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When we think of the many immigrant Latino, or other immigrant parents, who have experienced a prolonged separation from their youngsters and how many of them may be imbedded in the many groups that are taking parenting classes either on their own, or as a recommendation from a program, or from the child’s school, then it becomes so important to add to the regular curriculum of the parenting classes, segments that properly address the experience of reunification and its issues, as presented all through the posts in this site and eventually in workshops enclosed in the future book based on them. These parents desperately need for the presenters and experts who are imparting this training, to acknowledge and validate for them, how difficult it becomes to handle discipline and set limits when trust and bonding between parent and child is so fragile because of a long separation. These issues, which are so different from the family that has never separated, need to be incorporated. In this way we secure these parenting skills training to be effective and for the parent not to fall deeper into a road of despair, failure and discouragement. These parents do not know these children well enough in most instances and fears of rejection, guilt and even lack of experience dealing with an older child or a teenager, make the parenting experience so much more confusing. These feelings need to be acknowledged compassionately and truly accepted as normal by trainers and the parents need to know that they are not the only ones feeling them, but it happens so commonly under the circumstances of prolongued separation. The parenting trainers need then to be thoroughly familiar with the issues of the reunited immigrant family who is together after this long separation, to be able to guide these parents and respectfully understand their feelings. It becomes as challenging, if not more, than parenting for example, in the blended family, where there is divorce and remarriage. Perhaps we need to stop teaching parenting classes as if there is only one type of family that requires one formula,  instead of the myriads of different circumstances and compassionately acknowledge the differences and suggest adjustments and understanding for them, so that some families feel more seen.

 

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