Joel Crohn, Ph.D., Challenges for Children of Mixed Matches – Emotional Pro

November 8th, 2005

More and more "mixing" is occurring in marriage in these days of globalization and high mobility. Our guest, Joel Crohn, Ph.D., author of "Mixed Matches: How to Create Successful Interracial, Interethnic, and Interfaith Relationships," (Fawcett, 1995) has written the first popular book to explore the problems and possibilities of intimate intercultural relationships. He is co-author of the new book, "Fighting for Your Jewish Marriage." We explore the issues of "mixed marriages" (whether religious, racial or cultural) on children of those marriages, and how we can work together to build a more nourishing global community.

Segment 1: The Global "Quiet Revolution" of Mixed Matches

Millions of people are now crossing religious, cultural and racial lines as they find and share love, creating "Mixed Matches." The world is still not ready for the children of these matches, however, facing them with issues of identity, prejudice, isolation and sometimes, conflict. Guest Joel Crohn, Ph.D. talks about "equal status contact," how our children push us to "bring up all our stuff" and face issues couples in Mixed Matches might otherwise try to avoid, and the importance of staying conscious.

Segment 2: Belonging, Bridging and the "150 Percent Person"
How does today's world treat children of "Mixed Matches" emotionally? Dr. Crohn addresses the extra struggles to "belong" when children are part of more than one cultural/religious/racial group. Parents commit as many "sins of omission" as "sins of commission" in dealing with their children's concerns. What you can do to help children in your family or neighborhood as they search for identity and face their own particular personal reality. Communicate about what is going on, he advises, to help children sort through the things they face.

Segment 3: Leaning Towards Truth Rather Than Harmony

What do you want people to remember, host Ilene Dillon asks Dr. Joel Crohn. "When in doubt, lean towards truth rather than harmony," he advises. Don't be afraid to talk about what is going on, face your children with the unique aspects of their lives, with extended family. Travel, entertain exchange students, get into athletics. And don't forget to ask questions, even the "difficult ones," as part of helping a racially/culturally/religiously mixed child explore his or her unique identity and find a place in the world. Dr. Crohn is wonderfully compassionate, warm, full of humor and knowledgeable, with great perspective on this still-sensitive issue!

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