South-East Asia Center provides immigrant parenting
workshops at social service centers, battered women's shelters, and child
Many immigrants have learned parenting skills from rural,
traditional societies. Many parenting methods which worked in that Old
World may no longer work in the often radically different urban,
technological, rapidly changing heterogeneous New World.
Often, wives and children who held a lower status in the
Old World, jump to the top of the status totem pole in the New World.
Men’s dominant authority historically based upon physical strength
rather than verbal skills, in the New World becomes a handicap. Accustomed
to a position of unquestioned authority, men find that their rigidity and
lack of well developed verbal facility is dysfunctional in learning
English, in learning to upgrade technologically outmoded skills and in
learning a radically different culture where flexibility and communication
skills become all-important in the rapidly changing technological
heterogeneous world. Women and children known in most cultures for their
flexibility and language skills are much better able to adapt to a new
culture. For many immigrant families this transition is difficult, and
parenting ability and authority is severely undermined.
Where old and tradition were esteemed, in the New World
young and new are revered. Tradition and authority are replaced by
knowledge and understanding. This is a revelation made easier by cross
culturally sensitive teachers at South-East Asia Center who help
immigrants better understand both their Old World and their New
Frustrations of life in America for new immigrants are
often with no outlet and no traditional village or clan support network.
Meanwhile, the traditional culture's inability to benefit from Western
therapies or short sighted acculturative efforts can lead to explosively
abusive situations for both wives and children. Men become unable to
function in the new mode and feelings of uselessness and depression sets
SEAC’s approach bridges cultures not through
preserving the old culture’s mores or through promoting the new
culture’s mores. Rather SEAC fosters an understanding of both
cultures and why people parent and otherwise act the way they do in each
culture. Only such understanding can provide the basis for rational
decision making and self confidence based on ability to see and
understand reality. Rather than presenting a list of do’s and
don’ts, SEAC fosters cross cultural thinking skills to help parents
make their own decisions about what is right and effective.
Since its inception in January, 1998, the Cross cultural
Parenting Program has reached over 350 clients at eight sites. Clients
are offered up to 14 hours of services, including parenting workshops,
group discussion, problem- solving, and individual counseling on specific
South-East Asia Center’s model approach also
disseminates such cross cultural concepts and lessons through teacher
training, booklets and a teachers' manual.
Two parenting booklets on responsibility and obedience,
are translated into four languages.
You may request a Cross Cultural Parenting workshop or
series of workshops at your facility by contacting the Ainslie office.