While expatriates in China represent only a small percentage of the population, multicultural families are becoming increasingly common. If you are a part of a multicultural family, or it might be one day, the following reflections may offer some commonalities and insight. The following guide is drawn from my personal experience of raising a multicultural family in China, as well as those of my friends

Source :. Guillaume de Germain culture and communication with partner

I'm not a family counselor or marriage. Just I am an expatriate living in China with a Chinese partner and our joint child. But I have a tip for those with a similar path.

First, you will need to develop and maintain an understanding of, and ability to overcome cultural differences with your spouse or partner. In my experience, this was easy and obvious at the beginning, but has become more complicated in recent years. I had to learn when to insist on my point of view and when to accept that, being in China, some things will have to be done in a certain way.

It is also worth to consider how to talk to your partner about social and political issues. Living in a foreign country, especially if you stay for a while, it broadens their perspectives. One of the gifts of the trip is to learn to see his homeland and vision of the world in a new and different perspective.

Never was this more evident than in the conversations with my wife. While we do not agree on all social and political issues, we can both say that we understand the point of view of the other. One of the cornerstones of a lasting marriage is communication. The challenge is learning to communicate with an open mind and a willingness to have their perceptions altered by a member of a very different background.

Another thing to consider is how to balance the need for the Western partner of Western culture recognizable in everyday family life, while at the same time embracing Chinese culture. For us, commitment moved to a larger, more international city. It was that simple. Smaller cities, while fine if you intend a traditional experience, China-specific, it can really make you feel like you're cut off from Western culture, food, ideas and perceptions.

Other solutions include making time for return visits to the country of origin of the foreign partner, or planning a family holiday in a completely different place. And do not forget the holidays, even if they are held (or even understand!) In China. Already in December to put a Christmas tree and had a small family party. And although I had to work on Christmas Day, having a nice meal and exchange some gifts of the night felt a little more like home. The joys and trials of raising

One of the biggest decisions any Couple makes is whether and when to have children. Life in China with a Chinese partner complicates this. Our son was born in the US and he spent his early years there, while friends of mine expatriates have raised their children exclusively in China. The biggest difference seems to be the cost. Having a child in the US It is enormously expensive, while in China is much more affordable.

An important decision you will make is the one that will hold your child's passport. I have several friends who have had children in China and successfully applied for a US passport. You will need to decide which option is best for your family and your plans for the future.

I dare say that the main challenge, or opportunity, is to find a balance between types of Chinese and Western parents. academic expectations for children in China are often quite strict, with time for hobbies and free games downplayed in favor of academic rigor. So how should a couple raising a balance between education of Western and Chinese style?

Both my wife and I are teachers. I teach at an international school that values ​​learning Western methods, while my wife has taught especially in traditional Chinese gardens of childhood and primary schools. our child's progress in school is a daily topic of conversation among us and we realized that trust and commitment are key.

Of course, we both want the best for our son, but we have very different ideas of what it is. I think it should be more free, imaginative time, while my wife wants to fill your schedule with classes and extra activities. I hope that somewhere in the middle is the best course.

A big advantage of forming a multicultural family is that regardless of educational philosophy decide to take, your child will most likely be fluent in Chinese and the mother tongue of the foreign partner. No matter what your child receives formal education, this will be a great advantage, wherever you live. hands on grandparents

In China, compared with Western families, grandparents are typically much more involved in the lives of their grandchildren. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with her in-laws, or a lot of time coming up with excuses not!

One thing I was not aware of was that grandparents in China often named after their grandchildren. At least they are involved in the process. This I found strange coming from the US, where families are more fragmented. The good thing about the Chinese way is that grandparents are often connected with family history so you can suggest a name that has a special meaning. There is also the possibility that they come up with something well-intentioned, but lame and dated. My wife's grandfather had a name in mind for her, but luckily for her, her parents nixed in favor of something less likely to be mocked.

It is also typical in China, especially if both parents are working, for grandparents to live with the family. This, of course, has its advantages and disadvantages. If this is your situation or not, however, you can expect your child Chinese grandparents to take an active role in their education. Should you stay or go?

At some point multicultural families will have to decide whether to stay in China or return to the country of origin of the foreign partner. This is, of course, personal to each family, but there are certain things to keep in mind during the decision-making process.

My family has both left China and, years later, he returned. The key to making both decisions was our old friend "communication" again. During all the time that we live in the US, the understanding was that it would move back to China when it was the right time for us to do. In the same way, when we stop China, first, that it was something we had been discussing an out for more than a year. Sharing is good

There are a growing number of multicultural families in China, even in small cities, so you never forget that there is no shortage of people in the same boat if you need advice or just a sympathetic ear . Marriage and parenting are, hard work harder still in a multicultural family in a foreign country.

I'm not the only foreigner with a Chinese woman and children mixed in my workplace. There is a constant topic of conversation, but when you get up, it's an opportunity for understanding, insight and humor. In the multicultural raise a family in China, seek out others who can share their triumphs, trials and tribulations.

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