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Newcomer Parenting in Canada

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In a heart-to-heart conversation with Lis Marroquin Jilani, an experienced Early Childhood Educator, we explored the intricacies of parenting and the evolving dynamics of communication within families, particularly in cultural differences. Lis, with her extensive background in childcare and education, shared profound insights on discipline, communication, and the importance of embracing diversity in parenting approaches.

Lis began by addressing the cultural nuances surrounding discipline, emphasizing the shift away from physical punishment. She noted that some families, even in Canada, still adhere to traditional disciplinary methods, showcasing the need for ongoing education. Lis highlighted her experience running a home daycare for a decade, encountering parents who held onto traditional disciplinary values despite residing in a diverse country. Her mission became clear – to educate and bridge the gap between traditional and progressive parenting approaches.

One of the key challenges she identified is the tendency to focus on the negative aspects of parenting rather than celebrating the positives. Lis attributed this to the upbringing she and many others experienced, where acknowledgment of achievements was sparing. In her view, cultural differences play a role, with some cultures placing a stronger emphasis on constructive feedback and encouragement.

Reflecting on her personal journey, Lis delved into the barriers created by cultural and generational gaps. She admitted withholding information from her parents during her younger years due to fear and discomfort. However, she acknowledged the positive shift towards more open communication within families today, particularly in Canada. Lis stressed the importance of parents actively engaging with their children on their level, building trust from an early age.

Lis’s advice to parents revolved around embracing vulnerabilities. She encouraged parents to show their true emotions, demonstrating that it’s okay to feel sad or express oneself. Lis emphasized that by doing so, children witness the process of overcoming challenges, fostering a healthier understanding of emotional well-being.

As an advocate for positive parenting, Lis shared her approach to addressing misbehaviour. Instead of traditional punitive methods, she emphasized communication and understanding consequences logically. Lis believes in talking to children about everything, including potentially challenging topics. By fostering open communication, parents can guide their children through decisions, helping them understand the consequences and complexities of various choices.

Lis underscored the importance of education for parents, particularly newcomers. She highlighted the plethora of resources available, from programs like Circle of Security to Positive Parenting initiatives. Lis urged parents to tap into these resources, emphasizing that knowledge empowers parents to shape their children’s future positively.

Lis’s insights serve as a guiding light for parents navigating the complex journey of parenthood, emphasizing the significance of open communication, cultural awareness, and continuous education in shaping the next generation.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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