By Rina Shah, The Arpan Group
For first generation South Asian parents, raising children to be aware of their heritage can be daunting. The very task of raising confident, engaged, and academically inclined children is hard enough. Adding cultural understanding just complicates the situation, leaving us wondering if we have any clue as to how to be the best parent possible.
Looking back on our own experiences, our parents had their own challenges. Maintaining an understanding of heritage, while trying to assimilate. While some in the first generation of South Asian Americans grew up without a cultural support system, many others lived with or near grandparents, who shared stories and a general value system. Summers spent in India with extended family was a common occurrence. Though we may not be able to spend summers in India with our own kids, we still want them to understand their background.
Quite a few South Asian Americans (and Canadians!) recognize the need for more resources that are geared towards families balancing cultures. Though this resource list is by no means exhaustive, it is a start for anyone new to parenthood or just looking for answers to all those parenting “how-to” questions.
Blogs and online magazines are an easy way to stay informed. With so many new (and established) South Asian parents from the community sharing experiences, it is not difficult to find answers to questions. Check out these online resources for tips on celebrating religious and cultural holidays in the West, parenting, motherhood, best ethnic clothing vendors, and more.
South Asian Parent
Indian Moms Connect
Runways and Rattles
Books on Parenting
Though many of these do not address cultural needs directly, the concepts apply to all. Being a parent is a great responsibility, and these books offer some guidance on how to form your parenting style.
The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Out of Control by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr. Thomas Gordon
The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey
The Dolphin Way by Dr. Shimi Kang
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Farber
What to Expect series by Heidi Murkoff and Elaine Mazlish
Books about Indian Culture
While there are many books about Indian culture available, many do not offer children living outside of India a tangible connection. This list focuses on the younger reader with notable titles they are sure to love.
Amar Chitra Kathas (no list would be complete without these!)
Finders Keepers? A True Story in India by Robert Arnett
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes
Little Yash and Krishna series by Nishita Chaitanya
Hanuman and the Orange Sun by Amy McDonald Maranville
The Road to Mumbai by Ruth Jeyaveeran
Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami
About the Author
Rina Shah is the CEO and founder of The Arpan Group, a boutique ad agency and public relations firm that specializes in capturing untouched ethnic markets. From press releases and media kits to marketing materials and by-line articles, The Arpan Group customizes solutions based on the client’s needs. For more information, visit www.thearpangroup.com or call (703) 651-6670.
Article appeared in Desh-Videsh January 2015.