Latinos and the parenting role: An investigation of perceptions, behaviors, and acculturation

Adriana Maria Franco, Pace University


Parents' perceptions regarding their role as children's caretakers are influential in child development. The parent development theory (PDT) is a framework through which parenting perceptions and frequency of behaviors can be conceptualized and understood (Mowder, 2005). The PDT proposes six characteristics (i.e., bonding, discipline, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity) of the parent role which vary in emphasis as children develop. Parenting from the PDT framework has been studied with various populations, but not with the growing Latino population. Much of the research with Latinos reveals parents have similar parenting aspirations as the mainstream; however, these aspirations may not be attained due to a variety of social-cultural factors. Thus, while Latino parents may seem to share similar parenting perceptions as the U.S. mainstream culture, their behaviors may indicate otherwise (Garcia Coll & Patcher, 2002). In addition, research suggests one issue which may influence parenting is level of acculturation. The purpose of this study was to explore Latino parents' perceptions regarding their role and investigate whether they differ compared to the U.S. mainstream. Perceptions within the Latino sample were also examined to see if they differ in ratings of importance and frequency of the six PDT parenting behaviors, and if these perceptions are related to parents' acculturation level. The study participants consisted of both Latino and Non-latino samples, each group from suburban, middle class communities. Results indicated differences in ratings of importance, particularly with education, which was rated higher by Latinos than non-Latinos. Amongst the Latino participants, differences were revealed between ratings of importance and frequency based on age and education, as well as acculturation level. This research has implications for educators and mental health professionals, providing more knowledge regarding Latino values, the role of parenting, and potential influences on the parent-child relationship.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Cognitive psychology|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Franco, Adriana Maria, "Latinos and the parenting role: An investigation of perceptions, behaviors, and acculturation" (2008). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3326003.



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