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"Are those your kids?", asked by 8 year old, WWYD?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
So, we were at this little playground at an elementary school in my neighborhood this evening. As we were leaving a little boy came through riding his bike. He said a few things but my kids are a lot younger so he wasn't too interested. But as we left, he rode his bike in street along side us (we were on sidewalk w/double jog stroller) and the boy (white) said, "are those your kids?"
I said "yes". Then he said "oh, they're very tan." I said "mmm-hhmmm."
(I am white kids are bi-racial black/white and in fact are quite "tan" as it is summer)
Then the boy goes "Did you marry a brown husband?" and again I simply said yes.
I just was so shocked that this would come out of a young child. I don't know if he was just curious or his parents have been talking to him about different races etc? I asked how old he was after that. He is 8 years old. I don't think I would asked questions like that at 8! The neighborhood is fairly diverse and I also asked if he went to the school we were near and he said yes, and that is a diverse school.
I don't know if I should have asked him questions like "why do you ask" or "do you have a problem with it" or what? I was just taken aback. Then he asked what street we live on and seemed like he was about to follow us home until he saw his mother driving by!
Very weird. So, what would you all have done?
post #2 of 27
I think you did it just right! Poor kid is figuring out color combinations, and in his kid-way, just came right out and asked--I think it was beautiful. And I think you were right not to go into a long explanation, or to correct any of his terms. Well done momma.
post #3 of 27
: i think they try to figure out skin color as it is a visible difference and you handled it well. my dd still goes around and points out people saying, "they are brown like me." i think you handled it well and it was just a learning experience, which is cool because that is one more kid who knows families don't have one set look.
post #4 of 27

You handled it beautifully.

He asked a question and you gave the answer. My daughter is half asian and I am blonde. I get asked questions like these a lot and I just answer them without further explanation. Sometimes I want to be snarky but I refrain. I went to the vet and she asked me about my daughter: Is she full blooded chinese? I just said no and then she started talking about Chinese adoption.
post #5 of 27
I've answered questions just like this from children - thankfully not from adults (yet?). You did fine.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post
I think you did it just right! Poor kid is figuring out color combinations, and in his kid-way, just came right out and asked--I think it was beautiful. And I think you were right not to go into a long explanation, or to correct any of his terms. Well done momma.
I agree with this! I don't think (from your post) that he had any ill intent, and just because some adults may be UAV and their kids may pick it up from them, I'd hope that is a small percentage.

I think kids wonder about things, and he asked. I don't find any of what he said offensive, and your responses were just right.
post #7 of 27
I live in a very diverse neighborhood and this kind of question gets asked a lot, all over the place. We have a lot of multicutural families so it is often not easy to tell from looking who is related to whom and what each person's background might be. Those questions, especially coming from a child, seem quite natural and normal to me.

Now, I am biracial and I have had those kinds of questions asked in a completely different flavor. They can certainly be loaded questions and I can certainly tell when someone is trying to infer something with the asking, or when someone is hoping for a particular answer.
post #8 of 27
I agree with the pp's - you did great!
As a white mom with a dark brown baby (who did come to our family through adoption), I tend to get this question from kids at the playground... I had a very similar conversation with a little girl who was about 8yo when DS was around 1yo - "Is he yours?" yup! (smile!) "Did you adopt him?" yup, we met him when he was 1 day old! (smile!) "Cool.... my cousin was adopted."

I try to answer the specific question being asked and in my tone of voice present it as normal and positive. As I've said in the thread about adults asking, the very most important thing for me is for my DS to get the information that his family is good and valuable and legitimate. When a kid is doing the asking, the added priority is for that kid to get that same information about our family. Usually for kids, it's about making sense of something that they see as a little different from their experience and/or finding similarities with aspects of their family. The main thing is to stay positive and answer only the question that's asked. (The questions from kids can also take on a negative phrasing, but I try not to "hear" that and think about what's behind the question and correct the terminology as I answer... eg I have heard "Why didn't his real mom want him?" and "Weren't there any white babies?" I suppose you might hear questions about why you chose a brown man over a white man...)

You did great!
post #9 of 27
I think young children are often trying to sort out and organize their world. They learn to identify shapes, numbers, letters, colours, birds, fish, farm animals, jungle animals...It's the sort of stuff that fill baby books and games. It's not surprising that they also do it with people, especially because media (t.v., books etc.) doesn't often reflect diverse family groups.

I'm never offended by innocent questions or comments from children. I don't automatically assume that there is malice behind the child's thoughts. I think it's an opportunity for education - which you did nicely.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas for all the replies. Sometimes I get paranoid and think there is an ulterior motive, even when it's a kid. I'm glad you all think he was just being curious and I'm glad I answered his questions succinctly.
I saw him again today but we were in the car. He was on the corner of our street where we left him last evening. I wondered if he is looking for us? Maybe he is lonely? I sort of feel bad that he doesn't have a friend to ride his bike with!
post #11 of 27
i think you handled that wonderfully!!
post #12 of 27
I think you answered correctly; he's just a kid so his forwardness can be forgiven.

I'm in agreement with Lanamommymyphd, completely
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnybee View Post
So, we were at this little playground at an elementary school in my neighborhood this evening. As we were leaving a little boy came through riding his bike. He said a few things but my kids are a lot younger so he wasn't too interested. But as we left, he rode his bike in street along side us (we were on sidewalk w/double jog stroller) and the boy (white) said, "are those your kids?"
I said "yes". Then he said "oh, they're very tan." I said "mmm-hhmmm."
(I am white kids are bi-racial black/white and in fact are quite "tan" as it is summer)
Then the boy goes "Did you marry a brown husband?" and again I simply said yes.
I just was so shocked that this would come out of a young child. I don't know if he was just curious or his parents have been talking to him about different races etc? I asked how old he was after that. He is 8 years old. I don't think I would asked questions like that at 8! The neighborhood is fairly diverse and I also asked if he went to the school we were near and he said yes, and that is a diverse school.
I don't know if I should have asked him questions like "why do you ask" or "do you have a problem with it" or what? I was just taken aback. Then he asked what street we live on and seemed like he was about to follow us home until he saw his mother driving by!
Very weird. So, what would you all have done?
The way how you answered was great. No need to had ask the other questions you was thinking. He seems like he was just a curious boy and people are still fasinated wit bi-racial families. Children that age just ask what is on their mind...nothing to do with race but a 8 year old girl couldn't believe that DS was my son because I didn't look like a mommy. She said I didn't have enough 'meat' on me, in other words I am too skinny to be a mom.
post #14 of 27
Coming from a little kid, the questions seemed quite harmless to me. He might have asked the same questions if he saw a mother with brown hair and a child with red hair: "Did you marry a husband with red hair?" He is just trying to figure it out.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post
I think you did it just right! . . . I think it was beautiful. . . . Well done momma.
Yep, I concur!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex_millie View Post
She said I didn't have enough 'meat' on me, in other words I am too skinny to be a mom.
: That's awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabadger View Post
Coming from a little kid, the questions seemed quite harmless to me. He might have asked the same questions if he saw a mother with brown hair and a child with red hair: "Did you marry a husband with red hair?" He is just trying to figure it out.
:
post #16 of 27
The fact that he said "brown" means he's heard no racist comments, I think. It was 100% an observation of his own, not molded by negative views.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
The fact that he said "brown" means he's heard no racist comments, I think. It was 100% an observation of his own, not molded by negative views.
that:

I think you answered just fine.

IMO, that's not a shocking thing at all for child to ask. My children are biracial so it's not like their unfamiliar with the concept, and they still are curious about skin color and the different ways people look. There are no racists in their life, and as far as I know they've never heard a negative comment. Yet, every few weeks we have another round of "I'm brown, and you're not, right mama? Gebre's brown! Baba's dark brown like chocolate. Uncle James is really not brown at all that's because he came from Korea and he has eyes that are a little slanty too, etc..." Just this morning my three year old interrupted the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors to inform me that he (my child, not Joseph!) had brown skin.

Maybe I'm going about it wrong, but I don't discourage that kind of thing at all. I don't see noting differences in a neutral or positive way to be a bad thing at all. We see the differences as a beautiful variety. :
post #18 of 27
happened to us all the time at the play ground actually - even when we lived right outside boston. i think its harmless coming from a child - its our job as adults to educate them honestly without judgement, how else will they learn? i would never assume a comment coming from a child like that would be from a place of racism, even if their parent were, an 8 yr old could hardly grasp it fully.
post #19 of 27
I have talked to my kids about people coming in all different colors, just like dogs, cats and flowers.

DD(5) knows she is darker than mom, because she got it from dad. She has friends who are mixed, but I could imagine her asking the same question of a woman she didn't know. It's a child's way of making sense of the world. He made an oberservation, formed a hypothesis, and tested it!!

You handled it very well.
post #20 of 27
We get the same thing a lot. They look at me (or my husband, if she's with him) and want to know where the very blonde olive-skinned kid came from. Well, both our mothers are very blonde light-skinned women, and both our fathers have darker skin, so it's funny which genes she caught.


I don't worry about it if it's a kid asking. They just want to figure things out.
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