Know Families and Their Cultures
How can you better know and understand families connected to your program?
Just like the youth you serve, no two families are alike. So your approach to understanding and connecting with each family, and understanding its culture, must be different and nuanced. Programs best support and utilize the talents of families when they understand their assets and challenges, act on their suggestions and ideas, and provide opportunities for families to take leadership and build efficacy.
Understanding families and their cultures takes time and effort. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Give families time to talk about themselves, their dreams and their needs.
- Don't make assumptions. Encourage cultural self-assessment and cross-cultural communication among staff, families and youth.
- Sponsor discussion groups, home visits and other activities that will help staff better understand and build relationships with families.
How can you find out what is important to parents?
Build informal relationships, and ask parents individually.
How can you learn about the cultural background of your students?
Find the cultural center in their communities, and participate in community events.
- 2Key Terms
- 3Family Engagement Diagram
- 4Why Is It Important?
- 5Great Benefits, Low Turnout
- 6Reasons Why Families Don't Connect
- 7Overcome Challenges
- 8Back to Basics
- 9Assess Your Family Engagement
- 10Plot Your Challenges
- 11Building Blocks of Family Engagement
- 12Build Relationships
- 13Communicate With Families
- 14Know Your Families
- 15Do's and Don'ts for a Welcoming Environment
- 16Understand the Cultures You Serve
- 17Be Open to Different Types of Engagement Activities
- 18Meet Family Needs
- 19Getting Input From Families
- 20Expand Services to Engage Families
- 21Four Key Types of Engagement
- 22Adult Development Activities
- 23Spotlight Topic: Drug and Alcohol Prevention
- 24Shared Activities for Students and Families
- 25Governance and Leadership Opportunities
- 26School and Community — Linking Activities
- 27Support Families
- 28Benefits of Family Engagement
- 29Working With Families in Rural Areas — Understand Needs
- 30Working With Families in Rural Areas — Strategies
- 31Working With Culturally Diverse Families — Understand Needs
- 32Working With Culturally Diverse Families — Strategies
- 33Working With Nontraditional Families — Understand Needs
- 34Working With Nontraditional Families — Strategies
- 35Special Challenges: Families Facing Drug and Alcohol Problems
- 36Keep It Going
- 37Learn More Library
- 40Check for Understanding
- 1Implementing Family Engagement
- 2Know Families and Their Cultures
- 3Know Families and Their Cultures — Coaching Moment
- 4Understand Challenges to Family Engagement
- 5Understand Challenges to Family Engagement — Coaching Moment
- 6Engage Families
- 7Create a Welcoming Environment
- 8Support Families
- 9Support Families — Coaching Moment
- 10Pull It Together
- 11Additional Resources