Monday, August 3, 2009

Cultures Helping Cultures to be Better Parents

Parenting training and education that is specific to a particular cultural group is both highly valued and somewhat controversial. It is valued because parenting programs designed for specific groups include education and skill-training that relates to and improves those facets of parenting that are particular to a specific group, whether or not these aspects are consciously or unconsciously recognized. They are also highly valued because they respect and honor the traditions and life circumstances of the families from a specific cultural group. Such targeted programing is somewhat controversial because some people, including professional parent educators, believe that parenting poses the same challenges and demands for everyone, and therefore any good parenting program should be sufficient.

The Feather River Tribal Health organization in Oroville, California is a firm believer in making parenting services culturally-specific, and not just for their own people. Their mission is "to elevate the health status of the American Indian people in our service area and all people in our communities to the highest level possible through a comprehensive system of preventive and therapeutic services." Last year they sponsored a workshop in their area to train educators and instructors from their and other agencies to deliver the Effective Black Parenting program for parents of African American children. They are now in the process of preparing to offer instructor training workshops in the Los Ninos Bien Educados program for parents of Latino-American children, and in the Asian American Parenting Program for those agencies and schools that work with the parents of Hmong and other Pacific Asian cultures. The Feather River Tribal organization clearly appreciates and acts to ensure that the rainbow of groups in their area receives culturally-specific parenting services and programs.

What do you think about creating and using culturally-specific parenting services?

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