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Identity is an issue for every mixed race kid

1 in 4 U.S. residents speaks a language other than English at home; 33% of all children living in the U.S. live in multi-lingual households. Carrie and Chris speak Mandarin, French, German, and Italian. Their son, Daniel, uses English, French and Mandarin.

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33% of all children living in the U.S. live in multi-lingual households
“When Daniel was young, his bathroom language was French. That’s because when Daddy gave him a bath, he would speak to him in French. French was my husband’s first language, so we exposed Daniel to that from a very young age. But back then when I was with Daniel in his room, we’d speak Mandarin. It was funny that every time he was in the bathroom, he’d speak only French!

We wanted Daniel to be multi-lingual for sure. I’m from Singapore where we mostly spoke English and my husband is European. His mom was Swiss/German and his dad was Italian/French. We met in Beijing where we were both working.

I think Daniel’s a typical American kid – a California boy. A lot of his friends are bi-racial. He’s not unique at all, but I’ve always intentionally engaged him in conversation about his identity.

When he was younger – 3rd and 4th grade – I noticed he didn’t understand the difference.  Middle school is usually the time when they notice and it’s good to engage them.

Now in high school they’re still discovering themselves. It’s more about differentiating from parents — wanting more free time to hang out with friends instead of doing stuff with us.

Honestly, I don’t think he thinks about it much at this point, but I think identity is an ongoing issue for every mixed-race kid.”

– Carrie and Chris in California