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

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#1 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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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.
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#3 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 02:25 AM
 
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: 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.

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#4 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 03:30 AM
 
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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.
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#5 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 03:42 AM
 
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I've answered questions just like this from children - thankfully not from adults (yet?). You did fine.

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#6 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 27 Old 08-20-2008, 11:14 AM
 
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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!
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#9 of 27 Old 08-21-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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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.
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#10 of 27 Old 08-21-2008, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#11 of 27 Old 08-21-2008, 07:26 AM
 
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i think you handled that wonderfully!!

Stacy: Mommy 2: S, N, F, and : edd 1/12/11 praying for : or maybe : if DH will come around!
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#12 of 27 Old 08-21-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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I think you answered correctly; he's just a kid so his forwardness can be forgiven.

I'm in agreement with Lanamommymyphd, completely
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#13 of 27 Old 08-26-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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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.
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#14 of 27 Old 08-26-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 27 Old 08-27-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post
I think you did it just right! . . . I think it was beautiful. . . . Well done momma.
Yep, I concur!

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

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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.
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#16 of 27 Old 08-28-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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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.

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#17 of 27 Old 08-29-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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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. :
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#18 of 27 Old 09-01-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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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.

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#19 of 27 Old 09-02-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 27 Old 09-02-2008, 06:34 PM
 
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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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#21 of 27 Old 09-03-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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i think it is so cute how the boy phrased his question. "a brown husband." in 2 aspects: like he is figuring out mixing paint so he knows abt white and brown, and also that you married a brown husband not a brown man. that is just to cute to me.


(i've also been asked by adults in round abt ways abt my dd and dh has only one granfather from turkey, my dd seems to be all eastern in her looks though, kids are another story though.)
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#22 of 27 Old 09-03-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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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.
he sounds like a nice boy just trying to figure out who goes with who. kwim?

My dad is married to a lady who is Zuni and Navajo and my brother and sister are about 18 years younger than me. so we took those two who were like 5 and 6 and my 2 very pale freckled blondies who were 3 and 5 and my nephew who is Hispanic but very dark curly haired and often asked if he is African American to walmart and I happened to be pregnant. These two old ladies behind us were dying of curiousity and one of them said to the other "oh the poor thing is pregnant again" when I turned around and she remarked that my sister looked just like her mama pointing to me and I said 'I'll be sure to tell her when I see her."

They were quite puzzled by that one.

I don't mind kids asking questions but prejudiced old ladies really get me going. why do they assume I have 3 different baby-daddies? And really don't I have enough issues shopping with 5 kids pregnant? wouldn't you love to just get your milk and diapers in peace? LOL

When dd was a baby and we lived on the reservation all the kids in town wanted to pat her bald lil head and know "what happened to all her hair did it fall out?" I just laughed and said she hadn't grown any yet. And they laughed too.
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#23 of 27 Old 09-07-2008, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When dd was a baby and we lived on the reservation all the kids in town wanted to pat her bald lil head and know "what happened to all her hair did it fall out?" I just laughed and said she hadn't grown any yet. And they laughed too.
That is so funny...and cute!
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#24 of 27 Old 09-07-2008, 01:28 AM
 
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I think it's great that you kept it short and sweet. It sounds like curiosity to me and although the neighbourhood may be diverse, perhaps the idea of mixed families is still something that a kid has to figure out?

I think you did great, sometimes in situations like these I think a short, sweet, positive approach is best.
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#25 of 27 Old 09-07-2008, 01:31 AM
 
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I don't mind kids asking questions but prejudiced old ladies really get me going. why do they assume I have 3 different baby-daddies? And really don't I have enough issues shopping with 5 kids pregnant? wouldn't you love to just get your milk and diapers in peace? LOL
I think people can be prejudiced against large families in general. My sis was out at a cafe with her 4 children and a group of people, probably on a lunch break from a local office, were making negative comments about her family size. My sister looked at them, pointed to her children, and said, "Which one of them would you like me to put back?" That shut them up!

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#26 of 27 Old 09-07-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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i think it is so cute how the boy phrased his question. "a brown husband." in 2 aspects: like he is figuring out mixing paint so he knows abt white and brown, and also that you married a brown husband not a brown man. that is just to cute to me.
I'm reminded of when I was a child. My very best friend and her sister and brother-their mom was black and their dad was white.

When I first met them, I must have been about 7 years old, and I was baffled. I didn't ask them questions though, I did plow into my mom for answers.

I don't ever remember it being anything racial, I was just pretty much astonished with the whole color mixing thing, they were lighter than their mother and darker than their father. And that quote above is exactly how my brain worked back then. I thought of paint mixing. In my mind, when you mix a darker color with a lighter color, you get something in betweenish, and this is where my mind frame was at that age. My thoughts were all about the colors mixing and absolutely nothing of racial stuff. If that makes any sense. At 7, I was remember being absolutely amazed that you could mix people colors. The possibility had never occurred to me until I met them. Hard to explain how my mind worked back then. Then I remember observing their hair. Their hair was looser curled than their mom's but curlier than their dad's. It was like I was perplexed and amazed at how they were perfect variations of "in between" between their mom's features and their dad's features.

Pretty soon, though, the middle girl and myself became best friends and it these things became the furthest things from my mind as we grew together and played together and became preteens and teens together, giggled about boys together, etc. I miss her so bad. :
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#27 of 27 Old 09-07-2008, 03:30 AM
 
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My just-turned-8yo dd has been trying to figure out the whole race/color of skin issue lately. I think she'd be too shy to ask a question of a stranger the way the boy in the park did, but she'd certainly ask me later. She's been asking me questions like: "Why is skin my color called white? It doesn't look very white to me, what color would you call it? Why are some people called black? There are lots of different colors of skin but it's more like lots of different colors of brown. Why? Why does A. have darker skin like her dad and not lighter skin like her mom?" Etc. Just trying to figure out how it all works.
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