, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 255-278
Date: 11 Sep 2010

Latina Mothers’ Cultural Beliefs About Their Children, Parental Roles, and Education: Implications for Effective and Empowering Home-School Partnerships

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Abstract

Parents’ cultural beliefs about children, education, and their caregiving roles can influence both the parent–child and parent-school relationships. Given the centrality of the mother–child relationship in Mexican families, mothers were situated as experts in their children’s development and education in the present investigation. Specifically, the childrearing and educational beliefs of six immigrant Latina mothers (five Mexican, one South American) of first-grade children were examined, as well as their beliefs about their roles in their children’s lives. Qualitative descriptive analyses revealed the women’s belief in the centrality of the maternal role, as well as the traditional cultural values of familismo and educación. Five themes that further illuminated the nature and functions of mothers’ cultural beliefs were generated; namely, the salience of relationships with significant others in achieving in school. Educators and schools might well build on this knowledge to create spaces that are open to the perspectives of Latina mothers, and to forge more effective and empowering partnerships with Latino/a families in children’s early and later school years.