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Chapter 6: Working with Diverse Children, Parents, and Families Ana Vanessa Serrano García Multicultural Issues in Human Services Guest Lecture, Fall Semester 2012
Objectives • Recognized the role culture plays in children’s development. • Identify the differences in parenting styles of individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds. • Explain the importance of culturally sensitive treatments for children with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
The Big Picture "Strangers in a new culture see only what they know. " -Unknown
The election of President Barak Obama For the African American community: • Means the triumph of the values of the pioneers who paved the road to make it possible to obtain the “American Dream. ” Self-empowerment, pride, resiliency, self-care • Awareness of the social process in place to de-humanized, minimized and maintain communities, families and children of color in situations of disadvantage.
Community Psychology • Social problems are a reflections of systemic problems • Changes can only be achieved through a systemic approach, impacting each layer, viewing society as a whole. (Individuals lives; Social networks; Support systems; Communities) • Focus on correcting- victimization vs. empowerment • Social injustice • Promoting well-being • Cessation of oppression for disadvantage people • Prevention and promotion of mental health
Development of Racial Identity • The genetic predispositions and patterns of cultural conditioning, shape the way we interact. • Children of color: early awareness of racial differences (3 to 4 years) • Evolves from the sequential acquisition of three learning process: • Racial classification ability-learning to apply ethnic labels accurately to diverse groups • Racial identification-learning to apply the newly gained concept of race to him or herself. • Racial evaluation-the creation of an internal evaluation of one’s own identity
Scenario 1 Clark: Is an African American boy in denial of his racial identity. Do young African American children today follow the same pattern of racial identity of the study?
Racial Identity Formation (results) Racial Awareness Euros Afro Racial classification: Develop the ability by ages 4 -5 Racial Identification -Preschool: Children exhibit 80% Euro response, -Third grade: Had 90% pro-euro responses, -Children exhibit 50% Racial evaluation -Preschool: Exhibit 90% pro-Euro responses -Exhibit 80% pro-Euro responses. In Adolescence reverse responses 90% pro. Afro Racial acceptance - 50% acceptance of Afro playmates, -Third grade: 80% own race - 60% acceptance of Euro playmates -Third grade: 80% own race -Exhibit 80% Afros response
Adolescent Racial Identity • Race and racial identity issues become more relevant. • Absorb stereotype images of being of color • Reject characteristics and behaviors associated as being White. • Turn toward their own group and reject of the majority and its values and often adopt an “oppositional stance or Identity” • Emergence of a greater individualization and diversification of racial identity. • Greater awareness of the systematic exclusion of Black people from full participation in society
Erickson’s Model African American Adolescents • Form stable integration of self-image earlier in life • Homogeneous/ sameness in how they see themselves • Rigid and fix expectations of future images of parenting, fantasies of future accomplishments and availability of positive roles • Exhibit identity foreclosure • Greater capacity for coping with life White Adolescents • Identify progression and moratorium(slow steady movement toward definition of self) • Experience higher levels of confusion, disequilibrium and Personal exploration
Learning Styles • Research studies suggests that the lower academic performance documented in children of color is due to the differences between their learning styles and the teaching styles within the school systems. • Attributed to Institutionalized racism. • The academic performance improves when the teaching styles match they ways children from minorities learn.
Learning Styles: Three Types of Ethnic Minorities Autonomous • Tend to be small in numbers • experience prejudice but not widespread oppression. • Possess traits related to academic success and do well • Successful role models Immigrant • Migrate to improve their living conditions. • Negatively perceived by others but not by themselves. • Can returned home if conditions in the US do not improve. • Tend to perform well academically. “Cast-like” minorities • Disproportionate amounts of school failure. • Objects of systematic racism and disadvantages (systemic). • View academic success as “acting white”
Parenting Seeks to create a safe environment where their child can go throw the developmental stages unharmed. Parents of children of color have the additional variable of race to consider. • Create a buffer zone against negative attitudes and stereotypes. • Teach them how to deal with the feeling/emotions that can emerge from experiencing racism. • Prepare their children cognitively for the world outside the buffer zone.
Scenario 1 • Ho: Issues on parenting in culturally diverse families. The role each parent play and the decisions he or she makes in the upbringing of the children has everything to do with the culture.
Preparing the Child • Parenting for Self-esteem • Strategies to promote Self-esteem • Physical punishment to discipline vs. gentler discipline • Parental distance/absence vs. closeness and support of extended family • “Blame the victim” attitude vs. positive attitudes toward owns race • Emotionally for Racism • Children should not feel alone in their struggles through racial issues. • Support-Parents should model the strategies to deal with racial situations and allow them to handle situations by themselves.
Preparing the Child (Cont. ) • Things to avoid: • Verbal regimen of “Black is beautiful” (if it is, why do I need to say it? ) • Too permissive or accommodating out of guilt may harm the development of coping strategies. • Overly authoritarian , instead of “toughen them up” may eventually lead to abuse and promotion of violence cycle. • Compensatory mechanism may encourage the child to remain passive and to avoid aggressive behavior.
Preparing the Child (Cont. ) Helping them understand racism • Don’t deny or avoid talking about racism, it confuses them and promotes a passive approach in dealing with their ethnic identity. • “Learning the truth” when the child is older my be more harmful. Learning to deal with racism is a on-going process that should be address as the child experiences it. • Contribute to develop strong and positive ethnic identities based on values inherent to their ethnic group to “cancel” or counteract the negativity.
Preparing the Child (Cont. ) • Racial hatred is a social not an individual or personal problem. At the same time, Parents should not expect certain behaviors because who their child is ethnically. • “Interdependence of fate”- Joining the group for support in some cases may lead to blaming a subgroup for the fate of everyone (people with light skin vs. people with darker skin. ) • Children should learn not to fear multiple alliances (multicultural competence). By forcing children into groups in order to preserve their ethnic identity might result in the opposite. • Children usually model their parents. Any issue or struggle parents may have with ethnic identity might be reflected on the child.
Scenario 3 • Bicultural families: The dynamics of bicultural couples, their relationships and their unique perspectives their children face.
Bicultural Children & Families Bicultural families represent an important and little-understood growing sector of American society. Three prevalent Myth Reality Turn out to be very tragic and marginal individuals. Can develop healthy ethnic identities and find stable social place Must choose to identify with only one parent (group). The opposite: healthy identities involves an integration of both cultures, making it unique Uncomfortable discussion their ethnic identity with others. Welcome the opportunity to discuss and explore who they are ethnically
Bicultural Couples Psychological Profile • Type 1: Tend to approximate extremes in healthy functioningadvance communication skills, good cultural understanding of each other, strongly motivated to be open and working through difficulties. • Type 2: Individuals who enter in a bicultural relationship for unconscious reasons and unaware of the circumstances and poor interpersonal skills a little insight.
Bicultural Couples (Cont. ) • Why entering in bicultural relationships? • Personal attraction • Asserting/affirming their autonomy – • Whites: from over controlling families • African Americans: “overcoming limits” place on them by racism. • African American families were more accepting of the bicultural couple than Whites. • Reported frequent focus on issues of race and ethnicity and work actively to resolved them (hurtful in nature and as result of attachment issues) • Experience rejection and social isolation.
Bicultural Couples (Cont. ) • Reported frequent focus on issues of race and ethnicity and work actively to resolved them (hurtful in nature and as result of attachment issues) • Experience rejection and social isolation. • Interfaith Couples • Must agree to learned to share practices in the home and religious education. • Bicultural couples of color • Must learned to live with their partners values, lifestyle priorities and expectation- traditions and values acquire more significance even if they were not as important before.
Bicultural Relationships Bicultural Children • Psychologically, they received the reflection of the conflicts and tensions that plays out in the broader society and within the family. • Develop a racial identity early in life-”What are you? ” • Important to remember they are “Not merely reflections of the two sides but the unique integration of them. ” • More successful in the identification process when issues of race are discuss openly and frequently and are in contact with integrated environments and positive role models of both ethnic groups.
Bicultural Relationships Bicultural Children • Strong pressure to choose one ethnic group over the other, specially during the adolescence. • Experience rejection early on and the parents are not always aware of the existing differences between them and their child (not an extension of them. ) • Child tends to overly empathize identify with the parent who’s cultural support system is more limited. In case of single parents, they tend to identify with the lone parent.
Bicultural Relationships Adopted Children • Second source of bicultural families. • Voices against interracial adoptions: • White parents are incapable of providing adequate connection with the culture of birth and training on how to deal with racism. • Very few White parents understand the complexities of ethnicity and racism, therefore many children of color feel isolated. • Confusion: contradictory messages: • Positive vs. negatives feeling from parents (as representatives of the culture who discriminates against them. • The broader social groups vs. home environment
Therapy with Bicultural Families Three compromising dynamics for the racial identity development • Messages about race in the family – Therapist must point out the negative messages they sent to the child, so they can change them. • Negatives messages encourage the child’s incapable of embracing the parts of him or herself associated with negative messages. • Creation of perception of “sides must be taken”- Help parents become aware of the existence of loyalty binds and allow the child to create relationships with each parent on their own terms. • External racism: prepare the child for the world. Promote open communications about race
Therapy with Bicultural Families Culturally Sensitive • Requires simultaneous attention to: • Expanded definition of family • Male dominated and hierarchal families (Mexican American) • Use nondeficit definition of family structures and process • Focus on the strengths: African American families have a strong influence of the mother figure. • Resiliency as a therapeutic goal • Strengthening personal characteristics in the child that will allow hi or her to cope better in stressful situations. • The reality of biculturalism • Learns to negotiate, tolerate competing cultural values and practices.
Therapy with Bicultural Families Narrative Therapy with Children • Framework emphasizes social justice and multiculturalism. • Unique elements: combines the nonblaming, collaborative and contextual based approach. • Based on postmodern ideas. • The self is co-created through the interactions with others and the society; there is no single self but many selves, “multi-storied” and multi-selves”. • Societal discourses work to influence and shape the stories and selves. (Ex. Classism, sexism, racism etc. ) • The problem is the “problem” not the individual. • Technique-Externalization.
Therapy with Bicultural Families Narrative Collective Practice: The tree of life • Adapted to work with children in group or collective settings. • The tree of lives: exercise to enable children talk about their lives in a way that makes them stronger. • Generates a second story focus on strengths and skills. • Four parts: • • The tree of life- Our roots Forest of life- Our story Storms of life –The bad things Celebration of life- What I gain
Therapy with Bicultural Families School-Based Social Justice Intervention Program • Aimed at working with youth at risk for academic, behavioral and emotional difficulties. • Goal: encourage greater achievements and socioemotional growth. • Integrated cognitive behavior psychoeducational models for: • Building and promoting competence, growth and change through development of insight and specific skills. • Acknowledges the injustices and oppression present on the lifes of the participants
“Our cultural strength has always been derived from our diversity of understanding and experience. ” -- Yo-Yo Ma (French-Born American Cellist, United Nations Messenger of Peace; b. 1955) Thank you!