Parenting skills are part of the process of raising a child. Most parents want to help their children achieve their greatest potential so that they can do well in school and ultimately succeed in life. Parenting skills aren’t set in stone, and they can vary by socioeconomic status and cultural norms, among other factors. Latino immigrant parents take pride in their children and strive to offer them the best opportunity to become successful, contributing members of society. They want their children to do better than they did. But oftentimes parents don’t have enough time, money, or formal training to help their children with homework and other academic tasks.
This is where the disconnect sometimes arises between immigrant parents and teachers and the school setting. Teachers who don’t have experiences interacting or working with diverse cultures sometimes don’t understand the parenting skills of parents who come from other parts of the world. Find out more about Latino parents’ skills and the school culture in this informative piece.
Latino Parents’ Ideas of Parental Involvement
Parenting skills, in essence, is parental involvement. Latino parents and other immigrants or parents with little to no formal higher education tend to have the same ideas of how they define parental involvement. Here are some of the most common practices of parenting skills in relation to school and education:
· Ask questions about school and homework
· Hold high standards for academic performance and grades
· Relieve their children from household chores
· Set aside a special area for their children to study
· Ensure that their children have the supplies needed for school
· Make sure that their children attend school
· Attend open house and other meetings at their children’s schools
Parental Skills in the School Culture
The parenting skills listed above are excellent ways for parents to connect with their children and to let them know that they care about their education. However, not all of these parenting skills are represented within the school culture. Rather, the school system values parental involvement with homework and reading as well as volunteering in the classroom, as these actions get the parents involved in the actual learning opportunities of their children. But what can be done to incorporate Latino parents’ current skills into the classroom and how can you support Latino parents so that they can get involved in the learning of their children? For starters, teachers can create a welcoming environment within the classroom and school setting to encourage parents to come to campus. Teachers can let parents know that they are there for them and willing to help them understand the school system. Additionally, teachers can assign bilingual books, so that parents can read to and with their children in their native language. This is also helpful because both parents and children are learning English together by reading in their native language.
For additional information on parental involvement and how to work with Latino and immigrant students and families, visit The Latino Family Literacy Project. We offer an array of resources such as workshops and webinars, research-based parent programs with curricula, as well as an informative blog complete with the latest trends in education.