Parenting Across Cultures Julie Randolph ECE 355 Instructor Megan Commito September 12, 2023 Parenting Across Cultures Raising Children The diverse parenting seen within the film Babies (2010) shows how parenting in other countries may differ from what is considered normal parenting within the United States. Geographical location, health and safety hazards, available resources, and family dynamics all affect the roles these parents have in their children's upbringing. The birthing methods, feeding methods, hygiene practices, and meaningful interactions these families have are a direct result of cultural values and traditional practices. Unfounded fears and hysteria brought on by media coverage have shaped parenting practices in the United States. In many cases, some of these fears may be related to criminal 1
PARENTING ACROSS CULTURES 2 liability should a child become injured or sick while in the care of their parents or guardians. In the dominant American subcultures, which are embracing safety-conscious parenting strategies that might once have been viewed with disapproval as "overprotective" parenting, intensive parenting is becoming the norm (Pimentel, 2012). In short, regulation of acceptable child rearing depends upon the environment the child is raised in. This fact inspires reflection on how my children would develop if raised in another environment. The lack of supervision and exposure to the elements alarms me in some of these environments, but this is likely to stem from the severe differences to my own upbringing and understanding of how to safely care for a child. Culture & Play A family's cultural background will shape how and by whom the child is raised. Culture directly affects family roles, communication patterns, emotional styles, and beliefs pertaining to individual autonomy, individualism, collectivism, spirituality, and religiosity (Murry, Smith, & Hill, 2001). Many scenes of the film showed early interactions with a newborn baby, and these scenes presented the involvement and role of each parent. In many instances, the earliest connectivity is between the mother and infant. In some cultural settings, the father is scarcely present. All cultures presented an early bond between mother and baby. This may be attributed to the parental roles set forth by their culture and the division of provisional responsibilities. In other words, the children are nurtured and cared for by one parent so that the other parent may take on the role of provider. As the children grew, the need for learning through play also grew. Each child learned through interactions with others and individual exploration. The objects and obstacles they used
PARENTING ACROSS CULTURES 3 for playing varied, but each child celebrated victories and reacted to setbacks in the same manner. Interactions with animals were similar in nature, as well. Each child also began to babble or mimic the speech they heard from others. Language development is a complex process that combines several factors, including supportive social and linguistic context that foster communication (Wardle & Fitzpatrick, 2016, 4.4). The importance of verbal communication from parents was seen throughout the film. Central Themes This film has influenced my view of nurturing a child by addressing social and environmental impacts in various cultures and settings. The importance of play and exploration was expressed throughout the film, and I am grateful for the opportunity to witness distinct types of parenting and parental involvement. This will influence my diversity plan by providing depth to my understanding of responsible parenting that differs from my own. This film also solidifies my perspective concerning the importance of infant milestones and growth observation. A central theme of this film could be narrowed down to both "cultural diversity in early childhood development" and "nurturing families from across the globe."
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