Strict parenting is a cultural norm among Latinx families. There are strict rules and high expectations placed on Latinx children that are meant to be the formula for creating a well-mannered and obedient child that won’t disrespect their authoritative figures while also having the intention to put their children on the track to success.
A study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin focuses on the consequences that strict parenting can have on Latinx children starting at a young age and that can carry on throughout a child’s life.
The study expands on the idea that children that come from a home of hostile, emotionally closed off and commanding parents can be detrimental to the life and future of their children because they don’t receive the support they need starting at a young age which can be essential to their mental growth and could aid them to be successful academically and in life. The consequence of children having authoritarian parents is being five times more likely to be at risk for depression and anxiety than non-Latinx children.
This kind of strict parenting is tricky to handle because it has been deeply rooted in the Latinx culture for a very long time and has been furthered by other cultural values of respeto, familismo and machismo.
Authoritarian parenting goes deeper than not allowing their children to participate in sleepovers or needing to know exactly who they are with at all times. The cultural value of respeto is simply respecting one’s elders and creating a sense of hierarchy whereas familismo goes a bit further by making oneself completely loyal to their family, even putting their family’s needs above their own. However, familismo is not always a bad thing as it can also bond an entire family and have a good effect on mental health.
Gender can have a lot to do with just how strict Latinx parents are on their children. If machismo is deeply ingrained within a family, it can cause young girls to be at the forefront of their strict parenting practices.
Partially because women were seen as the weaker sex and partially because machismo has been deeply ingrained in Latinx homes, young girls can be subject to unfair treatment by being seen as inferior and expecting them to act in a manner that wouldn’t bring shame upon herself or her family. On the other hand, the boys in a family are praised to embrace their masculinity and always be prideful. The brutal treatment of women happens both inside and outside of family settings and has become a pressing problem in Latinoamerica.
Parents expect their children to be well-mannered, academically successful and obedient and they utilize these cultural values as ways to fit their children into that mold whether they understand the impact that their strictness can have mentally and physically or not. It’s important to understand the consequences that can stem from authoritarian parenting because it won’t only affect a child in their younger years but can be carried into adulthood as well.