worried for mixed daughter(4 Posts)
I have a mixed race daughter (half jamacian half white) she is 4 and due to start school soon which is why I'm starting to worry. I live in a part of the U.K. which is predominantly white, there are hardly any black/mixed people here. When I was in school (7 years ago) there was only two black people in a school of 500.
My daughter has met her father when she was a baby, but he was more interested in meeting me and using her as an excuse. When I told him I wasn't interested in him he stopped seeing her and told me he didn't want a child so that would be it and I haven't heard from him since and I think he's moved back to jamacia.
I've been with her amazing step dad since she was 1 and we are now married, we have two sons, her step dad is white. He treats her as his own and she calls him dad. Although the she calls him dad and thinks of him as daddy, she knows he is not her real dad as she has previously asked why she looks different and we have told her she does have a different dad but that doesn't mean her step dad doesn't love her like her brothers.
I feel that she doesn't love herself because of the way she looks. She has lots of cousins a similar age and she is always telling me how she wishes she has blonde hair or long hair. I always tell her she is beautiful and how lots of girls would kill to have curly hair and her tan but it just goes straight past her. I've also had comments from others about her. For example my childminder said to me in the past "she's got quite a small nose for a half cast person, usually they're quite big" and I've had her brothers ask why she is black. I've also had a "friend" make a comment, asking me if I am embarrassed to walk around with a mixed daughter and my white husband and white sons all together.
I am just concerned she is going to grow up with this all around her and grow to hate herself and wish she was something that she's not. I feel it's harder for her because she has no one to identify too. If she had her father, it might be different as she could say "I'm black because my dad is" and she might accept it more and be proud. I'm just so concerned for her future and school, don't know how I can make it better apart from moving to London or somewhere which is a bit drastic
Sorry I can't offer any advice as a mum, but as a teacher, I have experienced this with a family in my class recently, with the 5yo beginning to ask questions about their family, their looks and struggle with their identity, (being the only mixed race child in the family and in the school). It sounds like you're dealing with it brilliantly already and your DD is surrounded by loving family. With my teacher hat on, I think its important to be very open, perhaps as your DD is asking questions now may be the time to talk about where her jamaican dad comes from, where the country is, what its like etc. to give her a sense of her identity. How lucky she is that she has two dads! There are lots of lovely picture books available such as Billy and Belle by Sarah Garland, Lucy's Rabbit, My two Grandads by Floella Benjamin, Wait and See and Through my Window by Tony Bradman and Eileen Browne about mixed race families that you may not have come across.
I would definitely talk to the teacher in September about your concerns. It made me look at the school through fresh eyes, ensuring our approach, resources, class rooms etc were wholly multi racial and it was helpful to know that this was a sensitive issue for the child concerned. Working together with the school, you will be able to help DD with her self confidence and feel proud of who she is. Hope this helps
I hope you don't still have the same childminder!
I can't believe some of the comments you have had from others and I am sad that your DD is already feeling self conscious! I am a teacher in a very mixed school. My class is pretty much half and half in terms of white British and non white British so it's not an issue I have currently although I have worked it all white schools too.
I would be doing my very best to encourage your DD to be proud of her heritage (even if her dad does sound like a bit of a waste of space). I wouldn't be making a big deal of it or encouraging the school to make a big deal of it. It's nothing even noteworthy. Your DD has a mum and a
step dad who love her. She doesn't have a learning need that needs addressing or will affect the other children. Maybe tell the school that she is feeling sensitive about it so they know to keep an eye on her behaviour and self esteem, but apart from that, we should be encouraging children that we all look slightly different but that's great!
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