The Role of Culture in Childrearing
Culture, representing what each individual has learned through his or her unique process of socialization, influences our theories of childrearing. Decisions about whether a 3-month-old should be allowed to “cry it out” or be picked up and soothed; when it is appropriate to begin toilet training; and where a child should sleep at night are all influenced, in part, by each individual’s beliefs. Understanding your own beliefs regarding childrearing and those of the families with whom you work is vital but only the beginning. Early childhood professionals must also be aware of how these beliefs may complement or contradict one another, and the related implications of both.
For this week’s Discussion, you will have the opportunity to explore the potential influence and impact of culture on childrearing practices, and discuss the relevance of developing “cultural competency” as a tool supporting infant/toddler mental health.
Pose the following questions to three to five people, keeping in mind there are no right or wrong answers. Your role is simply to listen and record their responses.
Where should a newborn sleep?
At what age should toilet training begin?
Should 3-month-old children be allowed to cry themselves to sleep at night?
What role does the extended family play in rearing children?
Based on what you have learned about the role of culture in childrearing practices, consider the following questions:
Based on your course readings and interviews, in what ways can culture influence childrearing practices?
How can differences in cultural beliefs between the family and professional impact the professional’s ability to support infant/toddler mental health?
How can developing “cultural competence” support the child development professional’s ability to promote infant/toddler mental health?
By Day 3:
Post your thoughts about how culture can influence childrearing practices and infant/toddler mental health, and the ways in which developing “cultural competency” can support the child development professional’s ability to promote positive outcomes for young children and their families. Include examples from your interviews.
Course Text: Lally, J. R., Mangione, P. L., & Greenwald, D. (Eds.). (2006). Concepts for Care: 20 Essays on Infant/Toddler Development and Learning. San Francisco: WestEd.”Nurturing Very Young Children Who Experience More Than One Language” by Barbara Zurer Pearson with Peter L. Mangione (pp. 31–39)”Embracing Inclusion: When ALL Means ALL” by Rebeca Valdivia, Linda Brault, and Anne Kuschner (pp. 65–69)”Every Child Is a Cultural Being” by Carol Brunson Day (pp. 97–99)
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