The associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University co-authored a new study which found that parents who continue to emphasize ethnic and cultural identity in their children beyond the age of 18 are doing a great service to their kids’ lives.
We found that, in general, ethnic minorities — including Latinos, Asian-Americans and mixed ethnic groups — tend to show strong ethnic identity, more than that of European or white American groups. We also found for white students, if their parents did engage in cultural socialization, they tended to explore their cultural background even in higher levels than in minority families.
How does emphasizing ethnicity help shape a young adult? It is beneficial … in terms of [one’s] feelings about themselves. There is more life satisfaction [and] self-esteem, and less depression. Humans are social. We need to feel like we belong to a group. We need that to survive.
What can parents do to engage their adult children? [Parents] should continue to engage in discussions about their culture, such as celebrating cultural traditions and holidays, and make sure that is available to their children.