Readers — This essay made sense to me! It’s from Jona Jone (great name!) who was raised in Philly and is now living in the Philippines. – L
Why Two Cultures is better than One When Raising Your Kids to Become Independent
Giving your children the “best of both worlds” can really help them in becoming more independent. Having my children grow up in a bi-racial family (I am a sassy American who married a Filipino hunk) lets them engage in multicultural traditions and diverse environments:
• Living in basically two countries lets them engage in two sets of culture. It became easier for my children to relate to people of various backgrounds, even at an early age.
• Cultural differences affect our parenting techniques. For example, my husband wanted to teach our eldest to “experience the world” by introducing to her the benefits of playing outside with her cousins and other kids in the neighborhood, while I was more in favor of her staying inside reading books or watching informative shows. Both methods are valid, but they teach different kinds “world knowledge.”
• Back in the US, children have their own rooms, while I think it’s a custom for Filipino children to sleep on the bed with their parents. My husband won on this one. We let our children sleep-in until they were around 2 years old. It actually worked out for the best because it made us closer and sensitive to their needs. Of course, the time came when they had to learn to sleep on her own, which I have to admit, broke my heart a little but finally gave me space for actual sleeping.
• As opposed to American parenting, which tends to be stricter and upfront, Filipinos seem to have a warmer approach on things. Undeniably, I believe it is necessary to have a disciplinarian in the house for teaching accountability and responsibility. But what I’ve grown to like about Filipinos is that no matter how attached they may seem, they still allow their children to go out and explore the world on their own. That was why it was customary to let our children go on trips or excursions without us.
I think both Americans and Filipinos are capable of raising independent children, but we’re glad our kids have both perspectives. As opposed to being independent in an individualistic sense (as is common to American children), Filipinos surround their children with love and family support that enable them to become independent in a holistic view. In turn, they get empowered to go out on their own with confidence, knowing that there are people back home who believe in them. I have to admit, that may just well be the best parenting technique ever. – J.J.
Lenore here: I agree. It’s great to have a lot of experiences, but the one basic that helps ALL kids is having parents who believe in them and their abilities.