Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Parental Involvement in Their Children's Education

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Parental Involvement in Their Children's Education

Article excerpt

In a society with continuous advertising, digital apps to find the best stuff for the best price, plentiful credit card offers and equally plentiful title loan companies, what are we teaching Latino children about money?

In low-income Hispanic families, die talk about money is often about scarcity - not having enough. If only there were more, things would be better (and in many cases that is true but only partially). Money is often the goal itself. In middle-income Latino families, money talk is often about acquisition - which digital device, clothing or vehicle one owns. For many in that niche, possessions are a way of telling others how well one has done (it is often more a measure of spending than of wealth and is often inversely proportionate to self-esteem - the unhappier you are, the more you spend since there are never enough possessions if you are miserable). And for those with slighdy more money (and usually more education), the talk might be about die return on investment and diversification. Money is viewed as a means, a way to enjoy other things of value. It is not prized for its own sake but for the access it gives to a life of options. Travel, art, education and possessions that rise in value are measures of doing well. So is doing what you want to do.

Regardless of parental income, Latino children need to learn about money through intentional teaching. Parents talking rationally about money as a part of life, explaining fina ncial processes and teaching by example are die most powerful ways to help children to develop healthy fiscal attitudes. The Jump Start Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy emphasizes diat teaching must be age-appropriate: taught when the child is ready to understand and use the concepts. Latino kindergarteners learn that money buys what things they desire and begin to figure out ways to earn, and school age children can learn the difference between a wage and a salary; middle school Latinos can learn about earned versus unearned income and die role of government support; high school students can understand compensation and benefits and determine what it will take to support the lifestyle diey want. Understanding credit, planning and saving, and recognizing the responsibilities associated with having money are the other concepts children should be explicitly taught.

The primary lessons, however, are conveyance of assumptions, which will underlie a Latino child's lifelong relationship with money. First, money - like time and energy - is a resource. Since resource management is mathematically based, teach the Latino child math first in developmentally appropriate ways and relate it later to money. Young children, for example, learn concepts of quantity early through counting. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing are taught as basic mathematical functions by using hands-on manipulation of objects. A child may not realize they are learning math, but the adult is teaching it - intentionally and widi a long-range goal in mind. Madi becomes less intimidating to people when it is useful and when they are familiar with it. Teach children the basics and application of math in daily living and understanding and managing money follows.

Next, teach Hispanic children the difference between needs and wants. …

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