(Closed) My child is disappointed by how I look

posted 7 years ago in Parenting
Post # 31
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864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

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midsummer:  Aww, I really feel for her. I am German and was raised by my (German) mum – she is white, blond, … My father is South African (black), and I am the “typical” mix. So I really didn’t look like my mother at all. I only met my father when I was 14, though, and naturally, the environment in Germany is pretty white πŸ˜‰ <br />I remember that once at the playground some kids were saying that I was adopted because I didn’t look like my mom at all. I was coming home in tears and my mom showed me pictures of her pregnant belly and so on to comfort me. That is the only instance I remember though that really gave me a hard time.

I live in Berlin, so we probably had more offers for let’s say “blacks in white countries” than in other “white” countries, but I’m sure they’ll have sth. where you live as well. We used to go to organisations that were somehow linked to Africa, African American culture, etc. I don’t think I really needed it though or got much out of it.

I actually really feel white and sometimes forget that to other people, I don’t look like I fit in. Sometimes, I think it’s a bit sad I don’t look like my mum at all (we don’t even really share any features), but it’s just the way it is and that’s not what matters.

I can’t really give you any advice other than saying: She’ll eventually get past the not looking alike, hopefully sooner than later. I think it may be a good opportunity to teach her that looks are not what matters – be it in terms of what’s “beautiful” or also what’s “normal” and talking about disabilities, etc. Not only making it about skin colors so she really gets the story of that it’s not about looks. She knows you love her so that’s what matters most anyways.

Wishing you good luck!

Post # 32
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1065 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

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midsummer:  I think this is very normal at her age to be confused about this sort of thing.

My younger half sister is 5 and very confused about me.  My dad is quite dark, he is caucasian but extremely tanned from living in the tropics for so many years.  My step-mum is islander and very dark.  My sister has beautiful milk chocolate skin and I am extremely pale.  She always asks me who my dad is, and who my mum is.  I have patiently explained we have the same daddy and different mum’s, but she’s still very confused.  She doesn’t understand why I look so different.  She also has a brother, my half brother, who looks very similar to her.  She asks me if we are related everytime I see her, and sometimes over the phone.  It does hurt a bit, but we are still very close, or as close as you can be living in different countries.   

I’m sure as she gets older, it will pass.  

Post # 33
Member
4673 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

This might just be a phase, but it is still important that you show her that just because a person is dark, it also means they are bad.  You should find opportunities for her to meet respectable people of different races and cultures.  

I also second adding multi-cultural children’s books to your home library.  And not ones that point out differences in races or cultures, but also books that represent different races.  John Ezera Keats? (He wrote the snowy day) is an African American author that has written a lot of books representing African American children, without making then seam different or bad.  

Post # 34
Member
1065 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

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auggiefrog:  I assume you mean it “doesn’t mean they are bad” 

haha.

Post # 35
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1222 posts
Bumble bee

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CraftyBelka:  +1 to everything you said. Everyone always says stereotypes are bad, and they can be damaging, but as young children, that’s how we learned about the world- it’s the same with any subject. First you learn the blanket basics, then all of the exceptions. I remember in math I was always taught that you could never find the square root of a negative number- I was in an advanced high school class before someone brought up the exception (the imaginary number i, which is the square root of -1). It’s kind of like that.

Your story also reminded me of another: my friend’s dad had a big, full beard when she was a baby, then one day decided to shave it. He literally sat her on the counter next to him and let her watch him shave it all off, but when he was done, she didn’t recognize him. She screamed and kicked and made such a fuss that her dad literally had to call her mom at work and get her to come home!

Post # 39
Member
408 posts
Helper bee

I think the homemade book idea sounds wonderful, but would it be possible to add some of your mom holding you as a baby and pregnant with you? It sounds like you grew up in a similar situation, not looking as much like your mom. If possible i think it would be really special to have all three generations shown. Then not only is there that maternal connection shown, bit also the fact you have been there as far as not looking like your own mom as much. Plus even going throuh family albums. My sister looks a bit like my gma young, things like that are really interesting to kids.

Post # 40
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3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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midsummer:  Wow. This is really interesting. I have a half-brother and half-sister and they have a Caucasian mother. I’ve never discussed their issues, if any, that they’ve had growing up but I do see a difference in my sister. She is lighter than me, of course since I have a Black mother (I choose to identify with Black). She has a very fair complexion and green eyes but she has coarser hair than my brother. She is really obsessed with her looks and used to try to put me down (she’s 6 years younger than me so it wasn’t that effective) because I chose to grow out my hair in its natural state as opposed to getting it chemically processed. I don’t have a great relationship with their father, my biological father (I have a stepfather who I refer to as my REAL dad) so I’m not sure why she’s like this. I don’t know if he told her that she was prettier because of her mixed heritage (I’ve heard of this happening before with other people) or if she developed these thoughts on her own in an effort to feel closer to her mom. I really don’t know. She’s now 26 and I can tell she still has self-esteem issues that come out through over-compensating. I try to tell her how much I love her and that there’s more to life than looking pretty.

I don’t know if any of that helps. But what I do know is you and your husband are doing the right thing. We are expecting our first child, a daughter, and I tell my husband time and time again that a father’s words mean EVERYTHING to a little girl. It may not seem like it at the time, but she’s listening and taking it in. So I applaud your husband for tell her how beautiful mommy is and for showing his approval of all of this in front of her. That’s so so important.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. I would suggest maybe teaching her the positive side of her Black heritage by reading books that celebrate it like “I am Mixed” by Garcelle Beauvais or “The Colors of the Rainbow” by Jennifer/Fabrega Moore-Mallinos.

Post # 43
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3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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midsummer:  Thank you! I am pretty sure she identifies with “mixed” or mixed culture. My brother definitely identifies with “Black”. They look very different. He gets mistaken for someone of spanish descent or mexican descent ALL THE TIME. It’s actually pretty funny. People will walk right up to him and start speaking spanish. He laughs it off and just says “I’m American. I’m Black.” He has a Black wife and doesn’t really focus on race.

 

Post # 45
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3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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midsummer:  Yes! OMG Something like this happened to my brother. Like someone actually got mad at him! Told him he was a disgrace for denying his culture!

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