Pels, Trees Books

Dr. Trees Pels is employed as the head of the research group ‘Multicultural Questions’ at the Verwey-Jonker Institute in Utrecht. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Dr. Pels is senior researcher and one of Dutch leading experts in the field of child rearing within ethnically diverse groups. Her publications include several books on immigrant adjustment and many articles in English, Dutch and French.

Child Rearing in Six Ethnic Families
2006 0-7734-6092-6
In The Netherlands, as in much of the world, immigrants are over-represented among the nation’s disadvantaged populations. Thus, it is not surprising that their children are more likely to experience developmental difficulties and various psychosocial problems than the children of the indigenous Dutch. This volume reports the results of several empirical studies on indigenous and non-indigenous Dutch families conducted in the late nineties by leading Dutch experts on child rearing. The non-indigenous groups were chosen to represent the three major types of immigration to Holland: voluntary labor migrants (Turks, Moroccans and Chinese), colonial migrants (Surinamese Creoles) and refugees (Somalis). The studies were conceived in response to a government initiative to obtain information regarding “normal family life” in contemporary Dutch society. Their goal was to facilitate prevention and intervention in the field of child welfare and parental support.

This book provides a lens for scrutinizing dominant theoretical assumptions about child rearing, first by building on the perceptions of immigrant parents themselves and secondly by systematically comparing indigenous with non-indigenous families. Theoretically, all the studies draw upon Bronfenbrenner's (1986) ecological developmental theory, but they also include relevant insights from other disciplines such as sociology, psychology and anthropology.

The methodology varied somewhat from study to study. The project on Dutch families relied mostly on quantitative methods (questionnaires), but, in order to examine specific perceptions and problems of immigrant parents in more depth, the studies on immigrant families used mostly qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews).

At a more general level, the goal of the volume is to convey both the challenges and the achievements of parents who raise their children in a world substantially different from the world in which they and their forebears were raised.