Matters Helping All Parents: Cultural Competency Week 1

Cultural competence consists of knowledge and interpersonal skills that help people better understand, appreciate and work with individuals from cultures other than their own.  Culture does not just refer to nationality.  It can refer to ethnicity, nationality, language, religion and many other factors.

To help yourself as a parent in addressing cultural issues with your child(ren) consider the following:

  1. Use the Platinum Rule. We are all familiar with the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would wish to be treated”.  This helps us to build community. When building cultures, there is an added rule that is important to follow.  The Platinum Rule states, “Treat others the way they wish to be treated”. This means, it is important to learn and acknowledge others’ feelings, experiences and opinions.  When we can treat others not based on our assumptions about their experiences, we learn how to interact with others in a truly respectful way.
  2. Be aware of generalizations and of categorizing people into groups. Do not assume anything! Part of the beauty is learning to understand and appreciate different cultures, perspectives and experiences. Try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions about others.  Rather engage, listen and experience what others have to offer.
  3. Do not be afraid to ask questions. The best policy is to ask clarifying questions
  4. English is not the official language of the United States. While English is recognized as the United States’ dominant language, it has never been declared the official language.
  5. Learning cultural competence involves more than developing an attitude of “let’s just all get along and tolerate each other”. Cultural competence skills allows us to learn, appreciate, and understand our own cultural differences that we bring into any interaction with another person. We can have a clearer understanding of our own worldviews, attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. Being culturally competent helps us to move beyond just being tolerant of others to a place of respect for everyone.