Parenting interventions are aimed at teaching parents how to engage with their children in positive and adaptive ways in order to achieve a behaviorally and emotionally harmonious and productive outcome for both the child and parent. For minority parents, management training strategies that do not include culturally relevant topics and values may not be as effective as culturally enhanced interventions. Jose Ruben Parra-Cardona of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University was concerned with how traditional interventions based on the Euro-American culture would impact the parenting characteristics of Latinos. Latino children are more vulnerable to negative mental health issues than their peers because of the discrimination and ethnic differences they experience. Rates of depression, suicide, academic problems, substance abuse, and anxiety are higher for Latino adolescents than their Euro-American equivalents. For his study, Parra-Cardona chose to enroll 24 Latino parents in one of two parenting management training courses to gauge his results.
The first management program was based on the Parent Management Training Oregon model (PMTO) and was entitled CAPAS: Raising Children with Love, Promoting Harmony and Self-Improvement. The PMTO version has been used for nearly half a century with positive results. Parents who have participated in PMTO have successfully helped their children overcome negative behaviors that have been shown to be maintained long-term. The second program was a culturally enhanced version of CAPAS that stressed Latino cultural values.
Parra-Cardona assessed the parents after they completed either the CAPAS-enhanced or CAPAS and found that core issues such as discipline and skill building were equally beneficial for both groups. The parents in the enhanced program reported high levels of positive feedback due to the focus on culturally relevant topics such as immigration. They also noted that they felt the program could be improved by increasing the amount of time dedicated to cultural issues that impact their ability to parent effectively through a broad range of experiences and challenges such as discrimination. “Furthermore, and according to Latino parents’ own voices, qualitative data confirmed that culture informs their lives in profound ways and remains at the core of their most relevant parenting experiences,” said Parra-Cardona.
Parra-Cardona, J. R., Domenech-Rodriguez, M., Forgatch, M., Sullivan, C., Bybee, D. (2012). Culturally adapting an evidence-based parenting intervention for Latino immigrants: The need to integrate fidelity and cultural relevance. Family Process, 51.1, 56-72.
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