Immigrant Latino Family

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According to socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds families must develop different strategies and dynamics for raising children.

In the case of immigrant families, the challenges are more complicated since they have to negotiate influences of culture and environment and as well incorporate their family history and ethnic cultural values, beliefs, and practices.

Media practices play a big role in the process of negotiation and family dynamics. Media could be used in many ways, with different purposes. How do latino youth families use new media? How does media usage shape the assimilation process? How does media is related to expectations, aspiration, and goals? Which dimension of the assimilation process is fostered by media practices?

Immigrant Family

The family is crucial in the process of assimilation and immigration. Immigrants have shared values such as hard work and optimism about the future. Even immigrants from different ethnicities share these values. They have optimism and achievement orientation but that could be limited according to their socioeconomic status, environment, etc. (Suarez-Orozco M. 2005, Falicov 1998, Rumbaut 1996)

Structure of support is built over time.

  • Acculturation requires gaining social and cultural skills and work habits.

"mantaining a sense of belonging and social cohesion with their immigrant roots is equally important. (...) When immigrant children lose their expressive culture, social coehesion is weakened, parental authoricy is undermined, and interpersonal relations suffer." (17)

  • Hard work and optimism about the future: reasons of immigration and strategy. "Their most fundamental motivation is to find better life, and they tend to view hard work as essential to this. That many immigrants do the impossible jobs native workers refuse to consider is an indication of just how hard they are willing to work." (Suarez-Orozco M. 2005)

Challenges, goals, mobility.

Family stress processes and parenting practices.

Brokering practices.

Marginality and disadvantage.

Lower status of immigrant. Lower position in society.

New media consumption: computer, internet, mobile.

What is the role of immigrants parents as guides and regulators regarding new media uses? youth participation in new media environment, practices?

Limited previous experiences with new media, with digital technologies. Sometimes with very limited literacies even in their own language.

Rules, regulations, managament, rewards.

How does new media use and environment at home create a particular kind of assimilation pathway? a particular kind of acculturation? Not the media alone but the uses of it, the parenting styles.

The world of the home. Position of power of parents, and position of power of children. PRactices, discourses, tools. IT is also a world, and a very important one for immigrant families given their language, culture, food, etc.

New media practices and skills. How are they distributed at home? What kind of skills? searching? consumption? Playing? Who has the skills? How do they use them for assimilating?

Is the internet an alien world for the parents? an American world? Did they know they could connect with families in mexico? did they take advantage of that?

Media incorporation shaped by class? culture? education? family identity? family reputation?

Do they use new media for personal, familial, and socially meaningful ends? For persanal yes, not that much for familial and social.

PAtterns of cultural consumption.

Acculturation as a family process, rather than as merely an individual psychological phenomenon.

Segmented Assimilation and Acculturation

Assimilation to specific segments of the US society.

Different acculturation styles and parent-children relationships, are thought to be related to different assimilation trajectories: Consonant, selective and dissonant. The latter involved moving downward and becoming marginalized.

Parent-youth differential acculturation has been studied by immigration scholars.


In a broader sense includes participation across many realms. Researchers have measured quantitatively as the gaining of linguistic skills, job skills, participation in political process. Qualitative measures such as values, worldviews, interpersonal relationships have also been analyzed.

Assimilation to what?

Latino/Hispanic family

It has been studied in the US by psycologists, sociologists, educators, and learning scientists.

Extensive literature on Latino parental control and youth development, has focused on the cultural aspects of latino parenting, especially in goals such as: familismo (familism), respeto (respect), and educación (moral education).

In the MExican culture, as well as in other Latino American cultures, the family system is an integral part of the person's sense of self. Family ties are strong.

The study of Hispanic/Latino families in the USA, and specifically, of Mexican American homes has been the topic of a prolific scholarly research since the 1980s. Sociologists, economists, anthropologists, educators, and geographers have been studying the hispanic/latino domestic sphere in order to understand processes of acculturation, migration, labor, social mobility, population grow, and educational attainment. A common theme that crosses all this research work is the one of inequality. Social scientists agree that the Hispanic/Latino families, and its members are protagonists of major gaps existing in the USA society. According to their sociodemographic characteristics lag behind non-Hispanic/Latinos. For instance, according to the official government data from 1990 and 2000, Hispanics/Latinos, and particularly Mexicans, have the lowest educational attainment (lowest high school completion rate) (Chapa, J., & de la Rosa, B. (2004)).

It is precisely in the field of schooling and education where most social scientists have tried to understand the inequalities that affect Hispanic/Latino families. The poor attendance records, low test scores, high drop-out rates, and small numbers going on to post secondary education, are signs of the disadvantage of Hispanic/Latinos compared to other groups. Some scholars have pointed out that an important cause of this attainment gap is the disconnection between parents and the USA school system. That is Hispanic/Latino families have different conceptualizations of parent and school responsibilities than the middle-class Anglos (Valdes 1996, Delgado- Gaitan 1990, Visquez et al. 1994). Other scholars have pointed out that Hispanic/Latinos regularly face inside USA schools racism and the burdens of being working class and speaking a minority language (Foley, 1990; Vasquez et al., 1994; Suirez-Orozco and Suirez-Orozco, 1995; Romo and Falbo, 1996; and ValdCs, 1996). Hence, schooling and education are paradoxically understood as places where inequalities are reproduced.

characteristics of hispanic/latino families

  • Importance of Education
  • Language
  • Personal Space
  • Time Orientation
  • Familism
  • Bien/Mal Educado
  • Collectivism
  • Simpatia
  • Respeto


The analysis of these there families is useful for understanding what some scholars have called "familism." That is the series of attitudes, behaviors, and family structure influencing the lives of Hispanic/Latinos (Cooley, 2001; Parra-Cardona, Bulock, Imig, Villarruel, & Gold, 2006). The strong sense of family orientation, obligation, and cohesion is something that has been associated with the disconnection between the USA schooling system and the Hispanic/Latino families. Familism has been understood as an obstacle to acculturation progresses and as a limitation to educational attainment (Cortes 1995). An important question we would like to answer, is how a notion of connected learning can actually work for Hispanic/Latino families. How can connected learning address multiculturalism and bilingualism?

Analysis and Findings

  • Social class backgrounds frame and transform individual actions and process of assimilation.
  • American culture individualism renders invisible the key role of institutions. System is not fair, and not neutral.
  • Inequality is shaping the future, opportunities, and pathways since early age.
  • injustices inherent in our existing socio-economic arrangements
  • upward mobility? downward?
  • Material and social inequalities that shape immigrant youth live in the U.S
  • second generation advantage? for some yes, as in the case of Gabriela and Inara.
  • the problem of inequality and the disparities in wealth and access.
  • Discrepancies in access to economic, social, cultural, material, human resources.
  • new media continue to contribute to produciton and reproduction of class, gender, racial

ineqaliities in U.S.


Marín, G. & Marín, B. V. O. (1991). Research with Hispanic populations. Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol. 23. London: Sage Publications