Latino Parenting is changing with the times

In parenting on May 26, 2010 at 5:18 am

Photo from The Learning Community

This past Sunday I was invited to a special bilingual ceremony at a basilica to see a family member become a deacon. It was like Holy Week all over again…If you’ve ever experienced it, trying to find a chair is a monumental task. And when my husband and I finally found two empty seats all the way in the back we were pretty grateful, until we saw who was sitting around us.

Like in a plane ride where you don’t have the option of moving elsewhere, the last thing you want is to be surrounded by families with kids- crying, nagging kids, which is natural behavior but just not at church…But guess what? We scored BIG on that one. Not only were there two families, one Anglo with their little girl (maybe 3 yrs. old), another Filipino with their son (also about 3) but right in front of us was a Latino family with 6 kids…6 KIDS all ranging below 10 years of age, the youngest being about 2.

All we could do at that point was breathe in. As funny as this may sound I felt like I was at a multicultural focus group where I was able to peek into the behavior of each family and analyze how they managed to keep their children happy for the special two hour service that was ahead. To our surprise, while the other couples with one child were struggling throughout mass to try to get their children to not cry, the Latino family in front of us was the most tranquil family of all. Now, I’m Latina and I know that being raised in a Hispanic Household can be strict especially when at church – but really? Six kids and I couldn’t even tell if the kids were speaking in English or Spanish (they would whisper to each other once in a while). I couldn’t even tell if they were little mummies in front of me or if they truly were kids. All very well dressed and extremely well mannered I was astonished but at the same time very proud that the family with the most well-behaved kids was a Latino one.

But, what also caught my attention was that while the mom and dad were bookends to a perfectly large family, the dad was the one commanding the tribe with his soft words, and gentle caresses. In fact, this seems to be the case across the U.S. where more and more dads are playing a more hands-on role in raising their families vs. using the traditional “strict” emphasis on “obedience” and in being “el hombre de la casa” or “the man of the house” which is a very “macho” style of parenting.

Such is the case with Manny Ruiz, a Bicultural Latino and dad of three who is not only sharing his parenting techniques on his blog, papiblogger, but is also trying to inspire other Latino dads to share their parenting tips on his site too. It’s communal, relevant for the times and an example to others. Thanks to all the dads that are not only helping out our fellow Latinas in caregiving but are also establishing a new way of parenting “Latino style” for future generations to come.


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