When: Tues October 23, 2007 @ 7:00 pm
Location: RSVP to mnguyen[at]ssc[dot]wisc[dot]edu for a food head count
Latino Immigrant Parents’ Responses to U.S. Childrearing Values and Practices
Lynet Uttal, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Latino immigrant children are being raised by parents who themselves were raised in different cultural contexts. One of the greatest stresses for new immigrant parents is to learn how to integrate the parenting values and practices of the U.S. with their own cultural backgrounds. One of the most significant differences between U.S. childrearing advice and the parenting knowledges of parents from Spanish speaking countries is the child-centric versus the family-centric approach to socialization. At school, children of immigrant parents are taught to be individualistic and competitive. At home, children are expected to be communalistic and look out for the whole family, not just themselves. Different notions of adult-child communication styles also prevail. These differences result in cultural conflicts for the immigrant parents as well as the children of immigrants. Latino immigrant parents are critical of the ethnocentric expert principles of child development that are pervasive throughout childcare settings and parent education programs in the United States today. Latino parents are baffled by recommendations that appear to fail to guide the child appropriately and suggest inattentive parenting practices. This paper will present the parental views of this dynamic, including how parents develop novel ways to parent biculturally. This analysis in this paper is based on data from 3 years of community pláticas (facilitated dialogical workshops) for Latino immigrant parents on parenting topics. Participant observation and writing exercises collected during the pláticas were used to collect data on parents’ perspectives of child development principles taught in the United States.