Create a Tailored Multicultural Parenting Plan

Co-parenting is complicated enough, but when you add the dimension of a multicultural family, the complexity increases further. Even if both parties want their child to honor the other parent’s culture, misunderstandings are likely — and in some cases, the will isn’t even there. Still, creating a tailored multicultural parenting plan is possible.

Regardless of whether you’re feeling frustrated at your ex-partner’s lack of cultural sensitivity or you’re wondering if you’re doing enough on your part, here are a few methods and rules to follow.

Seek to Understand First

Many communication issues arise simply because people are too quick to point the finger or assume bad intentions. The next time you perceive someone’s actions as aggressive or wrong, seek to ask questions instead.

It might just turn out that they have different values and traditions to you, which stem from their culture — for example, they might be lecturing you about your house being dirty because cleanliness is extremely important to them, not because they’re a judgmental person.

Then, account for these nuances when creating your parenting plans.

Have Clear Rules

You might be thinking that rules are the source of your problems rather than the solution and that creating more would simply make everything worse. But in reality, it’s often the unspoken rules that cause conflict — everyone assumes the other party is on the same page as them, and frustration arises when it becomes clear that this isn’t the case.

Get everyone involved in parenting to lay their non-negotiables on the table, such as when they want to spend time with the child(ren), influences the child should have, and rules to stick to.

If both parties agree on this, great. But if it turns out that some of the non-negotiables are in direct opposition to each other, it might be time to bring on another pair of hands.

Try Mediation

As they say, it takes two to tango. No matter how hard you feel you’re trying, you won’t get anywhere without reciprocation. And that’s where mediation comes in.

A mediator is a trained professional who works with two parties involved in a conflict and leads a confidential process designed to help them reach a resolution. The purpose of this isn’t to deduce who is right and who is wrong, but to establish a mutually beneficial agreement that everyone can stick to.

Work With a Mediator Who Gets It

Between trying to co-parent and navigate cultural differences, you might start to feel like there’s nobody who really gets it or understands what you’re going through. But if you work with a mediator used to helping multicultural families, you’ll soon see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

One professional who meets all the above criteria is Donita King. Not only is she a qualified lawyer-mediator, but she also has direct experience working with multicultural families and co-parenting situations. If you’d like to know more about her services and what she can offer, contact her law offices today.

Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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