Helping Chinese Immigrants with Parenting Classes

Parenting classes are being offered here (Photo by Heather Chin via Sunset Park Voices)

Parenting classes are being offered here (Photo by Heather Chin via Sunset Park Voices)

The Chinese American Sunshine House in Sunset Park has just launched its second series of parenting classes, and Heather Chin of Sunset Park Voices checked in with the CSH’s director, Winnie Hu, to learn how the classes help parents who are particularly stressed and need help with parenting skills. That need may seem pressing in the wake of the death last month of 2-year-old Melody Pheng and the subsequent arrest of her 24-year-old mother, Lin Li. The 4-year-old brother of the victim has been taken into protective custody by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).

The classes are being held at the New York Family of New Hope Clinic on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park.

“[Last month,] we had a press conference about the two-year-old’s death and talked about why. For example, with satellite babies — children who are born here, sent to China to be raised by grandparents, and then sent back to America to begin school — the parents can’t communicate and are stressed, have no parenting skills,” explained CSH Director Winnie Hu.

Both Melody and her brother were satellite babies. They had returned back to Brooklyn just months before Melody’s death.

“It’s a cultural issue, but not a Chinese culture issue — it’s across [ethnic and racial]cultures,” she noted. “They need skills. But where do you learn these skills except from a therapist and social worker? All people have some skills, but you can learn more. . .The recent tragic children abuse cases you may have read on the news lately could have been prevented if the parents learned better ways to discipline their kids versus resorting to physical punishment.”

The parenting classes are free and taught in Mandarin, with lessons also printed and readable to those who speak Cantonese. Both mothers and fathers attend, and some have brought their children with them. Go to Sunset Park Voice to read how attendees responded to the classes.

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