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13 Tips for Helping Adopted Children Learn About Their Culture

Parenting an adopted child who is a different race or ethnicity is a challenge many parents didn't expect. Your child is trying to fit in with your family and - at the same time - develop a different racial or cultural identity. As a parent, you will want to help your child take part in his or her culture. These tips can help:

  • Study and learn about your child's culture. Find ways to make it a part of your life and your daily routine. If you know about your child's culture, you'll be better prepared to answer questions and provide opportunities for your child.
  • Commit to providing cultural experiences for your child and your family so everyone learns to embrace the culture. Think about how you can provide opportunities for your child when you choose where to live, what to do as a family and where your child goes to school.
  • Talk openly about race and culture. If you need help, choose one of the many books that are available for interracial families or children adopted internationally.
  • Help your child establish relationships with adults who look like them and share their culture. These friends can become natural mentors for your child as he or she matures.
  • Help your child put together a scrapbook, photo album or video about his or her country or a special cultural celebration.
  • Find toys, books, and games that are part of your child's culture. Display art from your child's culture.
  • Make food that reflects your child's culture. Let your child help pick out recipes and prepare meals.
  • Seek out exhibitions at museums that celebrate your child's culture.
  • Find a support group for families who have adopted transracially.
  • Celebrate holidays that are significant in your child's culture.
  • Take advantage of teachable moments, like watching a special show on television on your child's culture. Celebrate accomplishments by others who share your child's race or culture.
  • Acknowledge your child's differences, while working to instill a sense of belonging in your family.
  • Even if your child seems uninterested in the culture, keep up the routine. Your child will learn that you respect and cherish his or her cultural background.


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