Self-reflection as a parenting strategy

July 8, 2019

Raising kids in a multiracial family means that we have to think and talk about identity often. We strive to help our kids build high self-esteem and give them a sense of belonging. Most of the time we have a vision of the type of life we want for our kids now and what we hope for their future. The challenge is connecting our hopes, dreams, and desires to the reality of the world we are raising them in. Our minds are constantly busy trying to figure out how to do that and sometimes we feel like we are at a loss.

When parents come to work with me, they often express their desire for a deeper connection and understanding with their child, worry that their child could grow up and feel bad about themselves, and/or concern that their child will feel like they don’t fit in anywhere. Before we even dig into the work it’s always important to take a step back. As parents we sometimes have to do our own work as individuals in order to show up in the way our kids need us.

A good starting place is taking time to reflect and explore more of our own individual identity. When I work with parents, we often walk through some questions like this:

  • How did you learn about your racial, ethnic, and/or cultural background
  • What messages did you receive from friends and family about your background growing up?
  • What aspects of your background were focused on and what aspects were left out when you were growing up?
  • What types of communities were you connected with growing up?
  • Did the people in those communities have a background similar or different to you? Did that influence your sense of belonging and connection?
Starting with ourselves allows us to not only think about our own sense of identity but also the process of how it was formed. It helps us understand why it was that way instead of just taking it as a given. For many of us, we continued learning about our identity as adults. Looking at how our view on our identity may have changed as adults also matters. It may have changed the way you feel about yourself and how you interact with the world.

Doing our inner work first makes a difference in the way we connect with our kids as well as influencing the way we think and talk to them about identity. By taking time for self-reflection as parents, we are able to move closer to creating the life we want for our kids.

Looking for support? Here are a few ways we can help:

Are you feeling challenged as a parent of a multiracial family?

Schedule a parenting support call to discuss how we can help. On the call, we will talk about what’s coming for you, what you are stuck on, and what’s going on for you and your family. We will also explore your hopes and desires for your family and talk about what could be helpful to improve the challenge and get you unstuck. 

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