Biracial Hair - How to Help Biracial Child Deal with Teasing About His Hair
Biracial Hair - Teaching Kids to Claim their Uniqueness
Parent Question and Answer
My son has been teased about his curly biracial hair. He's so sad, hedoesn't want to go to school. Please help.
Mom of Biracial Child
Dear Mom of Biracial Child:
The first thing you must do is encourage your child to talk about what happened. Allowing him to speak and listening with empathy and compassion can in itself be healing.
Once your child has finished telling his story, share a story from your childhood about a time when you were teased and how you handled it, so you can show him that you understand and illustrate ways to cope with it.
Next, ask your child what he thinks about his curly, biracial hair. If he likes his hair, but was hurt because he was teased about a feature he cannot change, tell him that sometimes children say mean things, so they can feel powerful. Teach him to be strong inside himself and to ignore the taunts of others. If the teasing continues, teach him to defend himself with a come-back. He can say something like, "Yeah, I have curly hair, but at least I don't have ... " Comebacks should only be reserved for bullies. You don't want your child to get invested in always having to say something back.
Talk to your child's teacher and make her aware of what is happening. Explain that your child is hurt when others tease him about his biracial hair. Ask if she can incorporate some sensitivity training into her curriculum. For instance, she can talk about how we're all different. Different people have different eye color, facial features and hair texture. Differences are what make life interesting. Our differences make us uniquely beautiful and give us something special to offer to the world.
If your child expresses dislike of his biracial hair, ask him if he doesn't like it because other people have teased him. Talk about the benefits of having a beautiful head of curly hair. Tease out the things he likes about his hair. Reward him for taking care of it by teaching him methods of biracial hair care or buying him special biracial hair products If you are not a person of color yourself, then find a trusted person in the community who can model for your son how to be proud of and take care of his hair.
A biracial child is more at risk for issues related to identity. It is hard enough for a monoracial child to discover who she or he is in today's world and even more challenging for a child who struggles with two cultural identities. I recommend you read my book, Keepers of the Children In the book, I explain how I am raising my biracial children to embrace the fullness of their ethnic identity. Although it is not a book that is geared solely to raising biracial children, it illustrates how I combined the most resourceful aspects from two worlds to raise children who are strong in their identities and feel good about themselves.
About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children She lives with her Native American husband and two biracial children in the foothills of Northern Nevada.
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