I am a mom. A mom in an intercultural family! A mom with a partner and 5 children + a big dog. A family where we speak 3 languages between us, but Not a single person of us can speak all the languages. That is my family, even though not all the children are biologically mine, but mentally they are mine and will always be. I also have a big dog now. It is funny how love has “given” me all these bonuses, because I never wanted many kids, and I am terrified of dogs. Anyway I am in love with my partner and I also got to a point where I appreciate my bonus dog. I see myself as the luckiest ever, to have all my kids. How I was brought up, it is normal to get none, one or two children. Not five!
I have always been able to listen, show empathy and communicate verbally and/or nonverbally with everybody, so I thought this would be easy. That was about 3 years ago. When the family I am in now, was made by my partner and I, falling in love and now living together.
My kids are 5, 7, 14,16 and 22. The 22-year-old does not live at home anymore. The 4 youngsters living with us part-time, are a great way for me and my partner to smile and laugh, but also to get painfully frustrated and angry. Actually we got so frustrated a couple of times that we were so so close to splitting up.
I have read that good communication is the key to success and successful relationships, but I find it very challenging.
What I find very hard is for example, when I, in my very best Finnish (which is close to very bad) and a lot of support body language, try to talk with the 2 teenage girls. They then roll their eyes and maybe smile pitifully at me. I would love to know what is going on in their heads, at that particular moment. Many times I do not manage to talk to them with them replying anything to my poor attempt of communication in their mother tongue. Probably not because they do not want to talk or do not care. Most probably it is because we are different and at that very moment we might not have the energy to be understanding or the upbringing saying that understanding and communication is important.
This always results in me later fighting with my partner.
Thankfully he is very good at calming me and seems to be very understanding and patient, when I am NOT.
To avoid all these misunderstandings and unwanted feelings I have realized that I need to learn to communicate better in the teenager’s mother tongue. But that is not so easy. I have travelled a lot and “speak” many different languages. But here in Finland I do not know where to practice Finnish. It seems like everybody speaks English and/or Swedish. And I often feel that I am learning, and then if I do not practice what I just learned, I am forgetting. I then feel like it is a waste of time, energy, and money to learn Finnish. But now when I am writing this, I know deep in myself, that being better at Finnish, probably would help to get rid of many hurt feelings and not knowing what to do and say.
I thought my communication- and understanding skills were great, but I guess there is always room to get better. It does not have to cost much or anything and can only make the situation in my beautiful “love and hate” intercultural blended family better.
Hyvää kansainvälinen perheiden päivää!
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Ajatuksia ja kokemuksia elämästä kahden kulttuurin keskellä.
Reflections and experiences from the life of intercultural families.
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