Moving countries changes your world perspective. And it changes the way you parent. It has an impact on your children. And I believe it’s a positive one.
My three boys are Dutch through and through. Their dual nationality is predominantly on paper. They were born in the Netherlands, speak Dutch fluently, go to a Dutch school and act typically like other Dutch children (as in they eat sweet pancakes for dinner, have no concept that English language swearing is offensive to those of us with British or American-raised ears, beg regularly for hagelslag and enjoy a relatively homework-free existence).
However, there are differences. Their mother is British by origin and that in turn influences their upbringing.
We are raising them to be bilingual. They have visited England far more than their classmates and friends; Cornwall is a second home to them. They eat beans on toast. Branston pickle is a staple sandwich ingredient. They read Harry Potter in English. They know that Britain and England are not the same thing. They support ADO Den Haag but also Watford FC. They lovingly call their grandad’s team ‘Scum United’ (you may know the team as Manchester United) and they like watching rugby. They understand that the best nature programs involve David Attenborough’s voice doing the commentary.
Because of the little things I pass on to them, their world view is broadened. They see beyond our doorstep, and know that the world is a big place, filled with diverse cultures, people and issues. They have views on refugees. They have views on Donald Trump. They have strong views on the environment. They have views on Brexit.
I believe that diversity is a keyword when it comes to raising our children. It is our children’s generation who will determine how tolerant and open our society is in the future.
“Their mother is a migrant. My children are lucky enough to be raised bilingually, to be coated in a colorful mingling of cultures. They know what diversity is. They see the value of ‘different’ from close quarters. I hope as parents we have given them the foundation to never translate ‘different’ as ‘wrong’.”
Our children will be the ones to determine how accepting society is of ‘different’ in the years to come. And its plainly obvious to me that my children’s generation needs to do better than the generations that have come before them.
To read my latest article on this topic visit Mamalode: Raising Children to See the World Beyond Our Doorstep.