Parenting Classes

South-East Asia Center provides immigrant parenting workshops at social service centers, battered women's shelters, and child care centers.

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 World.

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 in.

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 parenting issues.

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.


South-East Asia Center does not discriminate in admission to programs or treatment of employment in programs or activities in compliance with the Illinois Human Rights Act; the US Civil Rights Act Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; the Age Discrimination Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and the US and Illinois Constitution.

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