Supporting New Americans
Immigrant and refugee fathers may not be as involved in their child’s academic life due to barriers such as: language, work schedules, lack of identification to access the school building, fear of bringing themselves to the attention of the school administration if they are undocumented, or misconception that the mother is ultimately in charge and responsible for school issues. Being able to engage immigrant and refugee fathers can be complex but with the right guidance it can be beneficial for establishing the father/child relationship.
- Provide materials in other languages.
- Sit down with fathers and other families to review the requirements of your school system, and help them identify ways to actively support their children’s education
- Invite someone to talk with dads about legal, health, financial or social services available in the community to help them obtain legal status or other supports
Talk to fathers about strategies for engaging in conversation with their children about their participation in school. Below are some examples for ways fathers can engage with their children:
- Talk about your day first. Conversations about school often happen after sharing something about your day. Maybe a joke someone told at lunch or an interesting bit of current event news would stimulate a conversation about something at school.
- Ask direct questions. Rather than asking, “How are you doing in school?” consider asking some specific questions that will give you specific information you want.