Raising mixed kids is so much more than hair care. Learn what else you should be doing to holistically support your biracial child.
If you’re a white parent, learning how to care for biracial hair is something totally new to you.
One of the first things I researched when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, was biracial hair care.
I knew there could be a wide variety of how my baby’s hair turned out, but I also knew Black and biracial hair care was something I knew nothing about and I wanted to be as prepared as possible.
I’ve talked with many others who also said one of the first things they think about when they find out they are pregnant with a mixed race child, is hair care.
It’s easy to see why, because unless you have experience with natural hair, it’s something different on your child that see every day, and that you’ll have to learn how to care for pretty early on.
However, while hair care is an important piece, raising a mixed child is more than that.
This is something I didn’t realize until my child got a little older and I started to realize the weird or off-putting comments and questions I would get about my daughter were actually microaggressions.
While I wasn’t naïve about some of the issues my child could face, I also wasn’t prepared for the more insidious comments that came from not only strangers, but friends and family too.
The comments about her hair:
“You’re lucky, she’s going to have good hair.”
“Wow her hair must be so much work/so hard to do”
“Her hair must take you FOREVER!”
“Her dad must do her hair” (Insinuating I didn’t know how because I’m white).
The comments about her appearance:
“She’s gorgeous, mixed kids are the most beautiful kids”
“She’ll probably look like Rihanna/Mariah Carey” (or insert some other generalized idea of what a mixed girl should look like)
“Is she your daughter?” (Relates to appearance because she has darker skin than me).
And the list goes on.
If it hasn’t already happened, there will come a time when microaggressions, discrimination, and racism are thrown at your child and your family.
You’ll need to learn how to navigate those difficult situations that you’ve never had to think about before let alone deal with.
It’s coming to the uncomfortable realization that friends and family aren’t always allies and making decisions on if they can be educated, or if they need to cut out of your child’s life because those comments can be harmful to your child’s mental health.
You’ll need to come to terms with the fact that your child’s life is going to be different than yours.
This can be a difficult concept because when you see them, you just see your beautiful baby. But how society views them is often that they are less than because they are a person of color.
As a parent to your biracial child, it’s your responsibility to nurture their whole selves and not just what can be seen on the outside.
Supporting your child’s whole self will provide them with confidence, positive self-esteem, and the armor they need to unconditionally love who they are despite living in a racially divided world.
Again, hair care is an important piece to raising a biracial child who is confident in their unique identity, but it’s just that.
Uplifting your child is going to stretch you and it’ll likely be uncomfortable because you’ll need to unlearn a lot of the thoughts and behaviors you were taught growing up. Not just from your own family but from school, the media, and society.
It can cause rifts between you and your friends or family who aren’t willing to shift their views and behaviors.
However, that discomfort is going to help you transform into a more empathetic person and parent, and most importantly an ally for your child and other people of color.
Becoming a parent is the most important job you’ll ever have because you’re shaping a whole human who will have an effect on this world.
Becoming a parent to a mixed race child is even more powerful because you’re transforming yourself along with elevating your child so they have a solid chance in a world that isn’t built for them to succeed.
Use your power!