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Mixed race twins told by other children that they must have different parents!

(11 Posts)
spokette Thu 27-Aug-09 08:29:49

I have 5yo DTS. DT1 has brown skin, brown hair and brown eyes. DT2 has white skin, fair hair and blue eyes. I am black with dark skin and brown eyes and DH is white with fair hair and blue eyes.

DTS recently attended a summer club and they were the only ethnic children there, all the others were white. A number of the children would not accept that they were siblings because of their colouring and insisted that they had to have different parents. The boys were adament that I was their mother and that they had the same father.

When they came home, they shared with us what had happened and it was clear that they were fustrated that the other children did not believe. DTS had not told the other children that they were in fact twins so I can imagine that that would have drawn derisionhmm.

DH and I explained to the boys that people come in different colours, shapes and sizes and it is wonderful to have such diversity because the world would be a boring place otherwise. They attend a lovely school which has about 10% of the children of African, Caribbean, Indian, Japanese and Chinese heritage so they are exposed to differences.

DH is very concerned and wants the boys to start learning a martial art because he believes that this issue will become more insidious as they get older. I would like them to learn a martial art too (I did kung fu when I was younger).

I know that there are probably very few people who have to deal with such a predicament but would appreciate advice of how to deal with this in future, especially as they get older.

Hulababy Thu 27-Aug-09 08:36:35

I have no experience of the predicament, sorry.

But, sorry you boys had a tough time. It is a shame the club leaders didn't step in and talk to all the children at the time. Could have had it all dealt with there and then, and be better for all.

I guess just talking to your boys and ensuring they have an answer for questions if the way forward at present.

Chances are the young children who are querying it are not doing so bcause they want to upset or offend your boys. They will be curious themselves and are still learning about this type of stuff.

Not sure about the martial arts thing. Depends why you want them to learn and how it is related to dealing with comments by others.

MrsMattie Thu 27-Aug-09 08:44:46

No experience myself, but I do know teenage sisters a year apart in age (mixed race, same parents) who look completely different. They seem to be fine with it now, although I know they got a lot of comments growing up and still get the odd comment now - more expressions of surprise that they're sisters than anything else.

To be honest, I would remain calm and upbeat about it and hope that they take their lead from you. Yes, it must be frustrating / annoying at times, but I do think in the long run that sticking to your line about people coming in all sorts of colours, shapes and sizes etc and treating it all very matter-of-fact is your best bet. No point working it into a huge issue for them unecessarily.

Me / my 4 yr old son get asked now and then by strangers (usually children) if we are really mummy and son, as I am a pale white person and my son is mixed race. We live in a multicultural area of London, too, so I always find it a really strange question. But hey ho.

Nighbynight Thu 27-Aug-09 08:46:08

dd1 has had a fair amount of this, from well-meaning, but thoughtless classmates as well.
She takes after her father (mediterranean), and her aunt, but looks nothing like me (english).
Her dear little friends told her that she must be adopted, and when she said she wasn't, they kindly pointed out that it must have been when she was a baby so she wouldn't remember!!

There's not a lot you can do about it really, apart from repeating the truth ad nauseam. Martial arts are good things to know generally, but I would beware of letting the children know that you're teaching them self-defence cos you expect them to be attacked.

spokette Thu 27-Aug-09 08:47:06

I want them to learn martial arts because it is great for learning about discipline and self-control as well as becoming fit.

DH on the other hand wants them to learn it to be able to defend themselves should the need ever arise.

If they do learn martial arts, I would want them to focus on the positives of the sport and view the self-defence aspect as a benefit, not the primary reason for learning it.

MrsMattie Thu 27-Aug-09 08:49:14

Martial arts are great, but I wouldn't be inclined to teach a mixed race child how to defend his/her self any more than I would any other child. I wouldn't want to give them the idea that they need to defend themselves more than any other child. However, I live in a mixed area of London. Maybe if I lived in a BNP stronghold I would feel differently!

ChopsTheDuck Thu 27-Aug-09 09:00:55

I think a good martial arts club would focus on the postive aspects rather than the self defence side of it. I'd have a good look around.

I agree, it is a shame the adults didnt step in and help the boys explain.

I'm having issues with mine atm. They both look Indian, and think of themselves as Indian. I need to work a bit more at getting them to recognised the white bit from me!

MummyDragon Thu 27-Aug-09 14:00:07

Just a quick question. Were all the kids at this summer camp 5 years old? Because that is pretty young to understand how siblings could look as though they come from different ethnic backgrounds!

And why does your DH want to teach a 5-year-old how to defend himself physically from something that someone is saying?

Seriously, I'm sorry but I think you are reading waaaay too much into this, unless there is more information that you haven't included in your post. Kids are kids. They notice when people look "different" from others - this is quite normal. When they are old enough, they will understand why your twins don't look alike. Let it go for now.

If, however, I've misunderstood and the other children were much older, I'm sorry for misunderstanding. Teenagers are old enough to understand these things, and not to make comments that a 5-year-old might find upsetting.

spokette Thu 27-Aug-09 18:19:11

The age of the children ranged from 4 to 11yo. According to the boys it was the older children who were commenting.

The twins were upset and disconcerted so we are not reading waaaay too much into it.hmm

DH wants the DTS to learn to defend themselves from physical violence, not from what someone is saying. My DB was attacked by 4 skinheads when he was 13yo. He had been learning Karate for 3 years. He floored three of them and the fourth one ran off. On that basis, I'm glad my DB knew how to defend himself because he probably would not be here today.

Nighbynight Fri 28-Aug-09 09:08:31

spokette,dont get me wrong - I completely agree that its good to know karate, for exactly this reason - my children are learning it.
My parents brought us up with the expectation that we would be attacked at school, and this actually fuelled the attacks I think, because from day 1, we regarded the other children as potential attackers. But my parents just thought they were teaching us how to defend ourselves in case of attack (The issue was not race, it was class).

Nighbynight Fri 28-Aug-09 09:10:07

the children who told dd that she was adopted were about 11-12 btw. I think they were just being naive, they didnt realise that people can look different from their parents.

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