able to move away from such dense social expectations, and in turn provide a ground for nurturing qualities that will make a better human being.
As cross cultural parents, the diversity of tools that can be provided for ensuring our children’s well-being are somewhat greater. The mixture of generations of parenting from two different cultures is a great asset, like “a library of global parental guidance”. Allow these past teachers to help you in the building of a greater tomorrow, for it is in our children where the future lies, especially in the mixture of cross-cultural relationships.