Child rearing is the process through which a child is nurtured and prepared for life as an adult and an independent member of the society (Ng, 2003). Child rearing is a long term process that involves the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of a child from childhood to adulthood (George and Rajan, 2012). Child rearing does not refer to the biological relationship between the child and the mother but the upbringing and the influence a community has on a child as they grow into adults. Cherokee is a native tribe who have distinct and unique cultural based child rearing processes and activities (Manataka American Indian Council. n.d). Raising a child plays a significant role by shaping the nature and character of a society people based on the processes and activities they are exposed to as they grow up (Ng, 2003). The unique cultural practices held by the Cherokee people also transpires to their unique child-rearing activities compared to the European and African American immigrants (Ojibwa, 2013). This presentation will establish the different childrearing practices amongst the Cherokee people and how this has been influenced by culture, interaction with other communities and globalization.
Child Rearing Practices and Parenting Style in Cherokee Tribe
Different child-rearing practices are adopted collectively or by individual families. Child-rearing practices have a significant impact on the development and behavior of children as adults. The rearing not only influences the development of the child personality but also helps in the adoption of culture and traditions prevailing in the community where the child grows (Alexander, n.d.). The socialization process of the child with the family and the community influence the child development regarding personality and behavior. Child-rearing practices are mainly influenced by the set of traditions and culture prevailing in the community where the child is born. There are different child-rearing approaches such as indulgent parents, authoritarian parents, authoritative parents, and uninvolved parents in contemporary cultures. In Cherokee native tribe, child-rearing follows a set of traditional and cultural elements that point towards a collective child rearing responsibility in which both the parents and the community has a role to play in the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual growth of children into adults (Ojibwa, 2013).
Parenting Styles, Attitudes and Behavior of Cherokee Parents
In the Cherokee traditional customs, children are viewed as an essential part of the family, and usually, there was collective parenting where the entire community was involved in one way or the other in the children life development (Manataka American Indian Council. n.d). In the early ages, children were under the mother's care and the immediate family which socially contributed immensely in the language development of the children through socialization. Mothers and the clan sisters were responsible for the parenting of girls whereas the boys were taken under the tutelage of the uncle from the mother's clan because the mother determined clannism and not the father (Ojibwa, 2013). Boys under the tutelage of their uncles were able to learn the clan traditions and customs as they were prepared for adulthood responsibilities whereas girls at the same time acquired essential women roles and traditions regulating their behavior such as the clan where they should consider getting a husband and necessary skills to take care of their future families (Manataka American Indian Council. n.d).
The discipline of the young boys who were the future of the tribe was carefully undertaken by the uncles and anything that was deemed as wrong was punishable using flagellation. After birth, both boys and girls were under the care of the mothers who could bathe them in a daily basis using warm water and anointed with oil usually from bear fat or the fats from the passenger pigeon (Nichols, 2004). Older women were consulted based on their wisdom during parenting, and the girls received education instruction regarding the cultural practices and behavior from the oldest aunt from the mother's side of the family (Ojibwa, 2013).
Young boys were required to wear panther skins to be courageous and have strength whereas girls wore doe skins which were aimed at making them more graceful (Mails, 1992). At eight years old, the young boys were required to hunt quails and rabbits to add to the family dinner which was preparing them for the responsibility of providing for their future families. Boys had more active lives compared to girls because they had to participate in archery, running, ball play, and weight lifting with the uncle' to build their strength and courage to be able to defend their future families (Mails, 1992). The punishment for going against the traditional community order was punishable by the uncles through scratching of backs, legs, and arms using snake's tooth. Therefore, character and personality were built by example, and word from the uncle's and the aunt's from the mother's side.
Although the eldest uncle and aunt were responsible for the children education and modeling of behavior other adult members of the community were also involved in mentoring the children to know the history and traditions of the community such as the spiritual matters (Mails, 1992). From the aunt's the girls learned how to decorate themselves using feathers whereas the boys learned from their uncles how to apply white, black, and red paint usually on ceremonial occasions (Stremlau, 2011). The role of the fathers in the lives of their sons was highly ceremonial because they were least involved in the rearing of the children because they came from different clans. The father's had no authority to punish their sons because it was the uncle's duties. Therefore, the parents of Cherokee children were indulgent and did not get into a confrontation with their children a role that was given to the oldest uncle and aunt. The children were required to nurse until the next pregnancy, and the mothers were only responsible for their children between birth and five years of their lives and mothers were not supposed to punish sons physically (Nichols, 2004).
Cultural Norms and Values Influence on Childhood Experiences
Cultural norms and values refer to a set of practices and beliefs that are held by a specific community. The childhood experiences in Cherokee native tribe were all idealized by the traditions and values passed from one generation to another. The children's father was an indulgent parent based on the traditions that allowed the clans where the children should belong to be dictated by the clan where the mother came from (Suzack, 2010). In this case, the father was deprived of the role of an assertive parent and could not have a personal relationship with the sons because they did not belong to a common tribe (Suzack, 2010). It was reasonable for the children uncles and aunts to admonish the children when they did wrong by scratching them with snake' teeth. The authority of the uncles and the aunts over their nephews and nieces was passed as a traditional culture amongst the Cherokee native tribe. The children grew up in the houses of their mother because traditionally it was a man who moved into a woman's house to begin a family (Suzack, 2010).
The Difference between Cherokee Child Rearing Practices and the Contemporary Practices
There is a significant difference between the contemporary child-rearing practices in the United States today due to the acculturation of the Cherokee Native Americans as they interact with European and African immigrants (Nelson, 2010). Children rearing today takes the course of authoritative and authoritarian parenting style, unlike the Cherokee uninvolved child rearing where there is collective parenting style with the extended families offering help to educate and socialize with the children (Merrie, 2016). Today, parents single-handedly raise their children in authoritative and authoritarian backgrounds where the only time the children are not under the care of their parents they are in schools. Authoritarian parenting approach seeks to regulate the behavior of the children with rules and punishments for breaking the rules. The children are taught to have absolute obedience to the authorities such as teachers in schools (Alexander, n.d.). Besides, unlike the case of Cherokee parenting style, the contemporary, diverse society fathers have an active role in the parenting of the children and the uncles and the aunts have a little influence in the upbringing of the children (Merrie, 2016). Today, collective child rearing has faded because most children are brought up in urban and semi-urban areas where there is low interaction at the community level compared to the Cherokee Native American tribe traditional collective children rearing (Cromer, Gray, Vasquez, and Freyd, 2018).
Globalization Effect on Child Rearing in Cherokee Native Tribe
Globalization and Acculturation
Globalization refers to the interdependence of global societies and cultures which has come about due to cross border commerce and interactions made possible by modern technology which allows people to share knowledge and adopt practices from each other (Ritzer, 2010). Globalization has led to the interlinkages between societies through shared cultural traditions and acculturation of other people mainly as societies choose the best child-rearing practices. Globalization has led to the adoption of international standards that regulate how children are brought up in the contemporary society mainly through the United Nations and other international bodies that have lobbied for international legislation that is binding such as early childhood development (Wells, 2015).
The arrival of the Europeans in North America had a significant impact on Cherokee child rearing cultural practices. The Europeans viewed their child-rearing practices as more superior which led to the imposition of the practices to the Cherokee Native tribe resulting in acculturation (Nelson, 2010). Today, few Cherokee people still perform the collective children rearing practices due to urbanization which has significantly changed the collective nature of the Cherokee in child rearing (Nelson, 2010). Acculturation had had a tremendous impact on the overall child-rearing traditional practices where men today have a more significant role in child rearing compared to before the arrival of the Europeans who superimposed their culture on the Cherokee people (Demmert Jr, 2005). The community like any other American community has to take their children to school, and the uncle's roles in child education and punishment have declined over time.
Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
Globalization has led to the adoption of practices such as placing tribal children in foster care homes which significantly disrupted their livelihoods and was a threat to their cultural practices of collective parenting (Garrow, 2014). The Indian removal act and other policies that have been enacted to integrate the people from the tribes into the new American culture had significantly affected the Cherokee tribe family traditions and the Indian Child Welfare Act came to protect the children and the tribe from such policies by changing foster placement requirements for the children from the native tribes who were to be treated different (Carleton, 1997). In case of foster placements, the child had to be given to a member of the extended family and the Indian tribe had to be involved in the running of the...
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