Child-Rearing Practices and Challenges Encountered by African International Students with Family at Midwestern University

By Israel G. Msengi and Shadrack G. Msengi.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This qualitative study explored the African international students’ beliefs on child rearing practices and challenges faced as they pursued their education at a Midwestern University in the United States (US). Eleven International Student families (husband and wife) from sub-Saharan Africa were selected as a focus group. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from each of the five participating family members. Five children from these families were also interviewed. The interview process was casually conversational. There were no formal written questions. Questions emerged as the conversation developed. The grounded theory analysis indicated that challenges that the international students faced worked against their beliefs on variables such as marriage, the value of children, domestic hierarchical order, and social interactions among many other traditional rites. A detailed analysis of data categorized the challenges in the upbringing of their children in the US as caused by external and internal factors. Among the external factors were such as the power of the media, peer pressure, prejudice, language, and US cultural influence. Internal factors were financial difficulties, cultural beliefs, and lack of time. These factors had significant stress level for the families as they struggled to adjust in the US educational and community settings. Based on the findings the authors conclude that there were several elements that would enable parents and their respective children embrace positive elements from African and American cultures, to positively acclimate, pursue education, and raise children in the US in a positive way.

Keywords: Child Rearing Practice, Beliefs, International Students, Culture, Stress

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp.253-272. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 698.808KB).

Dr. Israel G. Msengi

Assistant Professor, Health & Kinesiology, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA

Dr. Msengi is an Assistant Professor, a coordinator of the Undergraduate health education program,and a chair of the Diversity committee in the college of education at Lamar University in Texas, U.S.A. Dr. Msengi has a B.A. in Public Administration from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, an M.A. and a Doctorate in Community and Public Health both from the University of Northern Iowa, U.S.A. Research interests focus in a variety of topics including: Environmental health with GIS/GPS application, sastainable development, Health Disparities, community and international health, and minority health issues.

Dr. Shadrack G. Msengi

Assistant Professor, School of Education and Leadership, Notre Dame De Namur University, Belmont, California, USA

Shadrack Msengi is an assistant professor and director of the reading programs at Notre Dame De Namur University. He studied at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania earning a B.A. in Linguistics and African Literature, also graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in the USA, with an MA in reading education. Dr. Msengi earned his doctorate in curriculum and instruction, also from UNI. He has worked extensively assessing reading problems, teaching, and supervising student teachers in a clinical setting both at UNI and around several community schools. His reseach interests include family-school literacy connections, family literacy practices and diversity, and domains of instructional technology.

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