Cultural Competence

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Kristina Yerisov
Cultural Competency
HDFS 475
April 12, 2013

Cultural Competency
There is a considerable amount of diversity in families all over the world, but there is also continuity. Core values, beliefs, rituals, and unique characteristics describes groups of people within a culture who live in a specific country, share religious values, have similar heritage, or are just grouped together for other reasons. It is important to understand that culture is more than just a “thing,” it is a dynamic process that shapes people and society today. Relating to individuals from various backgrounds effectively is essential to achieve cultural competence. Parenting practices, kinship, and family structures worldwide encourage the understanding of differences and also impact future work and communication with others. Concepts

Parenting is one of the most challenging tasks of adulthood and is defined in the text as a person who is responsible for the social, emotional, and physical growth and development of a child. It is central to the communication and expression of culture which differs parenting styles and practices from one family to the other (Myers-Walls, Bowman, & Posada 2006). The values that parents emphasize on their children will not only impact the future world, but will impact the children and family’s future work, play, and socialization within the community.

Having an open mind and appreciating different cultures relating to ethical values is essential to parenting practices that is not familiar or subcultural to one’s own. Falicov explained four different positions that are considered when observing cultural issues among society: particularist, universalist, ethnic focused, and multidimensional. The universalist perspective explains that families of all cultures are more alike than different and that all parents assume the responsibility of a child that needs love, nurture, discipline, and control. This perspective may discourage cultural competency because it may lead professionals to look passed the real differences needed to understand and fit the needs of different individuals and groups.

The particularist position is contrary to universalist. This view point focuses on the differences between each family rather than the similarities, emphasizing the unique qualities each family embraces. Utilizing this approach not only helps to achieve cultural competence in the work place but takes on the approach of learning and communicating respectively among people different from ourselves.

The third approach is the ethnic-focused perception, focusing on ethnicity differences between each family. This approach stresses on the behaviors, thoughts, customs, feelings, and rituals apart of one’s culture that belongs to a particular group. Cultural competence can be achieved by concentrating on each cultural group one may come in contact with. The final perspective that is considered when observing cultural differences is the multidimensional approach. This is a broader perspective when understanding and learning about different cultures. With the multidimensional approach, it is more than just knowledge that makes an individual culturally competent, it is about knowing and understanding what questions to ask that signifies the right dimensions of one’s culture (Myers-Walls, Bowman, & Posada, 2006).

Kinship plays a vital role in maintaining social cohesion and controlling individual behavior. There are six basic kinship types and approximately 90% of the world can be grouped into one of the six. A kinship type is recognized by names that are referred to siblings and cousins. The first kinship system is determined as the Hawaiian kin, which has the least amount of terms. In this system a person is fully aware of their biological parents, although all adults in the group are referred to as “parents.” The individuals who are a part of the parents’ generation are named their...
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