NurtureShock: New Thinking about ChildrenBy Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
[dropcap1]P[/dropcap1]arents who are looking for an answer about when to talk to their children about race may find it in NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. The answer, according to researchers, is sooner than you think. One researcher suggests parents start talking about race to children as young as 3. (Both of my girls began asking questions about race at age 3.) Studies suggest such talks should be explicit, not vague. Parents also should consider the terms they use when having conversations about race. For example, one parent told a child that “everyone is equal” for weeks. Then the child asked what does ‘equal’ mean. The authors also tackle the belief that children exposed to more diverse environments will learn about race. Studies cited in the book suggest children are more likely to segregate in diverse schools. Parents of mixed-race children and those who have adopted children of another race don’t have much of a choice. We have to talk about it. I, for one, am delighted the authors devoted a chapter to race. Pick up the book at your local bookstore, borrow it from your local library or download it onto your favorite electronic reader. Enjoy!
Have you talked with your children about race? How old were they? More importantly, how did it go?
It was a Friday night just before reading time when Nadia started to rap, for no reason, to no one in particular.
“I will not go to preschool.”
Okay, I thought, it was nighttime and no one was even suggesting the kid attend preschool.
“I … will not go … to preschool. I … will not go … to preschool.”
What is Nadia doing?
“I will not,” she said, crossing her arms, “go to preschool.” Stomp.
What is this about?
“I will,” she said, crossing her arms and then issuing two stomps, “not go,” one more stomp, “to preschool.”
I eyed my camera hanging on the door. If I get it, I convinced myself, she will stop.
“I,” stomp, stomp, stomp, “will,” crossed arms, “not go,” stomp, “to preschool.”
This went on for three minutes, with off beat arm crossings, stomps and occasional turns. Then she stopped and crawled into bed like nothing had happened.
I didn’t say a word about the preschool rap. What could I say? I didn’t even laugh. I mean, what was that? Was it a hissy fit, a throw down, a glimpse of her teen-age years? Who knows?
There has been a lot of chatter about birth plans in the blogosphere. Expectant mothers dream about the idealized birth. Trouble is, labor and delivery can’t be planned. I have friends who wanted a natural birth and had a C-section. Some shunned drugs and then took them.
I knew I didn’t want to have surgery for my children to enter the world. I was open to everything else, including an epidural. I was induced both times and labored for a few hours. Thank goodness, I got my wish and didn’t have to have a C-section. If I had, I hope I wouldn’t be disappointed. I had two healthy babies. In the end that’s all that matters.
In this week’s installment, we find out what happens when a mixed race couple has twins, learn about a new Facebook skin lightening application and hear how “One Man’s Journey to Change the World, One Child At A Time.”
They were the loving kind/ She was black and he was white/ In Virginia nineteen fifty-eight/ They found love amongst the hate — Nanci Griffith
A Honeysmoke reader told me about Nanci Griffith and her CD, The Loving Kind. The work was inspired by the Loving decision. In the video, Griffith discusses the CD and how she learned about Richard and Mildred Loving. Enjoy!
Simone and Nadia have attended the same preschool for more than two years. I am kid-in-the-candy-store excited for Simone to go to kindergarten, and I look forward to Nadia soaking up knowledge in a new classroom this fall. Still, I have had more than one person ask me how Nadia will adjust to being alone at preschool. Of course, I think she will be fine.
We’ve tried to ease the transition, asking Nadia where Simone will go to school in the fall and where she will go to school. She answers correctly every time. We have driven by the Big Kid School, and we talk about it all the time. When I purchased Simone’s clear backpack, I had Nadia with me. Nadia wanted one, and I explained Simone needed it for the Big Kid School. It helped a lot when I let Nadia carry her big sister’s backpack around the store.
We may take Nadia with us when we drop off Simone for her first day of school. I have not settled on this, but it would make sense as far as driving is concerned. Nadia could cling to her sister or hug and kiss her good-bye. I imagine the latter will give both of them a bit of closure. We’ll see.
For those of you who have been in this situation, what did you do to ease the transition?
These days Simone is all about words. Now that she can read them she wants to know their meanings. Fair enough, except when the definition must be accurate and simple enough for a 5-year-old. Sometimes I don’t feel very smart and have asked the closest adult for a little help.
I have had the pleasure to define: depends, relationship and soggy. I used an example about small cookies and large cookies to help explain depends. I’m still not sure I got that one, but Simone seemed satisfied. I noted I am Simone’s mother and she is my daughter to define relationship, and I said another word for soggy is soft. I bet I’m jinxing myself, but I haven’t had to define any words I find inappropriate.
How about you? Which words have you defined?