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Respecting Cultural Differences in Care
August 1, 2002
Always assume each and every person wants to do a better job and grow.
-Steve Farrar

In the July 2002 issue of Child Care Information Exchange, Renatta Cooper contributed a thoughtful article on how parents and caregivers need to work together even when they do not share the same views on some child rearing issues. For example, she noted that if most parents in the US were asked to list the traits they hope their children will exhibit, "independence would be in the top ten." However, for families who are recent immigrants, they may not place as much importance on independence. Renatta shared an example from her experience:

"Caregivers, particularly in group settings, encourage independent, self-care behavior among children. Parents may not follow through with this independent behavior at home, because of the time it takes, or because they prefer to think of their children as young and dependent. I can remember a three year old name Zack who was in the child care program at Pacific Oaks. His mother worked close by and would join him for lunch at least once a week. When she joined him, Zack would sit at the table while his mother took his lunch box out of his cubby, opened his lunch items, and prompted him to eat. He did these things on his own, like all the other children, when his mother was absent. His mother, Bea, was honest about her behavior, 'He's my baby; I don't want to see him so grown up yet.'"

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