What Parents Say and in Which Way They Convey Messages about Ethnicity to Children?

Marina Štambuk


Children’s developmental outcomes are the result of their unique characteristics and different environments they develop in, as well as their interaction. An important part of this interaction is marked by social meaning, attitudes and beliefs about the importance of ethnicity, especially in a multiethnic environment. Previous studies were dominantly focused on family functioning and parenting processes in western families, majority groups and middle socioeconomic status. Minority families face specific challenges due to their different history, cultural heritage and status in society, thus generalization of the existing results to these families is limited. Also, there is a lack of research on family processes that include transmission of messages about group membership, especially in the European area. In this paper we review research about ethnic socialization, i.e. parenting in the direction of conveying information, values, beliefs and attitudes related to ethnicity. First, we present the theoretical framework of ethnic socialization and its relationship with parents’ and children’s characteristics and experiences as well as children’s developmental outcomes. Second, we consider limitations of the existing research. Finally, we discuss the importance of the ethnic socialization research in Croatian multiethnic communities along with an overview of the research on ethnic socialization in the ethnically divided city of Vukovar.


etnički odgoj; kulturalno specifična socijalizacija; promicanje nepovjerenja; pripremanje na pristranost; egaliratnost

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096