Written by Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW
July 20, 2019
The struggle is real in many multiracial families who have extended family members who are prejudice, “colorblind”, ignorant, and racist. The frustration and pain that this causes on parents is enormous especially when it’s your parent or in-law aka often your child’s grandparent that acts that way. It not only takes a toll on the individual whose relative it is but can also impact the partner in multiple ways. It can show up as the partner being directly affected and/or the partner having to deal with the second hand effects of their partner being under stress. They might be more irritable, often distracted, and short in conversation. It can add tension to the family that of course can trickle down to the kids even if they aren’t in direct contact with the grandparents.
Parents often describe themselves faced with a difficult decision about whether to cut ties, add boundaries to the relationship, and/or ignore the behavior and suffer with the consequences. These often feel like the only options for parents and are by no means is that an easy decision.
When working with parents, I like to expand the conversation and the way we approach the situation. Of course, the available options are unique to each family and their situation.
Here are some of the responses that I hear from parents when we start this process:
Can people really change?
It’s a hopeless situation, what’s the point of working on it.
I already tried that approach and it didn’t work.
I’m too hurt and emotionally drained.
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.
Join the community
Looking for a supportive community of like minded parents? Join the Multiracial Parenting Network.
THRIVE Parent Coaching Program
This could be a very valuable tool to help support your child’s self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence. For showing up at school, Rorri.
The first time I ever had the feeling of being different because I was part of a multiracial family was in high school. My brother who is brown and Mexican was adopted into my white and Jewish family. Can you relate to feeling like this? How do you handle it?
It’s really important that we as parents take a holistic approach when addressing these issues. We have to look at how we are being affected, the impact that us being affected can have on our kids, and how are kids are being affected.