The Parenting Dilemma
The Parenting Dilemma
While parenting is itself a challenging task, it is even more so for parents of color. One of the biggest challenges that parents of color face is what they tell their children about their race. The country’s history, marred by slavery, discrimination and racism, has an effect on current parenting as the parents themselves have probably experienced instances of racism and discrimination. Parents therefore face the challenge of overcoming subjectivity when raising their children, instead striving for an ideal where race is not an issue. Bringing up confident, achieving, children of color is a challenge for the parents as for a long time, black skin color was not something to be proud of in America. In addition, parents have to deal with the challenge of racial socialization, ensuring that their children interact and relate with children from other races while maintaining a positive cultural identity (Staples & Johnson, 1993).
In addition to the country’s unpleasant history and stereotypes, parents of color also face economic problems, much more than their Caucasian counterparts. Statistically, black and other colored families have a lower income than white families (Staples & Johnson, 1993). Most welfare recipients, in relation to the size of the race, are black families. This shows that black families have an even harder challenge of ensuring that their children’s economic needs are met. These needs include proper diet, schooling and proper health. When compared to white families, there is a significant difference observed in the family income of black families. The economic challenge is linked to even more challenges experienced by parents of color.
One of these challenges linked to economy is the neighborhood. The highest percentage of people in relation to their number in most low-income inner-city neighborhoods is that of colored people. Parents of color therefore face an increased challenge in ensuring that their children who grow up in these neighborhoods grow up to be responsible people. Some of the problems parents of color face in these neighborhoods include crime, violent behavior, substance abuse, illiteracy and sexual transmitted diseases (Staples & Johnson, 1993). These challenges associated with the low-income communities have to be addressed or avoided by parents of color trying to bring up responsible children. Also associated with the neighborhood is the mental outlook that parents hope to pass on to their children. Because conditions in these neighborhoods are tough, individuals are more prone to developing a negative attitude on life. Parents of color also have to address this challenge when bringing up their children.
An additional challenge faced by parents of color is that of single parenthood. Statistics show that there are more black families headed by a single parent more than there are Caucasian families (Staples & Johnson, 1993). This adds more pressure on the single parent, who not only has to provide financially for the family, but who has to provide emotionally, intellectually and socially as well. While all single parents regardless of color face these challenges, single parents of color face additional challenges that are unique to their situation. These include those discussed above such as racial identity and socialization, economy and low-income neighborhoods. Additionally, single parents of color have to deal with stereotypes associated with them such as being on welfare, having a drug problem, or being teen parents (Staples & Johnson, 1993). While it is true that that may be the case statistically, stereotyping does not aid the situation and single parents of color have to overcome this challenge.
Finally, parents of color also face the challenge of being in unique parenting situations. These include grandparents raising their grandchildren, step parenthood and other forms of surrogate parenting. Statistics indicate that most parents in these situations are black parents, who for one reason or another have taken other parents’ children to raise as their own. These situations are more in black families due to such factors as higher prison rates, higher teenage-pregnancy incidences and higher poverty rates.
Staples, R., & Johnson, L. B. (1993). Black families at the crossroads: Challenges and prospects. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.