Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The exponential increase in interracial marriage has brought with it a group of biracial children who do not fit neatly into the current racial classification system. The purpose of this study was to understand the perception and the strategies parents take to negotiate identity with their children. Moreover, the desire is to also understand how they came to such perceptions, what those perceptions are, and how they may or may not affect what they do with their children.

This study involved 10 interracial couples that are parents of biracial children who are half African American and half European American. All children were over the age of nine years old. Subsequently, the parents were subjected to semi-structured, taped interviews.

There were three major findings in this study. First, parents were found to have traits that predisposed them to happy marriages and healthy relationships with their biracial children. Parents of biracial children were found to be open minded to race and culture. Further, the respondents reported having parents who were very supportive in both the interracial marriage and childrearing process. Second, parents of biracial children do not perceive their children in a mono-racial marine" Instead most parents see their children in a non/biracial point of view. Finally, the parents studied were engaged in purposeful and deliberate actions in an attempt to negotiate a healthy identity with their children. Strategies parents used included open dialogue, introduction of racial/cultural artifacts (i.e. books, dolls, movies, music) and event and experiences.