Every parent does it--transfers customs from their childhood or culture on to their kids. The problem is, some of the more old-school traditions just don't fly in this day and age and some of the very culture-specific ones also don't translate in to the general public.

Having grown up in a pretty traditional Hispanic family, I know firsthand what this is like. My parents, who were born and spent the first two decades of their lives in El Salvador, would established habits in our household that were super Latino…which my sister and I didn't even truly realize until they were either mortifyingly pointed out to us or we somehow came to the conclusion on our own once we were older.

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It's not that my parents meant to do this (or even realized they were) or that my sister and I were embarrassed of our background, but when you're a young kid, being asked what the heck you're doing (or saying or eating) is like the end-all, be-all of humiliation. Now, of course, we all look back on those silly incidents and laugh--which is exactly why I thought they were worth sharing! So without further ado, here are 6 super Latino habits you didn't even realize you were imposing on your kids:

  1. Eating beans anywhere at any given time of the day. My mom used to send my sister to school with beans as part of her lunch. This, of course, would make all the other kid's noses wrinkle in disgust and say "Ewww, what are you eating?!"…which in turn would cause my poor dear sis endless embarrassment.  After a few incidents with her coming home from school and wailing about the same story, Mom started sticking to turkey sandwiches--a habit that luckily remained throughout my time at school. Not that it makes a difference now…I love beans. I'm probably eating them as you read this.
  2. Saying certain words only in Spanish.  Early on, my parents probably just did this because they didn't know or were unsure of the right way to say particular phrases in English, but it became a habit which was then passed on to me. For the first few years of my life, I thought the only way to describe someone being bratty and temperamental was by calling them "caprichoso."
  3. Saying certain English words with a strong Spanish accent. My parents used to roll their "r's" in funny places, which I would obviously then do too. On the upside, while I was discovering that this wasn't an altogether normal habit, I also discovered that rolling your tongue is actually not something most people can do. Yay for random, obscure and mostly useless talents! 
  4. Starting a sentence in English and ending in Spanish or vice versa. Do you understand lo que estoy diciendo? Como que you don't get it?
  5. Assuming that every family party has enough people to form a small marching band, enough food to provide a family of 5 for several weeks, and enough alcohol to knock out at least three 200+lb men. Actually, I still don't understand why that isn't always the case.
  6. Assuming every mom is an amazing cook that can stir up an amazing dinner at any moment's notice. Without a recipe.  You could give my mother a shoebox and she'd find a way to make into a delicious meal. My abuela is an incredibly gifted baker and my aunts also all have specialty dishes. When it comes time for a dinner or a reunion, they all split cooking duties. How was I supposed to know every kid wasn't as lucky?!

What cultural habits are you passing on to your kids? Tell us in the comments below!

Image via tiny banquette committee/flickr

About the author

Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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Very funny!! I still get strange looks when I start my morning with refried beans on toast. What?! It's better than peanut butter. :0)
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