I think we all have some bias when it comes to parenting. I do try to reflect on what is important to my families. This does not happen overnight. It takes effort and trust on both sides. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical. A monthly newsletter gives parents the opportunity to express what they like and do not like about your program to whatever extent it affects their families culture.
I would like to share two examples of experiences with my families that have been difficult for me with regards to parenting styles and culture.
First, I have an eight-year-old boy whose family is from India. I get along with them (in fact they are my neighbors) however, it is culturally appropriate for them to raise their son with the understanding that boys take what they want. If another child is holding a toy or object, the boy will just take it from them to look at it without asking. His behavior is not corrected by his family. I do have to say t him that we ask if we can see something, we do not take it from others. This makes it uncomfortable for me when his parents are right there. I have tried to tell the family that it upsets the smaller children when he does this but they do not seem to correct his behavior to any real extent.
The second example is a family I have had for several years. The children range on age from 10 to 1. The culture of the family is that the teacher is responsible for the child’s learning and they as parents have a hands-off philosophy. With the older children, the family does not really help with school work and gets upset when the children get something wrong. With the younger one, I am expected to provide things like warmer coats when the weather is bad and I need to take them to the corner for the school bus. For this family, I find that I must state policy and stick to it or else they have a drop and forget attitude.
Although these are really examples of parenting cultures and not community culture, they play an important part in family day care.