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by Amber Bowie February 07, 2023
Raising children, regardless of race, is a complex and challenging task that requires love, patience, and a lot of hard work. Raising black children who love the skin they're in, regardless of what society says, is one of the most important goals I have as a mom of two beautiful, black babies!
Here's how I am raising my black children to be confident and proud:
Promote a positive sense of self: I encourage my girls to be proud of their identity and heritage, and help them develop a strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth. As a child, I struggled with my brown skin. It took me a long time to learn to love me, just as I am. I share my struggles with them, always highlighting how much I love and adore the skin I'm in. Leading by example! We love affirmations and have a running list we repeat daily.
We provide a safe and supportive environment by creating a home environment that is safe, supportive, and free from discrimination, racism, and negativity. Whatever they are interested in, we love to explore and learn more about. Whatever they want to talk about, we make time to talk.
Foster an appreciation of diversity: We teach our children to appreciate and respect differences in people, cultures, and perspectives. They love learning about other cultures and religions, and really respect that everyone is unique.
Talk about race and racism: We have open and honest conversations with our girls about race, racism, and discrimination, and help them understand these complex issues. When George Floyd was killed, my nine year old had so many questions. It was important for us to listen, allowing her to express her emotions. And even if she didn't understand why she was angry, and sad, and happy - all at the same time - I wanted her to know that it is okay to not understand every emotion she was feeling about racism.
Encourage education: We encourage our children to value education, and provide them with the resources they need to succeed in school and beyond. We're a homeschooling family who truly enjoys learning through adventure. We love visiting local museums and checking out exhibits.
Teach healthy coping skills: It was tough to help my kids develop healthy coping skills to deal with stress and adversity. I felt like, as a thirty year old, I was still figuring it all out myself. We all are learning how to process our emotions in ways that feel good to us yet respects others. Journaling and meditation are hits in our home. We also try to provide them with a supportive network of friends, family, and community members.
Lead by example: Your actions and attitudes have a powerful impact on your child's development. I try to lead by example, and demonstrate the values and behaviors I want to see in my girls. "Do as I say, not as I do" is a saying that lives in my head. I believe this has made me a better person too!
Remember, every child is unique and has their own set of needs, interests, and abilities. The most important thing you can do is love and support your child, and help them grow into the best version of themselves.
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by Amber Bowie September 16, 2023
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