10 Things Latino Immigrant Parents Want You to Know
There is a force in Latino immigrant parents that we cannot explain.
Every day we see in the news, on social media, or even with our neighbors how the Latino culture has become more visible and has more recognition and acceptance.
And though thousands of Latino families are already established in our country, much work must be done to ensure they live safely.
Today, we want to show you a bit about those families. Then, we want to discuss Latino’s charisma, strength, and joy.
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Importance of Latino Family Culture
There is no doubt. The journey of millions of Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Venezuelans, Paraguayans, Cubans, and people from other countries in the Caribbean, Central, and South America has been difficult.
We see resilient Latinos who have settled in our country to have a better life and provide for their families.
That is why it’s very important to know their motivations, desires, history, and where they come from.
But above all, we have to learn to value their knowledge, culture, and all the positive things they bring to our lives and the US.
10 Things Relevant to Latino Immigrant Parents
It’s time to learn more about things that matter for Latino parents who migrate.
1. Family Values
Family values in Latin America are different from those taught in the US.
When Latino parents raise their children in a country where people speak a different language, practice different religions, and have values, parenting styles can change.
According to an NCBI article, the values of Latin American families are focused on family.
The way Latinos raise their children varies as they adjust to life in a new country.
Meeting and hanging out with people from other ethnicities often alters the values of Latino immigrant families.
This can threaten their values but also help reduce the gap between the different ethnic groups.
2. Language Barriers
According to a document called ”Parenting Challenges and Resilience of Latino Immigrant Parents,” learning a new language can be the most challenging thing Latinos face in the US.
Some parents struggle if their children learn English before they do, as it empowers them and allows them to live away from them.
Furthermore, Latino parents fear that when their children become more fluent in English, they will be embarrassed to speak Spanish.
In 2019, 4 in 10 Latinos said they experienced discrimination for speaking Spanish publicly.
Language became a barrier in many aspects of their lives since it limited them from helping their children with their homework, finding a job, or even a place to live.
Some parents argue that language will always be a challenge in their daily life.
3. Food and Cuisine
Immigrant moms often feel responsible for giving their children a healthy diet and cooking traditional foods. They do so to maintain their cultural identity.
This has become a difficult thing to do since kids are constantly exposed to canned, frozen, and fast foods.
Latin food has been a part of American culture since the 19th century; over time, the American palate has grown fond of it.
For example, in the 90s, Mexican food was placed at the top of the most consumed ethnic foods in the US.
Latin dishes in the United States change constantly because people exchange recipes with their neighbors or discover new ingredients to incorporate into their foods.
Despite the evolution in Latin food, restaurants, food trucks, and dinners owned by immigrant families represent the definitive integration into the country they’re living in.
4. Health Care
For migrant Latino families, the United States represents a place where they can earn more money and access better health care.
A study by the Pew Research Center argued that 69% of Latinos say they have access to better health services than relatives who live in their country of origin.
However, Latinos in the US still struggle to have access to proper medical care.
Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA are programs that support families with limited resources, but not everyone has the money available to afford them.
That is why Latino parents constantly fear whether they’ll be able to provide health services to their children.
Latino parents are concerned about keeping their children healthy since they don’t know if they can pay for medicine or a hospital bill.
We often see videos online of Latino immigrants facing acts of discrimination in the United States.
Because of these hostile interactions, Latino children are at risk of emotional distress, limited financial opportunities, and increased social isolation.
These negative practices particularly affect Latino parents of lower income. And this can affect their children’s development.
One study shows that Latino immigrant families are not prepared to discuss discrimination with their children, which affects their parenting practices.
That is why parents constantly teach their children about family values and Latino culture, and to be proud of their roots, as this reinforces their self-esteem and confidence.
A report titled “Hispanic Workers in the United States” says that in 2014 there were close to 24 million Hispanic workers in the US; 14.9 million were Mexican.
About half of the 24 million were immigrant workers born in Honduras, Panama, Bolivia, Paraguay, and many more countries.
Traditionally, Latino immigrant parents work in a wide variety of industries. But commonly, they work low-paying jobs.
Some of the challenges they face include losing their job without notice, language barriers, little access to health care or retirement benefits, low wages, and having to accept high-risk jobs.
The values taught at Latino families’ homes are vital if we want children to have positive results in their education.
However, some factors can put the academic performance of immigrant Latino children at risk. These are risks that non-immigrant children rarely face.
Immigrant families are 1.5 times more likely to live in poverty.
Additionally, 26% of immigrant children live in homes where relatives don’t speak English, and a third of immigrant children have mothers who didn’t graduate from high school.
This is why, despite their academic strengths, many immigrant children fail to show proficiency in reading and math.
We see a more hopeful panorama now: 26% of the new Latino immigrants who arrived in the United States have at least a bachelor’s degree.
This can help reduce the gap between non-immigrant adults and immigrants who can now get jobs that require other skills and, therefore, a higher income.
8. Arts and Sports
There are many Spanish-language media, such as Univision and Telemundo. They’re focused on the Latino community in the US, keeping a sense of belonging to immigrant Latino families.
These spaces in media allow Latino parents to be in contact with what’s happening in their home countries and even keep up with soccer results.
They can watch their accomplished Latino athletes and teach their kids about other Latino artists who have managed to make a career and have an impact in the United States.
For example, Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean rhythms helped Americans create jazz. With time, radio stations started introducing Latin Song charts which, in turn, gave life to the Latin Grammy Awards.
Artists like Bad Bunny, Shakira, Marc Anthony, and Camila Cabello have collaborated with American musicians like Beyoncé and Gorillaz and have had a great impact on modern music.
For Latino immigrant parents, it’s very important to keep the traditions and customs of their country of origin alive.
This helps them feel close to home, that they have a place in the world, and identify as part of a community.
Changing countries, cultures, and languages can be a shock to immigrant families.
Although some already celebrate American traditions such as Thanksgiving, they work hard to preserve their culture.
“And what about Cinco de Mayo?” you may ask.
That is an American holiday that only Americans and Chicanos celebrate.
Due to the number of immigrants living in the United States, Americans have also begun to perceive the influences of Latino families. As a result, some have even started to celebrate their traditions.
Día de los muertos, eating tamales at Christmas, or listening to mariachis for birthdays are some of the most famous things Americans have adopted from Latin American culture.
One of the most important pillars of immigrant Latino families is religion.
According to a report called ”The Effect of Immigration on Religious Belief and Practice,” 67% of Latino immigrants living in the US are Christians, and 17% consider themselves Protestants.
The practice of the religion of Latino immigrant families can vary on many factors.
Although religion is an important part of Latino identity, the percentages have decreased in recent years, and many new immigrants no longer identify with a specific religion.
Learn More About Latino Culture Through the Spanish Language!
Each of the 10 things we detailed above is important to Latino families.
If you learn more about them, you will discover that Latino culture is full of great, ancestral, and modern richness.
We invite you to continue learning more about Latino culture, and the best way to do it is by learning Spanish!
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