Multicultural children : their cultural identities as communicated by their parents : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Communication and Journalism at Massey University
Parents from different cultural backgrounds may often lack information on helping their multicultural children to develop healthy cultural identities. The views and strategies of twenty parents regarding the cultural identities communicated to their children are presented in this interview-based case-study in the greater Tokyo area of Japan. Seventeen respondents are non-Japanese with children to Japanese partners; two are non-Japanese with a non-Japanese partner with a different cultural background; and one is Japanese married to a non-Japanese partner. Six respondents chose to identify their children as Japanese; another six chose a Combined identity; and eight chose a Global identity. Six major factors in the development of a healthy cultural identity emerged: language, visits to parents' home countries, schooling and/or peer groups, religious and/or cultural activities, names, and physical appearance. Suggestions are made to parents of multicultural children to develop linguistic abilities, to facilitate immersion in target cultures, to develop awareness of relevant cultural activities, and to provide culturally-appropriate names. Parents are encouraged to combine different cultural aspects in different areas of their children's lives, to teach their children about their own cultures, and to remember that each child is unique. In addition, the iceberg metaphor of culture presented by Ting-Toomey and Chung (2005) has been adapted to illustrate multicultural identities. This study has confirmed the need for further qualitative and quantitative studies on the development of cultural identities in multicultural children.