Creating a bicultural family is not something that happens simply by having two dads of different nationalities. It is something that must be decided and created. Following basic advice this task can be much easier.
Since my son was born, many people have asked me if he is going to learn to speak Spanish. This question is understandable since I live in the United States and my husband is American, but being Mexican by birth, my answer is always flatly yes. Every time they ask me these questions they remind me and confirm a simple truth: when one is in circumstances similar to mine, having a bicultural family does not happen only because the two parents are of different nationalities, but it is deliberately forged. Unfortunately, many people think that simply by having parents from different countries, children will automatically be bicultural. This is not the case, simply because the child will always identify more with the predominant culture (country of residence) unless the other culture is exposed with at least the same level of time and importance. This is why one creates a bicultural family with effort and it does not happen by simple luck.
If we want our children to identify with the non-predominant culture, it is necessary that we organize, inform, and make the decision to create the environment that can provide this type of education about our roots. Doing this takes time and some resources, but it is a matter of time and a lot of patience, because it takes time to appreciate and love a culture that we do not live with all the time in our daily lives. These tips will help you get off on the right foot and build this kind of family little by little.
1. Decorate your home with both cultures
When we put objects from both nations on our walls and tables, we send the message to children that our identity as a family consists of two cultures. Doing so also helps children become familiar with the ideosyncracies and customs to which they are not exposed daily, and that over time they will appreciate it.
2. Listen to music from both countries
Listening to music is a fun and easy way to introduce another aspect of diversity to the home. This can also help fortify less spoken language, and feel connected to culture in a way that only a musical rhythm can do.
3. Speak in your mother tongue
Teaching the language we grew up with is a difficult task, but probably one of the most important in creating a bilingual family since it creates not only identification with the culture but also a feeling that we belong there.
4.Read both languages
When buying books try to have a balance of the two languages so that children have enough options to choose from and become familiar with writers, books and stories of the culture that we want to emphasize. This also helps us to have books that teach us the history of the other culture, knowing this creates a feeling of patriotism even if we are not living in the country that Mom or Dad came from.
5. Cook traditional dishes from your country
Through food we can introduce aromas and flavors of the two cultures. In this way children learn the difference, and appreciate the different flavors and textures.
Although this is not a complete list of all the things we can do, they are basic things that any family seeking to have a truly bicultural identity has to do. It is important to always remember that the little things we do on a daily basis will impact our children, but the idea is to be consistent and deliberately make the decision to be bicultural.