SILER CITY — “Because I said so” is a response that many people grew up hearing from their parents. Although the phrase frequents households nationwide, a Costa Rican psychologist informed …
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SILER CITY — “Because I said so” is a response that many people grew up hearing from their parents. Although the phrase frequents households nationwide, a Costa Rican psychologist informed parents at Siler City Elementary School why this answer is detrimental for children.
SCE hosted its fifth meeting for the Latino Parents School in March. SCE’s Community Outreach Committee created the program last October to inform Latino parents about the North Carolina education system. The school’s student population is more than 62 percent Latino, and most of the parents are immigrants.
Monthly sessions have focused on providing parents with tools to help their children excel in school — for example, tutoring methods and understanding report cards and standardized test scores. However, psychologist Marco Camareno spoke at the March meeting about facilitating communicatio.
“Communication has three components: what I think, what I do and what I feel,” said Camareno, who has a daughter in 4th grade at SCE. “As a parent, if I only worry about saying the right thing but I don’t pay attention to what my child feels, I’m not communicating in the best way.”
Camareno asked the seven parents who attended what their children say when they give them a new rule. One mother answered, “Why?” to which the others commented was the same in their homes.
A 2015 study from the University of Texas at Austin found that Latino children are more at risk for anxiety and depression because of parenting styles common in Latino households. In general, the culture emphasizes obedience and respect, especially for authority figures.
“A lot of times what happens is we say things because we understand them, but we aren’t considering whether or not our children understand the message in the same way,” Camareno said. “The important thing in this situation is to speak at the level of your child… Asking ‘why,’ means they’re thinking, and our children deserve a real answer from us.”
The psychologist asked attendees why many parents often feel like they’re “talking to the wall.” One mother offered that most of the time, parents yell from across the house instead of communicating face-to-face.
Camareno also talked about offering quality time with children as incentives for good behavior instead of common rewards like tablets or television time. For example, if a child enjoys listening to stories before bed, an incentive or treat could be extra stories.
Estevez said that parents have expressed issues with conflicting work schedules or lack of transportation that prevent them from attending the meetings, which take place at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month.
Camareno said he believes that a hindrance could be that some parents aren’t accustomed to the structure of school anymore. He said that the same methods for improving communication can be employed for attending the sessions.
“Developing a habit isn’t easy,” Camareno said.
The next meeting will be on April 6, and the school’s PTA will talk to parents about how to be more involved.
Brooklynn Cooper is a senior at UNC from Durham majoring in Journalism and Hispanic Linguistics. If you have questions that you would like Our Chatham to answer, send them to email@example.com. Our Chatham is a strategic partner of the Chatham News + Record.