Ask AF: Cultural Connections

It's important for your child to have friends of his or her culture. But it can feel pretty awkward when parents are the ones who must reach out.

Q: I’m thrilled that there are several families of my five-year-old daughter’s heritage at her school. I hope we can get to know some of them, but should I actively push my daughter towards friendships with these kids? How can I reach out without being awkward?


A: Becoming a true “multicultural” family means that parents who are members of the dominant culture must learn to step out of their comfort zone. In this instance, I recommend that you actively engage the families by offering play dates or asking them to dinner, with the goal of reaching out for yourself, not just for your child. Your opening line can be as simple as, “Hi, I am _______’s mom, and our kids are in the same class. We would love to set up a playdate, and I’d enjoy your company for coffee or tea while the kids play.”

I wouldn’t advise bringing up culture in your first interaction, but, once you’ve opened a dialogue, be up-front about your commitment to your family’s multicultural identity. You might want to share general information about adoption (different cultures have different perceptions of adoption), and be enthusiastic about welcoming the new relationship.

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