Shechory-Bitton, Mally, Sarah Ben David and Eliane Sommerfeld. “Effect of Ethnicity on Parenting Styles and Attitudes Toward Violence Among Jewish and Arab Muslim Israeli Mothers. An Intergenerational Approach.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 46.4 (2015): 508-24.
The cultural heterogeneity of Israeli society creates a unique opportunity to study the effects of ethnicity and intergenerational differences on parenting styles, attitudes, and practices. Three groups of mother–daughter dyads took part in the study: Native-born Jewish (NBJ) Israelis (155 dyads), Jewish Mizrahi (JM) immigrants (immigrants from Muslim countries (133 dyads), and native-born Arab Muslim (NBA) Israelis (86 dyads). Participants were located through a “snowball” process in which participants referred their friends to the researchers or gave the researchers names of potential participants. Interethnic differences were found in the mothers’ generation, with JM mothers falling in between NBJ and NBA mothers. This trend changed when we examined differences between the daughters. Although intergenerational differences were found in all groups, the differences were more prominent among Jewish mother–daughter dyads than among mother–daughter dyads in the Muslim population. Contrary to the research hypothesis, the parenting style of JM women was closer to that of NBJ mothers than to NBA mothers. The findings are discussed with reference to the complexity of Israeli society and to the encounter between the culture of the immigrant women who came from Muslim countries and the Western culture of the host society.
This qualitative study focuses on immigrant parents’ perceptions of their children’s academic adaptation, their attitudes toward the host country’s educational system, and their motivation for school involvement. The participants are parents of adolescent children aged 11 to 17 years, who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU). Open in-depth interviews were used to obtain data regarding the participants’ views and insights. The interviews showed that the immigrant parents perceive education as an essential factor in their children’s successful adaptation to the host country. They report significant disparities between educational methods in the FSU and in Israel. They perceive Israeli schools and teachers as being more “friendly” and sensitive to children and granting them equal opportunities for success, yet they are highly frustrated by the teaching level and by discipline issues. Concerned about their children’s academic adaptation, parents try to influence their learning process from the home. Yet, they have difficulty becoming involved in the school and communicating with the teachers. The primary factor that promotes their school involvement is the teacher’s personal characteristics, such as availability, patience, and flexibility. The findings have significant implications for educators who wish to advance immigrant students’ adjustment by means of meaningful cooperation with their parents.