Strong Latine Identity Supports Children’s Well-Being

Key Takeaways for caregivers

  • Kids are inclined to have higher well being and well-being after they have a powerful ethnic id (affinity and adoption of ethnicity-based self-concept).
  • A standard Latine cultural value (familismo) that emphasizes household bonds can also be related to better developmental outcomes.
  • Caregivers can help the event of U.S. Latine youngsters (and possibly other children of immigrant/cultural/racial/ethnic groups) through the use of ethnic socialization practices that foster ethnic id and cultural values corresponding to familismo.
  • Communities can additional help these youngsters and their caregivers by creating insurance policies and interventions that help ethnic socialization practices and that construct inclusive neighborhood infrastructures.

Introduction

America Ferrera is a tv and movie star (Ugly Betty, Barbie) and a political activist. In her book, Ferrera describes her household and cultural id experiences as a U.S.-born Latina whose mother and father of Honduran heritage immigrated to the USA:

Talking Spanish at house, my mother’s Saturday-morning-salsa-dance get together within the kitchen, and consuming tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas don’t in any means appear at odds with my American id. The truth is, having mother and father with deep ties to a different nation and tradition feels half and parcel of being an American. (Ferrera, 2018, p. 15)

Residing with a number of social identities

As this quote illustrates, many immigrant and ethnic minorities typically expertise a juxtaposition between highly effective influences: the quick affect of their very own mother and father and different members of the family, and the broader affect of U.S. cultural norms and expectations. Certainly, we are able to instantly sense the a number of social identities that manifest on the intersectionality of her Honduran heritage and U.S. id, brown-colored pores and skin, and gender.

Ferrera’s story is the story of many different Latinas who stay in the USA. Her story is one amongst numerous others of adaptation to efficiently combine into the massive, complicated social construction of the USA. Some have described the USA as a historic social experiment not like another in human historical past due to the combination of Indigenous and immigrant teams from just about each different nation on this planet.

On this article, we spotlight one small narrative of culture-related tales and processes that displays the experiences of many (however not all) Latine (we use the time period Latine to incorporate all folks of Latin American heritage) folks residing in the USA. We begin with what is thought concerning the central function of ethnic socialization practices, with a concentrate on U.S. Latine families.

young Latine child sits on shoulders of father

Picture by Alena Darmel

Households can train youngsters about their cultural heritage

Among the many few well-documented factors that improve U.S. Latine youngsters’s well being and well-being is the notion of ethnic socialization practices, which households use to show their ethnic-minority youngsters about their cultural heritage. Examples of ethnic socialization embrace publicity to native ethnic heritage language books, music, movie, and tales. It additionally refers to celebrating conventional Latine holidays, consuming Latine meals, and instructing Spanish to their youngsters.

Ferrera’s (2018) reminiscences of consuming conventional Latine meals, dancing and listening to Latine music, and talking Spanish at house as a baby strengthen her affinity to her ethnic heritage. For a lot of U.S. Latine youngsters, these ethnic heritage reminiscences are juxtaposed with the training and publicity to experiences (e.g., listening to English-language music and tales, watching movies) in the USA that embody U.S. majority cultural values and norms.

Examples of ethnic socialization embrace publicity to native ethnic heritage language books, music, movie, and tales. It additionally refers to celebrating conventional Latine holidays, consuming Latine meals, and instructing Spanish to their youngsters.

How do ethnic socialization practices improve U.S. Latine youngsters’s growth? A part of the reply lies in proof that these practices foster strong ethnic identity (i.e., affinity and adoption of ethnicity-based self-concept) and promote traditional Latine cultural values, corresponding to familismo (familism; identification with, help from, and obligation to the household).

A Latine family holding baby

Picture by RDNE Stock project

Supporting Ethnic Identification

Ethnic id refers to a person’s id that’s acquired from belonging to and being related to a particular ethnic group. Ethnic id can also be associated to ethnic delight, affinity, data, and engagement in behaviors that join people to their cultural heritage. Kids who’re ceaselessly uncovered to ethnic socialization practices are prone to exhibit a stronger ethnic identity, which is linked to positive developmental outcomes (e.g., tutorial achievement, ethical growth, constructive psychological well being outcomes). Strong ethnic identity is also positively associated with higher levels of self-worth and self confidence in Latine adolescents, which motivates them to perform better academically and leads them to have better well-being.

Creating bicultural identities

Many Latine youngsters residing in the USA develop bicultural or multicultural identities (e.g., Mexican American, queer Latine, Puerto Rican/Dominican). Moreover, though considerably much less studied, Latine heritage youngsters who develop bicultural or multicultural identities also have positive developmental outcomes. In distinction, when Latine youngsters report a weak Latine id, they’re prone to negative developmental outcomes (e.g., psychological well being issues, delinquency). Parents can protect their ethnic-minority children from culture-related adversity and stressors (e.g., discrimination, prejudice, exterior pressures) by fostering their ethnic id and by giving their Latine youngsters the assets and expertise they should face discrimination and the challenges of navigating a brand new cultural setting.

Supporting household bonds and familismo

Familismo represents one of the crucial necessary conventional cultural values taught and engrained early in childhood in lots of Latine households. This worth is derived from a basic collectivist and communal orientation (i.e., an emphasis on the significance of connection and cooperation inside the broader neighborhood) that’s prioritized in most Latin American societies.

Encouraging responsiveness to the household’s wants and fostering interdependence with the household can train Latine youngsters to take care of others and be a dependable supply of social help. These advantages are mirrored in analysis, which demonstrates that top ranges of familismo are related to better health and well-being (e.g., extra profitable tutorial outcomes, higher psychological well being). As is the case with ethnic socialization practices and ethnic id, familismo protects Latine children from adversity and enhances positive adjustment.

Familismo has its limits

Nonetheless, the protecting and enhancing results of familismo have limits. Extraordinarily excessive ranges of familismo might mitigate Latine children’s positive development, as happens when Latine youngsters are anticipated to tackle adult-like obligations and to have interaction in behaviors that may undermine their private growth (e.g., translating for his or her mother and father, caring for youthful siblings).

Encouraging responsiveness to the household’s wants and fostering interdependence with the household can train Latine youngsters to take care of others and be a dependable supply of social help.

Conclusion

Given the present wave of hostility towards ethnic minorities and immigrants in the USA, caregivers want to assist their Latine youngsters efficiently navigate these troublesome and difficult societal instances. The excellent news is that students have documented ethnic socialization practices, ethnic id, and familismo as culture-related mechanisms that may improve constructive outcomes and shield Latine youngsters from adversarial and trauma-related experiences. Ferrera’s (2018) description of her constructive youth experiences and her well-documented accomplishments align with analysis displaying the advantages of ethnic socialization practices and ethnic id in Latines. When U.S. Latine households train and foster these mechanisms to their youngsters, they’ll develop into strengths and property for youngsters to thrive and succeed.

A Latine family walking in the countryside.

Picture by Vidal Balielo Jr.

We hope communities embrace and respect the expression of conventional Latine cultural practices and values. Households and colleges can take steps to help youngsters’s ethnic id and familial values by, for instance:

  1. Encouraging Latine youngsters to speak their native language at house, at college, and in different social settings,
  2. Supporting Latine youngsters in creating faculty initiatives that embrace their ethnic heritage, and
  3. Offering Latine youngsters entry to assets (e.g., books, music) that promote studying about their ethnic heritage.

Though we highlighted the constructive penalties of ethnic socialization for U.S. Latines, when all folks put money into these practices, their efforts will lead to elevated social concord and culturally enriched, wholesome communities.

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