How do i comfort my biracial daughter who is upset that no one in her family looks like her?

Kristi - posted on 10/04/2009 ( 39 moms have responded )

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my daughter is 9 and for the last year has gotten more and more curious about the part of her family that is not in her life. Her dad chose not to be in her life from the verry start. Her grandmother and Aunt fell out of touch around the age of 2 . tonight she was crying about the fact that she doesnt know them and that she is upset that she doesnt have any one in her family that shares her skin color i have tried to tell her that the reason i have not attempted to contact that part of her family is because i am trying to protect her from being hurt by them now i dont know if i am being selfish or if it really is in her best intrest to try to bring them back into her life. I am fully aware that i will never be able to teach her how or what it means to be a strong beautiful black woman. i am doing my best to teach her simply how to be a strong woman period so what do i do ????

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I have a different suggestion. This is coming from a woman who has lived through a similar situation as your daughter. Forgive me, it might ramble on.



For the record, I am not of Mixed race, but due to the color of my skin and the texture of my hair I am CONSTANTLY assumed to be.



As for the situation your daughter is in, you need only to remind her (daily if need be) that she is a beautiful child exactly as she is. Skin color is irrelevant. Remind her of all the things that make her wonderful. Her __________ (brains, wit, charm, strength, athleticness, etc) all mean so much more to the woman she will become than her outward appearance. Be confident that the woman you are is a shining example of what she should be.



At 9 years old, your daughter is old enough to know some truths about the situation as to why that family isnt around. In an age appropriate manner, of course. My father was there when I was five, but by my sixth birthday he was gone. My mother never ever bad mouthed him, but she never lied either. She answered my questions as completely as she could without being angry or bitter. As I grew and with the help of a few random visits from my father, I figured out the whole truth on my own and knew that I was better off without his influence. She let me make that choice.



I suggest that if some of the family is around and would not be a danger to her health or well being, perhaps reach out to them if it is possible. Let them know that your daughter would like to learn about that side of the family. Perhaps with time passed, an occasional meeting would satisfy her curiosity. If it's possible, it can give her a piece of herself that she might feel is missing or show her exactly what she has not been missing. Of course, these meetings should be supervised and in a neutral place (over dinner?). I guarantee you, no matter what happens or what is said ("I'll buy you this." "I'll bring you this", "I'll call you when", "I'll visit you then") she will quickly figure out what is the truth.



As her mother, there is not a thing in the world you can not give her... and that includes raising her to be a strong woman.





(PS: I have a nine year old myself... who is half black with golden hair as soft as cornsilk and eyes as blue-green as a clear Bahamian sea... and she will be the FIRST to let someone know that she is half Black/half White and proud of both, but they arent half as important as her Honor Roll grades and Softball trophies. It's all about what you teach them to be important, Mom. Outside influences are only as potent as the Inside influences allow them to be.)

Katherine - posted on 10/04/2009

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if so tell her God made her just the way she is because she is special and God didnt want it any other way he wanted her to stand out. i know what she is going through though i am half phillipino and half white and adopted at a very young age. i tan very easy and retain color. my adopted mom is really white. they said the samethin when i was her age and then as the years progressed exoplained it more and more to me. and as you can see in my picture I am a mother of a biracial 5 month old baby boy

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Janessa - posted on 09/04/2010

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Why are you going to teach her to be a strong black women? isn't she mix so that means you had nothing to do with having her who is actually raising her? I think maybe you should have her be around other mix kids as her self and black ones so she can have friends of color. Like i said why a strong black women? because you know many blacks like myself will not view her as black but as mixed and she might have a problem when she is older with black people who actually are black it happens allot more then people know and sinced she is being raised in mostly white family she might lean towards being white instead of black or mix you cannot put a tell her already she has to choice what she wants to be as.

Madeleine - posted on 09/04/2010

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Oh my, this is something I am wondering about! My daughter is still very young so I am preparing for this. He father is light skinned black and I am white. He has left us and says he plans to be in her life and to move back to our area but until he shows any consistency (he has left us twice) I hesitate. I already see the affect it is having on her, being surrounded only by her white family. She has started daycare and her teacher is the same skin tone as her father, yet Bella (my daughter) wants nothing to do with that teacher and only wants the white teacher to take care of her.

I completely understand your fears of letting that side of her family back into her life. I would hesitate myself, in fact I already have. He wanted to see her for 2 hours while he was in town, but I couldn't let that happen because who knows when he'd be back.

So I would do as many of this mothers suggest, try if you can to find other families, perhaps get her into sports or extra curricular activities where she may possibly meet other biracial children. Definitely impress upon her that she is so very special.

My mother bought me a few books on this "Is that your child?" and "Does anybody else look like me". I haven't finished them but so far they have some very good insights.

I do feel that you must protect her from being hurt by the other side of her family, that is paramount!!! You are on the right track, teaching her about being a strong woman!!

Capucine - posted on 11/07/2009

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you try to tell all u can about that side of family. then as someone else said u make friends with parents that have bi-racial children. but to make yourself feel better after you have had to watch your daughter cry sit down put what you are feeling to those that backed out of her life and mail them a letter and see what happens, i know we just recently did that and they were saying didnt know how to find us , our number had changed but my 15 and 9 yr old know the truth good luck need someone email me

Racheal - posted on 11/06/2009

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Your question is a good one. I wonder the same thing with my daughter, her dad has never been in her life and so far she's ok with it, but then, she's only six. It's funny, because I think she looks just like him, but people always tell me that she looks like me, just darker and with curly hair. I read some of the answers on here, they are really good. It's nice to have people who just care. Good luck with her daughter, and remember to always be as honest as you can be with her, as it sounds like you have been. And remember, there may be a time (maybe not at this young of an age) that she will need to contact the other family, to find out more of who she is and what her roots are.

Sheila - posted on 11/05/2009

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I agree with Caroln, When my son was younger I started a group for parent with bi-racial children in my area. In order to have support myself and to have my son see and have other friends that looked liked him. Plus I always let him that even though we do not have family around he was loved and I made my house where his friends were welcomed so he would not feel alone.

Carolyn - posted on 11/05/2009

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I went through something similar. My mom is Jamaican/Polish and my dad is Causasion American. All of sisters are darker skinned while I am "white" The kids used to always pick on me and make me feel like an outcast because I did not look like my sisters. Teachers even laughed at me when I would tell them I was half Jamaican. I used to wonder what it would be like if my mom were white like me, if I would feel any better.
Your daughter wants to belong. When I met "white" Jamaicans, I felt more understood and accepted. Have her meet other children who look like her and they will bond because they will understand each other. But no matter what, she will always come back to your love. I always went back to my mother's.

Sheila - posted on 11/03/2009

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Hi Kristi, I have a soon to be 21 year old son whom, I adore. I raised him alone and what I did for him to be a strong, healthy. positive black man was have books,pictures, movies and music that showed positive strong black men and woman. When he was younger I would colour in the pictures of people so he could see himself. Some good books I can reccommend are We're different We're the Same from Sesame Street, Success by Janet McDonnell, *An Enchanted Hair Tale by Alexis De Veaux * very good and The Black Snowman by Phil Mendez. I also took him to different events from black history events in the city and out, joined the association of the country his father is fun and went their different events. Disney will be having their first movie with an African American Princess out this Dec and it is called The Princess and the frog. If you want more names of book let me know I have over 300 books now collected and the majority of them are multicultral. God Bless

Charita - posted on 11/02/2009

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Kristi your posting is SO similar to mine it's almost scary!! My 5yr old daughter has yet to have asked about her Dads side of the family (a BLESSING beyond words!!) yet she attends a school where some mean ones call her white girl and shes starting to ask me why can't she look more like me and I always tell her to always be proud of whom she is and to remind ignorant ones that our President is also biracial just like her. It sadens me that here in 2009 in America that race continues to be an issue more so in the South than up North.

Amber - posted on 11/01/2009

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hi

i think that my response may be a little different....i am the biracial child that did not know her family.... my mom and other family always let me know how pretty i was, but that wasn't the problem...you can be as pretty as u wanna be that doesn't give u the sense that u belong.

my mother kept me from my fater most of my life for the same reasons that you have.....i am not looking to offend you, but my mother and i still go round about it (i'm 30) some of the choices that you make, you have to carry w/ you through your life. just because you have a new life doesn't mean the past is in the past.

possibly a solution could be to contact the family that at one time were around. let her reconnect w/ them and maybe she can see her family through them. i used to spend weekend/holidays/summers/etc at my grandmother's house and my mother stayed out of it. it gave me a chance to grow up w/ the other side of my family and also see my father w/o my mother having to deal w/ it. it worked for us but i have siblings that their mother didn't allow to come around and they are very bitter about it still.

it can also be a support to you...help w/ hair and color isues... or maybe they can answer some of those family questions that she has?

and yes my father was still a deadbeat and only occasionally stepped up to the plate...but i saw it w/ my own eyes and i did not really need him because i had my family.

as far as being a strong black women.... that seems a bit racial to me. i don't consider myself black or white. my sisters and i have this joke about that and we just call ourselves yellow. your daughter is beautiful! how about just help her to grow up to be a strong women whatever race she is?

about the school...that is very tough on her... is there any schools that she can attend that might be more racially mixed? children are cruel, but maybe in a mixed school they will be a little more understanding?

so many bi-racial children go through so much strife because it is understandably immpossible for a parent to really understand...it's just a shame really

Reagan - posted on 10/27/2009

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PS - my 2 youngest daughter's have something like 14 or so ethnicities from both parents, mostly Pacifc Islander from Dad's side. One of the girls tended to ask questions constantly about the color difference between us all. She & her father tanned a great deal from the sun, my youngest would get a golden tan, and I just burned... So since they were little, I always used "flavors" to describe the differences. She and her father were milk chocolate, my youngest french vanilla in the winter or caramel in the summer and I was white chocolate. It worked for a long time and when followed with some tummy nibbles and giggles, makes for some fond memories...

Reagan - posted on 10/27/2009

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Hi Kristi - It's a difficult position to be in. I knew my son's father was not worth spit, but I promised my son that if his father ever showed any interest in him I wouldn't stand in the way of them getting to know each other... At 12, the dufus finally showed some interest. I was fairly content with him not being in our lives, but my son was ecstatic. So I let him move in with his dad for awhile... My son is 26 now and has learned for himself that his father is a worthless piece of crud, but has since become close with the numerous brothers and sisters his father has made with other women, as well as his grandparents, aunts, uncles.... Knowing his family on his father's side has given him a stronger foundation, knowing where's he's come from and very strong bonds....



Sometimes it's not because of lack of interest that family lose touch. It's just time and distance marching on. It happens with close family members too... I've lost touch with one of my sisters for over 13 yrs now... Just can't find her...



Right or wrong, your daughter will have to learn things for herself and you won't always be there to protect her from everything. In this day and age, I'm surprised she hasn't started her own search via the 'net.



Hope this helps...



Aloha,

Rea

Rashida - posted on 10/26/2009

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Bi-racial children need to be around both races. When they are not there always seems to be something missing (in their own opinions). It's like a puzzle that they can't see the other half to, and they are only seeing the top half but not the bottom. So you may have to put forth extra effort but it's worth it in the end to surround her by black people as well as your loving family.

Carolee - posted on 10/19/2009

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Do you think she's old enough to choose for herself whether she wants to try to contact the other side of her family? That might be an option. Just make sure you supervise, but don't get into it. Be her rock, but let her see what that side is like. She is obviously extremely curious about it. This is something that I'm going to go through with my son, too. But, you can't protect them forever. If you don't do it now, she'll just try to do it later by herself... or worse, behind your back! I hope all turns out well.

Amanda - posted on 10/18/2009

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I would say it may be beneficial to get her involved in something like Big Brothers/Big Sisters so that maybe she can have a mentor who's a strong beautiful black woman. Maybe get her involved in some kind of extra curricular activities where there are other brown skinned people. IDK, gymnastics or youth cheerleading, an afterschool program? I'm not sure what's in your area.

As far as the other part of her family, if they're not bad people then it may be beneficial for her to have contact with them. . . .but if they're drug addicts, alcoholics, sex offenders etc then it obviously isn't in her best interest. As her mom, you know what's best. Dont let your pride get in the way.

KELLY - posted on 10/15/2009

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I have a 7 year old daughter who is half black/half white. I'm white. From a very young age I pointed out to her that all families were "different". Not every family looks the same (I give her many examples), or has an "Oma" (our name for grandmother), or an "Auntie Dana" (my sister), or a "christa and Raena" (my best friend and her 8 year old daugher) etc etc you get where I'm going. It's just the two of us, her dad backed out very early. But I strive to set the example on a regular basis that she needs to look at the positive of the good things she has, and not dwell on the differences on what she doesn't. Just my two cents.

Aubree - posted on 10/12/2009

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I know exactly how your daughter feels. I'm the only bi-racial person on either sides of my family and now the only one in my husbands family besides our daughter. I can be very hard especially at that age, she's getting wiser and seeing that she's different. I think you're doing the right think, you know how her fathers family is and if you think that they might hurt her then don't put her through that. Like you said she just needs to know that she is a beautiful bi-racial girl, she's both Caucasian and African American and that's wonderful.It makes her unique and I know at that age you want to be exactly like every other girl. I'm sorry to say it but this is going to be a hard time in her life but if you keep telling her and letting her know that she is beautiful, smart, wonderful and just as amazing as everyone else around her she'll believe it and be it. When I was younger my mom would always tell me to educate people about myself so I wouldn't be questioned all the time, I know you tell her that she isn't some half breed or mixed ( I hate that term it seems so degrading) that she is bi-racial and there is nothing wrong with her and that doesn't make her bad just different but everyone is different in some way. She needs to let other people know this because when she says it, then that's they way she'll feel about herself.

She's really just at that age but if you keep up with what you're doing she'll come to realize that she's just fine the way she is and everyone is different from one another even if it doesn't seem like it on the outside.

Tami - posted on 10/10/2009

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As silly as this may sound my grandkid's are as well I have a 9 yr old grandbaby beautiful as can be she to is wondeing but there''s one thing that i did that was not for any reason I tann and I tanned so much that one day she held her arm up to mine and said Nana you look like me and I told her yes , Yes I do ! and slowly she's has been better and better with it as well this is NO kind of answer that your looking for but you will be surprised little thing's that make BIG difference I hope all work's out well for you and your family .

Linda - posted on 10/09/2009

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I am a little different than the others. I had two boys. One fair with dark blonde wavy hair. One with dark straight hair. The younger one was found to be deaf. He couldn't understand why he was different. I finally had had a time when I expalined to he That God made him just the way he was, and he chose to put him in our family. I didn't know why BUT i did trust God that He knew what He was doing. I always try to explain the best I can but admit, above all, I know I can trust God to make the right decisions.

Deaf son married a deaf black woman.They have three hearing children. I live in the same city. So I now find my self needing to help the oldest to accept not only her deaf parents, but also her biracial ethnisity.(probably spelled that wrong) It is done with a lot of repitionand encouragement. She has a father with good self confidence and a mother with very little.

It is okay to make mistakes.How we handle things is what our kids need to see. So they can have positive experience that nurtures there growth.

Sonia - posted on 10/09/2009

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My daughter's father is in and out of her life so I told her when she asked why she looks like her hather and not me that her father is black and I ma white and we ade a beautiful brown. Although I am fully aware that his family probably will not be around for much longer as they bounce in and out of her life. I have many friends who have biracial children. This way she can be around other children who look like her. I have done this since she was young so it wasn't abnormal to her.

Karrie - posted on 10/09/2009

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All of the women here have very good ideas. I have a biracial child as well, but she is only 2 and has not really noticed she looks a little different than mommy. She is fairly light though, compared to alot of biracial children I have seen. I hope you found some of these ideas helpful. I know it is hard to deal with, 9 year olds seem to want answers NOW and want to belong and be around people that they have things in common with. As long as you teach her that she is different for a reason and she is special no matter what, everything else will fall into place. There are so many resources these days. Maybe you can search online for a playgroup in your area that includes biracial children? Is your town really small? I'm sure there have GOT to be other women with biracial children in it, it's just finding them. I would post something and maybe try to get a playgroup started in your area. If you need anything-just to talk etc..feel free to email me at ivy2855@gmail.com =) Good luck!

Tracy - posted on 10/08/2009

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You are not wrong in wanting to protect your daughter. But, I would contact that side of her family yourself and see what they say before you tell your daughter you're trying. You can get tons of books about biracial children...even get ones that are african-american culture based. You might look into some type of class...my daughter did african dance. Maybe find a female african american teacher or counselor she can bond with.

Nikki - posted on 10/07/2009

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let her know that she is the same as everybody else but she just has a better tan also show her other families that are in the same situation. i was raised with a white mom and didn't come in contact with other biracial or black kids till i was in middle school. Let her know that she is not the only one and everything will be okay. her heart is the same as everybody elses!!!

Michele - posted on 10/07/2009

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Hi Kristi!

I have 2 biracial children and it is a challenge at times. We live in a county that is 98% white. They are always considered different here. I always tell them that different is special and racism is ignorance. They say that they are not white or black, they are beautiful bronze. LOL

As far as the other family goes, I would contact them without letting her know that I did. I would send them a letter with a picture of her and let them know that she is asking about them. That way, you have done your part and made it known to them that she is curious. If they respond, great. Maybe that will turn into a positive relationship for her. If no response, you have all of the information you need to explain it to her.

It is important first to teach her to be a responsible strong woman, which I am sure that you are doing. Make sure that you are educating her on black history and the strong black role models as well. I think that it is important whether you are black or white. You may not be able to teach her how to be a strong beautiful black woman, but you can teach her how to be a strong beautiful woman who sees no color. Take care!!

Tania - posted on 10/07/2009

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Aww. My heart cires for her. She is a special beautiful little girl. I have bi racial children also. 5 are by my ex husband who is Italian & South American. 3 are his complexion and 2 are mine. But they all have the same dad. I've learned that ppl have a harder time figuring that out. But I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, bi racial are very beautiful children. They may seem different if ignorant ppl want to go by skin color, but they are all beautiful, innocent children. My children haven't seen their dad in 6 yrs. They are fine with that because they hate him anyway (long story) but it is upsetting to them that they don't know much about their culture. His mom & grandma passed 8 & 11 yrs ago, who the kids were very close to. They were very involved with the kids and was teaching them Spanish and about their culture. But they passed when the children were very young. One never got to meet them. Anyways, my best advise to teach yourself what you can. Internet, libraries, movies, documenatries. Anything u can find. Keep her proud of who she is and not to dislike herself. 5 yrs ago I moved from a primarily blk neighborhood into a mix of hispanic and blk. The kids are learning more and not feeling like misfits. I explained to my kids that regardless of their color, they all have the same blood running through their veins. It has become a usual family thing in my house now cracking jokes and calling names. From peanut butter, brownie, milk chocolate, to Casper, Transparent, & yellow. Since it's become a fun think @ home, they don't get as upset when others comment or our ignorant racist family memebers have negative comments. My 15 yr old ( who's as pale as a ghost) says "Black is Beautiful". Of course her friends response is "What r u talking about!? You're not black!" She replies, " I am, I'm such a strong black female that you can't see it"! How cute is that. lol. When they see me, then they understand. Good luck and best wishes to you. I know you love ur baby, just make sure she loves herself.

[deleted account]

As far as being a strong Black woman, you can study and teach her about Black/African American culture. There isnt anything in a book that you cant learn so you can teach her. Teaching her strength in character, the morals you want to impart to her and confidence will create a strong healthy Black woman.



I know what you were getting at, trust me. I have a very good neighbor and friend who is single and raising bi-racial son. He is 15 and the color of Denzel Washington and she is a beautiful red haired, green eyed, German-Irish woman. She has not faultered in daily reminding him that though he will be viewed by society as a Black man, he is a) half white so respect and appreciate it... b) respect and appreciate the heritage that your father gave you... and c) most importantly - to respect himself and have confidence in himself while striving to be the man he wants to be. Right now, he is an A student, one of three Sophomores on Varsity level football at his high school, he has a ton of friends. He is hard working, charismatic, and an all around self aware typical teenage boy. He had everything good in him set to become a strong Black man imparted to him by his 36 year old white mother.



By teaching her to be a strong WOMAN, you will be teaching her to be a strong Black woman. Trust me, they are truly one in the same and only separate entities if you make them.



Good luck and God Bless!

Kristi - posted on 10/06/2009

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christa thank you i really appreciate ur advise she has asked daily if i would please contact her fathers family. Of course my worry was not allowing them to hurt her in any way. my husband is verry concerned because he also doesnt want her dad to all of a sudden pop back into her life (especally for the wrong reasons) she has complained about kids at school teasing her that she has to be adopted and sh has several mixed friends but all of them have a sibling or a father or some form of family in there life that they are able to relate to so that becomes frusterating for us. and as far as the comment about her being a strong proud black woman , i meant it as i am never going to be able to teach her that heratage and what it means to be a black ( mixed ) woman and all the things of that nature i do realize that i will simply teach her all the other things that you mentioned . We do discouss the fact that god made her and loves her just as she is and she knows how beautiful she is including the color of her skin but i think it boils down to feeling left out for some reason , a reason i dont understand because in our family its all about her and her sister ok well thank you so much i have been leaning toward just calling and attempting to see if his family would be intrested in knowing her again and i like the idea of doing it with out her knowing until its necessary :)

Kaitlyn - posted on 10/06/2009

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You shouldn't feel that you have to teach your daughter to be a "strong BLACK woman" because she is a strong woman like you said. I am a mixed woman(black,white, cherokee) and my mother taught me to be proud of all my races and taught me that I am neither black, white, or cherokee. I am just me and I need to be a proud MIXED woman. If your daughter is curious about why she has no one in her family that looks like her, try switching it from a race issue to something else, for example if she asks why she is different tell her that God made her special for a reason and that she was so beautiful that he couldn't make anyone else like her. It could help things along until she is a little older and can understand about race and more grown up issues about her family.

Samantha - posted on 10/05/2009

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Check out your local library or school's library for books about being different, or even books about different kinds of families to help with the absent father. Do you have any pictures you can share? I thought my son looked exactly like his dad (who is black), until I found pictures of me at about the same age. We have a lot of the same expressions and facial features. If you can show her she does look like you or her dad's side of the family, it might help. It also sounds like she might just want to belong to something. Does she do any sports, music, art, or group activities? Just an idea... Hang in there, it sounds like you're doing a great job. Just asking for help and trying to understand her is more than some would consider. Take care...

Iysha - posted on 10/05/2009

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Tell her the truth... there are people that are all different colors all over the world, even ones in the same family. That doesn't make her more or less different than anybody else. I can send you a picture of my family as proof... we are all Mexican and our colors range from white with freckles to super dark. I am not as light as my mom, as dark as my dad or even the same color as any of my cousins. We really are all different colors!

L - posted on 10/04/2009

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You tell her she is special and sometimes things that seem different, are not. Everyone's blood is the same color, everyone's heart beats the same beats, and that people who are a part of her that have chosen not to be with her at this time will miss out on her special personality and the milestones she achieves as she gets older, at least until they realize their mistake. But in no way that it is ever her fault and she needs to remember that it is THEIR loss, not hers, she has all the love and support to be whatever she chooses.

Kristi - posted on 10/04/2009

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thank you i will definately do that. i probably have mentioned something similar to that some time in the past but i will make sure that she remembers that now that she is older :) pleaes let me know if you have any other thoughts

Kristi - posted on 10/04/2009

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problem is that there is a verry limited number of biracial familys where we live we do have some all black familys right in our neighborhood but that makes her feel worse because they look like eachother

Katherine - posted on 10/04/2009

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Make friends with pqrents that have children that are biracial like your daughter so she can connect with them. this way he has someone to confide in and ou dont have to involve his side of the family

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