Cultural differences in parenting

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2007
Cultural differences in parenting
16
Mon, 01-16-2012 - 12:56pm

Just curious to hear from some of you moms, especially those who may come from a different cultural background than your DH:

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Mon, 01-16-2012 - 6:01pm
Our cultural differences arent all that significant between DH and I. The main thing I guess is all of our children will be dual citizens.

As for the bilingualism, DH is Francophone (fully bilingual) and I'm Anglophone. We speak to Maxim in our languages, though we frequently switch back and forth. I speak the little bit of French I do know (short phrases usually) and DH always speaks English to me so Maxim hears that too. We have Maxim enrolled in a French daycare where everything is in French and all of our kids will be enrolled in French schools (not English schools with a French immersion program) throughout their education. DH's family also speaks mostly French with Maxim as they are fully bilingual and my family does the English piece. I find he gets plenty of exposure to both languages.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Tue, 01-17-2012 - 11:38pm
Great question, Ruthie!

My DH and I not only have cultural but also religious differences. I was born and raised in the US from a Catholic mixed cultural background and my DH was born here but raised in Turkey and is Muslim but aside from not eating pork, he doesn't really practice.

I am definitely more the disciplinarian when it comes to Selin. My DH gives her whatever she wants especially when it comes to food/drink so we argue about that a lot, not really serious, but it does irritate me. My DH and everyone in his family are totally lax about car seat safety and I think that's definitely a cultural thing because car seats didn't become mandatory in Turkey until a year or so ago. I've really had to fight with him to keep Selin rear facing this long and to ensure she was properly secured when we were traveling in Turkey last summer.

As for language, my DH started out speaking mostly Turkish to her when she was an infant but lately he has really slacked and is speaking mostly English. I speak only English with her with the exception of a few things we use Turkish words for. I don't expect Selin to be bilingual but we would both like her to at least understand Turkish since we travel to Turkey nearly every year. We are fortunate that there is a big Turkish population in our city so Selin will most likely go to Turkish school on the weekends when she is older.

My dad's native tongue is French and he says he tried to teach it to me when I was three years old but I said it sounded funny so he dropped it. I later took it in HS but don't really have many opportunities to practice ( my parents divorced when I was young and my dad now lives out of the country) so I really wish he would've tried harder to teach me.

I know there is a multicultural board on here, might be worth posting your question there as well. I posted a question there awhile back.

GL!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Wed, 01-18-2012 - 5:17pm
Since becoming parents, have you found that your cultural differences brought about any disagreements between you & DH on how to care for, teach, or discipline your child? Not yet but I do think these will come when Teddy hits 13/14/15. As DH thinks Teddy should be allowed to have a lot more freedom then I am comfortable with- going on trips by himself with friends when he is 14 for example. I'm hoping that we will be able to find nice compromises that we both feel comfortable with when the time comes. So far we have been on the same page for pretty much everything which has been really nice.

Also, if you are raising a bilingual child, what approach do you take? I speak 95% English although I do speak German when we are in certain German environments- picking him up from German daycare, at German baby gym, but for the most part I try to pick solely English. DH tries to speak only German although he does speak some English with him as well.
Are you & DH both fluent in each language? Yep but I think this makes it harder as we can both speak in the other language if we want and often do without too much thought. If I only could speak English then of course that is all I would speak with Teddy, or if DH could only speak German then Teddy would of course hear more German from him but we try to remember to speak our native tongue around Teddy as much as possible. I also try to take him to English playgroups and activities so that he hears other people speaking English as well.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2007
Wed, 01-18-2012 - 9:40pm

Thanks ladies for your input!

Christine, I feel like I may be in the same boat as you as I think my DH has a more lax attitude toward discipline.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Wed, 01-18-2012 - 10:51pm
Ash - What language do you and DH speak to one another when Teddy is not in the room?

Ruthie - I have the same issue with my ILs! Our nephew who is 15 mos old now does not have nearly as good hand to mouth coordination as Selin did at his age because his parents and my MIL insist on feeding everything to him. It drives me nuts! My MIL tries to feed Selin as well sometimes when we're at her house and I have to remind her that she's almost two and does a very good job of feeding herself. GL coming to a compromise on that one! ;-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Thu, 01-19-2012 - 3:28am
Ruth- I think a great compromise would be letting DH feed the baby that way and you feeding the baby however you feel comfortable. I agree that in American and most Western societies being able to eat independently at a young age is really encouraged and I have to say that Teddy won't even let us feed him 99% of the time so your DH may just naturally see that the other way is OK too :)

When the three of you are together you can still do a mix- DH can speak to the baby in Bangla and you in English. Of course not repeating what he said in English (no fun to be a translator) but you will be talking about simple basic things in the beginning anyway and you will probably be able to guess what he is saying. Later on he might speak more English but for the baby's language development I think it really is good to get as much of both languages input as possible in the first few years. Does DH have any family near by? - that is also a great source to get language input and some of his culture as well:)

Christine: We speak a mix. Around friends and family German, at home about 50/50 depending on if we just watched an English show, are talking about work, etc.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2007
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 10:04pm

Ash-

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Wed, 01-25-2012 - 3:15am

Ruthie- I think the thing with in-laws depends a lot on how much they respect you. For example I totally don't mind if my in-laws do things really differently with Teddy as long as they never scream/yell at him or try to spank or hit him or something like that. So far that has never been close to an issue and I know that they love him and treat him wonderfully. I also know that Teddy is a strong willed little person so for stuff like the feeding thing for you, my in-laws could try and feed Teddy by hand but the chances are incredibly high that Teddy would clamp his mouth shut and refuse to take one bite until they let him feed himself. Now if I thought my in-laws wouldn't respect him in that way and would keep forcing it that would be a problem. Same thing if they tried to critique my parenting but since so far they haven't done either of these things I am happy to let them do their own thing. Honestly if you have to limit visits a bit or always be there in the begining until your in-laws "get it" I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I also think it is super important that your DH is on the same page as you and you can both present a united front to the in-laws in case issues arise.

I also think your wet wipes suggestion is perfect and I don't understand why your DH doesn't consider it practical. We have a small container of wet wipes in all of our bathrooms, and carry travel packs with us in my purse- much easier then lugging a spray bottle around LOL. Maybe once your DH sees how easy your method is he will come around. Plus it is much easier to clean a squirmy little toddler with a wet wipe!

I think it is awesome that you are thinking about potential issues now and trying to come up with good compromises :)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Wed, 01-25-2012 - 8:37am

Ruth, I second what Ash said about everything being fine as long as they respect you. You are the mom, and your in laws will have to respect the boundaries you set. It happens in every family, you don't need to have a totally different culture to bump into conflict... I had a few "hiccups" with my in laws about Fede, but since my MIL is a very nice (and balanced) person, she totally got my hints, and we are handling things pretty well so far.

The car seats issue is one example of that. Although we have the laws, most people here don't consider it necessary unless you are driving at high speed. It's been a struggle with every one older than 45... even DH is kind of lax about it sometimes...As far as the cleanlines issue... Sorry, but that made me LOL!!!!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2009
Fri, 01-27-2012 - 8:14pm

So interesting to hear everyone's experiences! I hadn't really thought about how my/DH's cultural differences will show up in parenting (DH from eastern Africa)

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