Are my children 100% British?
It was my hope that as my children grew older, they would gradually become more ‘American’ in the sense that they would understand where I come from and how I grew up (through talking and learning) and therefore feel proud to be part American and also feel an affinity, if only in a small way, to Americans and American culture.
Sadly for me, this is not really the case. My two oldest are ages 11 and a half and 9 and a half and despite our weekly American history lessons and the fact that I am very open about being American and we often talk about life in America, they see it as being a foreign place and don’t really feel American in the way I had hoped. Perhaps they are still too young? Perhaps they do feel it more than I think but do not communicate this with me?
They understand the logistics of it all – they are half American because I am and their father is British. The way they talk about it is from a British perspective. They often make fun of my accent and mimick me. My son does this in a derisive way and my daughter less so (thank goodness), and they talk about Americans in the way that British people do. I suppose they get this from their friends mostly. For example, all Americans are fat and loud and America is a crazy place with guns and insane people. (This makes me laugh!) But seriously, this is not what I want to instill in them. Perhaps I am trying too hard? But if I don’t try enough, then they won’t have the opportunity to understand and learn about a country and a culture that is so much a part of them.
My son said to me the other day, “Mum, did you know that America is the most powerful country in the world?” Hmmm. Sometimes I think they forget I am actually American. Everything they see is from a British perspecitve.
I devote a chapter to this in Bringing Up Brits. It is something I struggle with and can only hope that when they are adults, all my hard work will have paid off and they will be open and accepting of American culture and also feel proud to be half American.