Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Parenting, Asians, and Dentistry


There's a great article at Rice Daddies about what it means to raise a child 'authentically' asian. The seed for discussion is the topic of overseas asian kids being adopted here in the US. A thoughtful conversation has emerged in the comments, including POVs from some asian-american adoptees.

I've had the weird guilty feeling before that adopted asian kids would know their 'culture' better than my third generation chinese kids. Here in Silicon Valley (as elsewhere I'm sure), you get lots of uber-parents who will go to the hilt to celebrate the cultures of their adopted kids. You also have very vibrant and authentic immigrant cultures (SF, Cupertino, etc etc) to tap into.

Compare that to me and my wife, typical 2nd generation assimilationists. In many ways I identify more with adoptive white parents than first generation asian parents. I've even browsed asian-adoption websites to look for resources for providing my kids some 'culture' -afraid that what I had to offer was more Californian than Chinese.

Blogger Poppa Large summarizes nicely:

"I think the point people have been trying to make here is that you can't substitute a sense of self and community simply by inundating your children (biological, adopted or otherwise) with sets of "authentic cultural experiences". It comes down to how healthy is one's sense of self in a racially diverse (and at times, divisive) society such as America's."
Speaking of asian parenting resources: My son's baby teeth are starting to loosen, and/but his permanent teeth are already peeking out from behind them. It occured to me just ten minutes ago to wonder: Is this normal? Does he need to get those baby teeth pulled?

I tried the ADA website, but they keep telling me "The ADA cannot provide diagnosis or treatment advice." Well what good are you then? Google finally leads me to the Hong Kong Department of Health Oral Education Unit, where I find an answer. Whew. Thank you, dentists of Hong Kong.

photo: not my kid, but instead what you get when you search for 'asian teeth' on flickr.

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