Saturday, November 28, 2015

10 Tips on Maintaining Close Family Ties

10 Tips on Maintaining Close Family Ties
           "Hugging kids is better than giving a present." 
                                                                            Esther Chan
                                                                                Parent Liaison
                                                                                   Wu Yee Family Center, San Fra

      Parent educators offer these 10 tips for maintaining close family ties:Image result for FAMILY TIES CULTURE
1. Learn from each culture.
To raise your child in a new culture, you may need to rethink some traditional views.
“There are positive things about each culture, and parents need to pick the best of each,” advises Nancy Lim Yee, a psychiatric social worker in the Chinatown Child Development Center in San Francisco.
Yee adds that her generation was raised to be “highly obedient and silent in school,” willing to sacrifice the self for the family or group. Today, raising her own children in a competitive and individualistic culture, Yee recognizes that “the kids have different ideas.” Still, she talks with them frequently about the importance of family and working together.
In Chinese communities, “some parents feel that by praising, you create a child that is conceited,” Yee says. “We have to work a lot with many Chinese families on the importance of promoting self-esteem.”
Linda Lilly, an education specialist for United Indian Nations, recalls the difficulties of finding a balance between the reservation and the society outside. Lilly says when her kids entered school, she “told them they had to raise their hands and be assertive in class, but when they come home, they have to listen because their elders are speaking.”
2. Make sure your child doesn’t forget your language.
It’s important that your kids continue to understand your language, advises Dora Pulido-Tobiassen, a former project director at California Tomorrow. Pulido-Tobiassen, who only speaks Spanish with her young child, encourages parents to speak to a child in the native language even if the child answers in English. But don’t try to force kids to speak your language, Mayer says, or “they will rebel later.”
3. Share your culture with your kids.
Lilly started introducing her three kids to her Navajo culture immediately after birth. Lilly says they took in their Native American traditions through all their senses by “hearing the drums and the bells and seeing the colors.”
Mayer advises to help your children feel attracted to your culture through enjoyable activities like making tamales for Christmas, attending Día de los Muertos or Chinese New Year events.
Maria Cardiel, a volunteer parent host at Radio Bilingüe, says explaining legends and celebrations to her kids is a way for her to learn, too.
4. Maintain or create extended family ties.
If grandparents, uncles and aunts don’t live nearby, you can create your own extended family, Mayer says.
“My Latina friends became tías (aunts) — my children responded to them [as] real tías,” Mayer says, adding that she takes her kids back to her family to Mexico every year.
5. Make time to talk and listen to your kids.
Parents trying to survive in a foreign culture may feel that their job is just to “feed their kids” and give them things that they themselves never had, says Esther Chan, a parent liaison at Wu Yee Family Center in San Francisco. But, “hugging kids is better than giving them a present,” Chan says.
Notice when and where kids talk with you, Mayer says. Maybe a particular room or a certain activity, such as bedtime or the drive to school, encourages your child to open up.
Setha Nhim, director of a Cambodian culture program for kids in Fresno, encourages parents to tell stories about their own childhood and struggles. A Cambodian immigrant and parent of three, Nhim says, “Kids need to hear about the good times and the bad.”
6. Get involved at your kids’ schools.
Schools have an important influence on kids, Yee says. She encourages parents to work with schools to create opportunities for cultural sharing. When Yee’s kids were in school, she brought in stories and special foods for holidays, such as little moon cakes for the Chinese Moon Festival.
Even if you don’t have much time, be there when you can, says Carla Dardon, a Guatamalan immigrant and leadership development coordinator at Hayward’s Tyrrell Parents’ Center. She volunteered at her kids’ school on days off from her full-time restaurant job.
7. Remember that you can help your child learn, even if you don’t speak English.
You have the right to request that someone translate for you at school, points out Lupe Carrasco, regional manager of Radio Bilingüe. And Nhim reminds parents that even if they don’t understand their kids’ homework, they can still make sure their children do the homework and look it over.
8. Educate yourself as much as possible.
When you’re working and raising kids, it’s easy to become isolated and hard to take classes yourself. But it’s good to work on learning English in whatever way you can.
“Kids need to see a strong mother,” says Sharon Aminy, a family advocate at Hayward’s Winton Healthy Start and Family Resource Center and an immigrant from India. “There’s a role reversal when children are left to translate, and they sense this.”
According to Mayer, parents can say, “I may not know English now, but I’m going to learn it.”
At 55, Marta Serrano, of National City, still doesn’t speak much English. But now, with one of her children finishing her doctorate, Serrano is going back to school.
“Ahora es mi turno (It’s my turn now),” Serrano says.
9. Get together with other parents.
Many county mental health departments and child care programs offer parenting groups where you can share concerns in your native language. Or you can form one of your own through your school, place of worship, family resource center or child care center.
10. Tune into local radio and TV in your language.
Your community may offer resources for families who speak your language. written by Kathleen Barrows.