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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET this child in this family who is part of this program. If one of you has to give in, it’s not a third space solution. Everything I’ve said so far depends on sincerity and authenticity. You have to be yourself, to show genuine feelings. You can’t pretend or deceive. You have to be honest—with yourself and with the other person. And while you are doing all this, remember that it’s nice to be nice! To summarize, here are six suggestions to help early childhood educators be sensitive and respon- sive (Gonzalez-Mena 1992): 1. Know what each parent in your program wants for his or her child. Find out families’ goals. What are their caregiving practices? What concerns do they have about their child? Encourage parents to talk about all of this, to ask questions, and to be honest with you about their dreams for their children. 2. Be clear about your own values and goals. Know what you believe about children and your goals for them. Have a bottom line, but leave space above it to be flexible. When you are clear, you are less likely to present a defensive stance in the face of disagreements. 3. Build relationships. Relationships enhance your chances for successfully negotiating cultural bumps. Be patient. Building relationships takes time, but with them you’ll enhance communication and understand- ing. You will communicate better if you have a relationship, and you’ll have a better relationship if you learn to communicate effectively! 4. Become an effective cross-cultural communicator. It is possible to learn these communication skills. What is your communication style? Learn about communication styles that are different from your own. What you think a person means may not be what he or she really means. Do not make assumptions. Listen carefully. Ask for clarification. Find ways to test for understanding. 5. Use a problem-solving rather than a power approach to conflicts. Be flexible—​ negotiate when possible. Look at your willingness to share power. Are you dealing with a control issue? 6. Commit yourself to education. Educate yourself and your families. Some- times lack of information or understanding of each other’s perspectives is what keeps a conflict going. 6    C H A P T E R 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL