The set of kids I’ve chosen to watch comes from a Latino family who used to live next door to us but later moved to Patagonia, Arizona’s Santa Cruz County. The two parents, their two sons, and their two daughters, for a total of four children, make up the family’s ten members. The majority of the residents of the town are Mexican Americans who have maintained a strong connection to their culture. As a result, I chose that setting since it closely resembles the Latino way of life and because we occasionally shared housing with them, making it simple for us to get along. I hoped to learn more about the Latino culture particularly in the area of child upbringing from my family selection. In addition, I was seeking to gain a deeper understanding into roles played by children in the Latino family based on their order of birth.
I witnessed a lot of diversity among the children. Despite being born and brought up by the same parents, their differences were very stuck. The differences can be attributed to their personal character traits. The first born daughter aged 29 years is a sanguine who is very outgoing and extroverted. She likes attending parties and events besides making new friends. She is very welcoming to visitors and everyone feels comfortable near her. The second born who is the eldest son aged 26 years is an introvert who is generally reserved and less interactive. He prefers to be alone most of the time and hardly goes out to attend events except for the ones organized in the family. He tends to be indecisive most of the time and always feels under pressure whenever faced by a situation that calls for quick decision making. He prefers to take instructions from his parents rather assuming the leadership role in the family as expected of the eldest son according to the Latino culture. He hardly shares his inner thoughts with the rest of the family members mainly for fear of being judged or viewed differently.
The third born who is 23 years old is a strong choleric who likes to focus his energies on what he decides to undertake. He is always keen on small details and likes to dominate his other siblings whenever a discussion arises. He always wants to be in control of situations which sometimes puts him at loggerheads with his siblings especially the older ones. He tends to use imperative as well as commanding language whenever he is raising an opinion in the family gathering. He exudes confidence in his speech and certainty. His firm and forceful means of solving problems always brings conflict in the family rather than solving problems. He likes to meddle in the affairs of his siblings and always ready to adapt to new situations and challenges. He was the one less affected when the family moved to the town four years ago. He always seeks to be seen by his parents to be strong and in charge of situations. He is quick to brag and boast of his personal achievements such as emerging top in his class.
The last born of the family is a daughter aged 20 years. She has a lot in common with her eldest sister. She is very talkative and likes to spend most of her time with her eldest sister who tends to enjoy her company. She is very artistic in nature and has excelled in her art classes. Her creativity has earned her a lot of praise from her parents and siblings. She likes to sing and dance whenever she has time to do so and currently looking forward to joining one of the famous music bands in Phoenix. Despite her outgoing nature, the girl has a lot of respect for her parents and always keen to seek their approval before she engages in any activity. This is in line the Latino culture in which the children are expected to respect their parents and to seek their guidance over any matter even when they attain the age of maturity but are still living under the care of the parents.
During my observation, I witnessed how the four siblings were interacting with one another. Despite their diverse differences in personality, the siblings had great interaction among themselves. In their interaction, I could sense the highly group-oriented nature of interaction that is evident in the Latino culture. They showed a lot of respect for one another as expected of them by the Latino culture. The parents have put in them a strong need and desire to regard their family as a main source of identity and protection. Despite the drastic changes in family values all over the American society, the Sanchez family has embraced the Latino family model that shows regard for the extended approach beyond the blood relations. The parents have ensured that the children develop a deep understanding of Spanish language and that is the dominant language of interaction at home. The siblings hardly use English language whenever they conversing amongst themselves except when they someone who doesn’t speak the language. When they were still staying in the same neighborhood, I would observe them greeting one another with hugs and kisses on their cheeks which I later learnt was a great sign of togetherness among the Latinos.
The children operate under flexible time schedules in line with the Latino culture where people have time for others. They are quick to make time for one another especially when one is faced with personal challenges and problems. Multitasking was not a challenge to the siblings as they engaged in different activities at the same time. I witnessed the children helping one another in undertaking their daily duties with less supervision from their parents who were busy with their own chores. The father was not around as he had gone to work in the nearby factory but his presence could still be felt in the home as his instructions were still being followed. The siblings embrace non-verbal communication in the course of their interaction which I later learnt is an important element of the Latino culture. They stood close to one another whenever they were passing important information.
I sought to interact with the parents in regards to their ways of parenting in line with the Latino culture. They applied different means of control to ensure that the children embrace obedient and respect. They used directing, modeling, protection and monitoring to instill deep cultural values in their children. Through modeling, the parents have been able to set good examples by acting in a manner they expect their children to act. They keep close eyes on any activity conducted by the children so as to ensure they are always under control. They have always set clear rules to guide the children in the course of their growth and development. They were not afraid to used punitive control as a means to instill discipline in the children. Before they attain the age of 18, the parents were in full control of the decisions the children made.
The parents farther informed me that they are keen to impact good morals on their children as morality forms a cornerstone that binds the Latino culture together. They are deeply rooted to the Catholic Church faith owing to the fact that Latino culture is rich in religion and is based on a firm belief that the authority of God cannot be questioned. They have endeavored to teach their children to obey their elders and to respect the set rules as is expected of them by God and the community. However, they tend to disagree with some aspects of the culture such as the treatment of women as second class citizens. They have taught their daughters that they should not view themselves as lesser human beings to men but regard themselves as equal. Their daughters have been taught on the roles women as homemakers and to be respectful to their future husbands. They have learnt to be very careful when teaching their children societal values so as not to incorporate some elements of the culture that are deemed to be backward such as machismo.
The environment in which the children are brought up played a key role in regards to shaping their view of life and how they treat other people. I learnt that the family moved into the region purposely so that they can bring up their children in an area surrounded by Latinos. The move according to the parents was going to help them learn faster about the way of life of the Latinos so that they don’t deviate from them in their future lives. They wanted to take their children away from the American culture that focused less on valuing human interactions and wellbeing. Patagonia has a large population of Latinos hence it was a good choice for the parents so that their children will quickly learn the culture from their neighbors and friends. Being a laid back location, the family feels distant from the negative influences that characterize major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson. The children have developed a culture in which they undertake their daily roles and responsibilities will less hindrances as well as restrictions from their parents.
One major challenge that the family has faced is language barrier owing to the fact that the last two siblings have less understanding of the Hispanic language and many people in the region have less understanding of the English language. However, they are quickly learning the language and will soon be able to communicate without any problem. Another challenge is that the region has few developed schools hence the children have to travel long distances every morning to get to the nearest school. By embracing our culture, the children will be safe from the perils of modernization and will be careful with how they handle technology said their mother.
The Latinos have a great desire for their better lives for their children and it is this desire that has drove many of them to move into the United States. Most of them are living in the United States as illegal immigrants hence always under fear of being caught by the home land security department officials. Throughout the observation, I was able to learn the different aspects of the Latino culture. The family has tried to incorporate their culture in every aspect of their lives. The experience has taught me to respect and honor the culture of other groups. I have farther gained interest into learning the finer details of my culture.
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