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How Latino Parents Can Help their Children Succeed in School

Considering the less favorable academic performance and high school dropout rates of Latino youth in the U.S. (National Center for Educational Statistics, NCES, 2008), there is significant interest in promoting the academic achievement and success of Latino youth. Individual characteristics such as discipline and motivation do contribute to adolescents’ academic success, but research points to the critical role of family members and parents on the academic achievement of Latino youth (Alfaro, Umaña-Taylor, & Bámaca, 2006; Anguiano-Viramontez, 2004; Ceballo, 2004).

Many Schools Believe Latino Parents Are Not Helping Their Children Academically

National statistics (NCES, 2003) indicate that Latino parents are less likely than white parents to attend general meetings, school events, participate in school committees, or volunteer. In the United States, these activities are recognized as common forms of parental involvement (Campos, 2008; Kupermic, Darnell, & Alvarez-Jimenez, 2008). Therefore, there is a widespread belief among school administrators and teachers that Latino parents are not involved in their children’s academic activities and do not care about their children’s academic success (Campos, 2008).
Contrary to this depiction, recent work with Latino families has shown that Latino parents do care about and believe in the importance of formal education. Latino parents are involved in their children’s academics, but their involvement typically goes unrecognized by school personnel because of its less typical nature (Campos, 2008).

Latino Parents Support Education in Non-Traditional Ways

In general, Latino parents promote their children’s academics by:
  • Placing a high value on education.
  • Motivating their children to do well academically.
  • Monitoring or “keeping an eye” on them.
  • Providing emotional support for academic endeavors (Ceballo, 2004; Romo & Falbo, 1996).
  • Encouraging and motivating their children via narratives of the hardships that the family has experienced (Lopez, 2001; Villanueva, 1996).
  • Emphasizing the importance of education as a way out of manual labor.
  • Excusing them from doing chores, keeping other siblings quiet while doing homework, or expressing pride for their academic success (Ceballo, 2004).

 
http://www.education.com/reference/article/important-role-parents-latino-youth-succed/

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