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How Latino Parents Can Help Children Succeed in School (page 2)

By — Diversity in Education Special Edition Contributor
Updated on May 17, 2010

Recommendations For Latino Parents to Help Children Succeed In School

Studies consistently find that Latino youth value and benefit from the involvement and interest parents demonstrate. However, Latino parents may feel that the support they offer is not enough to help their youth succeed academically. Despite the many barriers and challenges Latino parents may face, there are things parents can do to let adolescents know that they care about their academic success.
  • Emphasize the value of education because your children are listening. It may not be obvious that your child is paying attention, but children value parents' opinion. If the importance of education is instilled early on, your children will know the expectations you have for them in terms of completing their education.
  • Provide moral encouragement and emotional support. You may not be able to help your children with their homework or their college applications, but children appreciate the support and encouragement they receive from their parents.
  • Provide your children with a quiet place to study. If your family lives in a one-bedroom apartment, monitor the noise level of other family members or assigning the bedroom as the study room.
  • Express pride in their work. Celebrate their achievement no matter how small they may seem. For instance, if your child did not get a good grade on a spelling test one week, but is able to receive a passing grade the following week-celebrate!
  • Keep an eye on your children's activities. When parents monitor adolescents' school work, school attendance, and other school related activities, adolescents may perceive their parents as having a higher value of academics. Latino adolescents who perceive their parents as "keeping an eye on them" have been found to be more likely to succeed in school and not to drop out (Romo & Falbo, 1996).
  • Become more involved in school activities. Many schools have programs to help ethnic minority parents navigate the school system that their children attend. It may be intimidating, but many schools want and have programs specifically targeted to promote the involvement of ethnic minority parents.

References

Alfaro, E. A., Umaña-Taylor, A. J., &Bámaca,M.Y. (2006). Interpersonal support and Latino adolescents' academic motivation. Family Relations, 55, 279-291.

Campos, R. (2008). Considerations for studying father involvement in early childhood among Latino families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30, 133-160.

Ceballo, R. (2004). From barrios to Yale: The role of parenting strategies in Latino families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 26, 171-186.

Lopez, G. R. (2001). The value of hard work: Lessons on parent involvement from an (im)migrant household. Harvard Educational Review, 71, 416-437.

Kuperminc, G. P., Darnell, A. J., & Alvarez-Jimenez, A. (2007). Parent involvement in the academic adjustment of Latino middle and high school youth: teacher expectations and school belonging as mediators. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 469-483.

National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Status and Trends in the Education of Hispanics (NCES 2003-008). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Available 2003. Downloaded 2/1/09 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/2003008.pdf

National Center for Education Statistics (2008). The Condition of Education 2008 (NCES 2008-031). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Available 2008. Downloaded 2/1/09 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008031.pdf

Okagaki, L., & Frensch, P. A. (1998). Parenting and children's school achievement: A multi ethnic perspective. American Educational Research Journal, 35(1), 123-144.

Parra-Cardona, J.R., Córdova, D., Holtrop, K., Villarruel, F.A., & Wieling, E. (2008). Shared ancestry, evolving stories: Similar and contrasting life experiences described by foreign born and U.S. born Latino parents. Family Process, 47, 157-172.

Romo, H. D., & Falbo, T. (1996). Latino high school graduation: Defying the odds. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Villanueva, I. (1996). Change in the educational life of Chicano families across three generations. Education and Urban Society, 29, 13-34.

Viramontez-Anguiano, R.P. (2004). Families and Schools: The effect of parental involvement on High School Completion, Journal of Family Issues, 25, 61-85.

 
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