Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie: Raising.
By Maritere Rodriguez Bellas
My son was a baby when I first had the idea of writing a book for immigrant parents. I was living in California and had no family there, except my husband. I desperately needed advice and guidance. It was hard being alone. I had grown up in a very close family and never imagined I would not be living near them when I became a mother. Having no parenting experience, I went to the library and the bookstore, but there were no parenting books for the Latino immigrant mother. In fact, at the time, there were no online resources that could help with my parenting questions.
For years, I wondered if I was doing the right thing as a parent, given that my children’s bicultural values often clashed with my own. My husband told me to think of all the immigrant mothers who faced even more challenges than I. A seed was planted in my mind: I wanted to do something to help other Latino immigrant parents.
To that end, I contacted my friend Monica Lozano at La Opinión, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the country and suggested a parenting column for the Latino immigrant parent. My column ran in the paper for eleven years and fueled my desire to write this book.
Arroz Con Pollo and Apple Pie is written for the immigrant parent who is grappling with a uniquely challenging set of dilemmas. You are part of a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population who desperately want to guide their children, so they can fulfill the American dream and preserve Latino values. This book will help you make decisions in a culture vastly different than the one in which you grew up.
Arroz Con Pollo and Apple Pie is designed to offer strategies, and tips, as well as compelling stories of how other immigrant families deal or have dealt with the same issues you are grappling with: the adjustment to the new life and raising children with two cultures. You will read stories about people like Candy from Nicaragua and how she came to the United States, leaving her older son behind, their struggle to reunite, what it was like when he finally came, and how the family had to learn to adjust to being together again as she faced the challenge of raising him with two cultures. The final chapter offers comments by immigrant baby boomers raised in this country, as well as stories of Millennials who were raised bilingual and bicultural, and now demonstrate the benefits and advantages in their lives. In addition, well-known Latinos—including Univision Network co-anchor, Jorge Ramos, Cuban actor, Tony Plana, and renowned Dominican singer and author, Milly Quezada—share their insights on the Latino immigrant experience and how it influenced the way they were raised and the way they raised their children. At the end of each chapter, I offer tips and suggestions in the form of questions to get you started in your quest to find balance and help your children.
All of us who came to the U.S. from another country, regardless of our profession or economic background, have struggled to raise accomplished, happy, and well-adjusted children. It is my hope that this book will offer you a fresh look at what finding a balance between two cultures can be like. In addition, I provide online resources for even more information and knowledge. I welcome you to your unique parenting experience!
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