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The mismatched socks and the multicultural child

[ 0 ] 01/12/2018 |

Erik (5 years old) grows up in a home which is a little bit different than others in the small city of Norway that we’ve been living during the last 2 years. His mum (me) is a native speaker in a language that his dad (Roy) doesn’t speak. His dad is a native speaker in a language that his mum doesn’t speak and which she only recently started to decode. There is a third language at home, which is considered the ‘family’ language, and which is Erik’s 3rd language in terms of fluency. Dad grew up in Norway, mummy in Greece, Erik was born in Malta and Nelly, his younger sister (2 years) in Norway.

Now throw in the mix one-two more languages that Erik is exposed to during the winter months, a bunch of countries where he has lived in or visited, friends with their own cultures and languages. It might sound confusing but one thing is pretty clear. His worldview, the way he sees what is acceptable and what not, what one can or cannot do, is a bit different from his peers and his behaviour may challenge the norm.

It starts with the smallest things such as mismatching the socks. ‘Isn’t it fun to wear two different socks?’, ‘Why should we only wear a pair?’, ‘Spiderman and Superman cannot be matched?’. More often than not, his choices look similar to the one in the photo. He came home the other day telling me some kids were teasing him about his different socks and were laughing at the kindergarten. That it’s not OK to not wear matching socks. ‘Does it make you feel bad?’ I asked him. To which he replied ‘No, I don’t mind. I like wearing different socks’. End of story, a ‘man’ of few words.

His friends did not have bad intentions. They just genuinely found it funny. Kids, like grownups, learn how to figure out the world by categorising stuff and putting them into boxes. Starting with the small things, such as people wear matching socks; no asking whys. Isn’t it often the case that we take things for granted, that this is how they are supposed to be, simply because we grew up in a certain why? What if we had grown up learning that the right way is to mix and match our socks?

I am just happy the teasing didn’t bother him and that for now he keeps on doing his own thing. I am almost certain this will change, if not in the coming years then during the teenage years when he will need to blend in as much as he can, but it’s a promising character trait which I have high hopes it will resurface again and again later on his life when it will matter the most.

I wish you all a lovely weekend and thanks for reading.

Love, Liza.

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Category: Erik and me, Multicultural Kid

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