Archived Answers.

Answers to older Email questions.
Only messages received within the last six months are posted on the Answers page. Older messages will be kept here in the Archive.

Q: (18 Feb 1999) Thank you for providing this website. I teach ESL and one problem my students have told me about is the different ways that we do math. My adult students are very concerned because they cannot help their children with their homework. This cultural math problem is compounded by the differences in the reform math curriculum that the public schools are adopting.

In the higher level math classes, the curriculum has been changed to be more language based. It used to be that math was an equalizing subject where everyone could do the numbers. Now, non-native students are at a distinct disadvantage. I teach the parents. What can you recommend for parents who want to help their children succeed in school?
A: Thank you for your e-mail. It is a very important issue. I recommend that parents support their children by communicating with them and exploring the different styles of learning that their children have. Parents must command all of the resources that they have to help their children. They must provide a safe environment and help to make learning a positive experience. Parents must communicate directly with children and the teachers. Parents should look for help when they feel there is a problem, they needn't wait for visible demonstrations or a crisis to develop. Most importantly, do all these things in a consistent manner, not just when the child is in trouble.

Make sure that teachers know about your child's way of learning and his/her strengths. Many parents may not know how to help their children, some of them may not know that they have access to resources which may be helpful to them--such as a school psychiatrist or counselor. Parents need to be involved with the school and be aware of the process of learning imposed upon their children.

Sometimes it is difficult; but it is always necessary to believe in your child, value them, have patience, and be a good role model for them.

Q:(11 Feb 1999) DEAR CARMEN,
A: Dear Committee Organizer,
Congratulations for such great idea. First, what type of committee do you want to start? You need to define the goals and objectives of the committee. Look for a counselor or a teacher that would like to work with you in this process. The best idea is to write a small proposal about the goals and activities that you would like to develop, who will be involved, where you will meet, and when. You might also have the school librarian or local public library help you find out if there are other local or national organizations that you could be a part of or use as an example for your committee. Bravo for such a good idea. Keep up the good work!

Q:(14 Dec 1998) This website is COOLA-RAMA, how many times do you update this information. Do you have a chat site yet that would be so awsome.
A:We're glad you find the site cool. We update the site about every four months. We're trying to be better at this; but it's hard to keep up with everything. Amigos is only one small part of the many things that we do. We don't have a chat site. We thought about having chats on specific topics; but have never made it that far yet. There is a list of email, keypal, and chat sites that might get you started. By now you probably are aware of the potential dangers lurking out there on the Internet; so be careful not to give out any personal information if you decide to participate. Cordially, Linda H.

Q:(14 Dec 1998) 1.Why aren't there more bilingual internet sites currently on the web? 2. How can we see to it in the future that the internet access will be free to all people to allow under privleged people to participate?
A:1. When I made my first Spanish language webpage (Algunos Lugares en Español), there were very few Spanish language websites. The number of websites in Spanish has grown tremendously since then and especially in the last year or so. Unfortunately, I do not speak any other languages, therefore, I have not investigated any other bilingual sites. Dr. Guanipa speaks fluent French; but we have never considered doing a French site as Spanish seems to be more popular.

2. This is a wonderful question. Many places, like public libraries and schools, are trying to make access to the Internet available for free. Some places, like coffee shops and cafes, have a sort-of "pay per view" system. In general, people are not charged to use the Internet; but are charged by the service provider which links them to the Internet. In the next few years, we will see all kinds of changes in the way that we access the Internet, television, and other forms of media. I hope that you, and others like you, will continue to think about the needs of the under-privileged so that no one gets left out. Stay informed and vote! Sincerely, Linda H.

Q: Hi, my name is Brian, im a Mexican-Ameican teen, and I have some trouble finding information for my research paper. I have a senior english class research paper to do. My first draft was really bad, and earned a poor grade. The topic of my research paper is Latino Success. It focuses on the Hispanic American community, which includes statistics, history and success stories of Hispanic Americans in this country. I am however, finding it hard to find sources. Could you help me find some resources on the web that I can use as sources to help me in my research paper?? I need at least 6 sources, and they have to relate to the topic of Latino Success in the United States.
A: We have two different web based resources which might help you find good information about Hispanics and Latino success. I recommend that you explore Algunos Lugares en Español ( and Hot Internet Sites en Español. These will provide links to magazines, newspapers, and other sources. You should also check your local public library. The Reference librarian can help you find information that is not available on the Internet. Good Luck, Linda H.

Q: Can you tell me something about your company? What is your company's goal? Why are you asking students to help instead of adults?
A: Dear Amigos user, Thank you very much for contacting us and asking these questions.

  1. We are not a company. We are interested professionals who work to promote multicultural awareness. We are not asking just children and students, we are also asking adults or anyone interested in the subjects that we promote. The survey is part of the Amigos website and is available to anyone who accessed the website.
  2. One of San Diego State University's missions is to serve the community. We are interested in working with schools and universities because we can build positive bridges among people and institutions. This is another way that we can serve the community.
  3. Our main objective is to serve as a resource to help the community and to provide information that can be educational and can promote better understanding of families, couples, individuals and their cultures.

Thanks again and please keep in touch, The Amigos Team.

Q: I am from Malaysia, a nice little warm friendly country in the South East Asia Region. I have a query on my nick. I have been using this nick[name] for quite some time and ain't knowing the real meaning behind it. It get quite embarasing when being questioned by friends. My nick is NINOAMIGO. Well, amigo means friend. Your help is appreciate.
A:Ninoamigo means "Baby Friend." The phrase is Niñoamigos. Because some computers do not have the "ñ," people write nino for niño. I hope this is helpful. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact Amigos.

Q: I'd like to know which one is correct, sweet 16 or 17?
A:For the American culture, it's sweet 16. For Hispanics, the celebration is usually at 15. The expresssion and the meaning are different according to the culture. Both mean a new maturity and that you are able to assume new responsibilities. It means that you have the capacity to make the right choices. You have family and friends with whom you can talk and receive support if you are confused. You might also consult your counselor at school if making choices is hard. Enjoy this age. Take care of yourself and make good decisions for you and your family. Keep in touch if you have other questions.

Q: Are Hispanic/Anglo intermarriages common? How do their families differ?
A: Thank you for asking Amigos this important question. Yes, intercultural marriages are becoming more common everyday in our society. We feel that ALL families are unique and different whether or not an intercultural marriage is involved. There are many advantages to having the knowledge and experiences of two, or more, cultures--exposure to multiple languages, celebrating different cultural holidays/events, the richness of experiences and different means of expressing love. There may also be unique challenges in being in an intercultural family. There may be differences of traditions, in the way that the parents were raised, and how each would like to parent their own children. But, just like couples of the same culture, ways can be reached concerning the rules of the family. Challenges of reaching agreement concern how the family will communicate, celebrate, budget, show affection, rear children, etc., and are faced by all new families regardless of the culture(s) involved. It is important for each member of the newly merged family to feel included and respected within the formation of the rules of the family.

Some of the problems that come from intermarriage families is that some people may use culture as a way to hide the real problem (intimacy, lack of communication, etc.) However this also happens in people of the same culture who blame their family of origin for the problem that they are facing in the new family. As you see, intercultural marriages have similar problems as monocultural marriages from the same ethnic group. I hope this answers part of your question. I will be glad to send you information about the topic.

Thanks for contacting us and please keep in touch.
Dr. Carmen Guanipa

Q: I am a concerned girlfriend that found your web page on the internet and was wondering if my problem is major and if it can be resolved. My boyfriend was brought up in a home where he had a mother, father, and sister, but the mother and father do not speak AT ALL. If they speak at all, they say "You're so stupid.." I honestly think that my boyfriend thinks this is normal or he's too afraid to express to me that it hurts him. He says that it has been like that every since he was born and he has learned from his father to just blow things off and to not them bother you. The problem is with our relationship. We've been going out for 3 years and at the beginning he was always open and honest with me. Now he doesn't communicate his feelings. He doesn't tell me how he feels about me, which in turn has given me a self esteem problem. He never says how much he loves me, he just says "I just love you", he also doesn't share how he feels about me (looks, intelligence....etc.). He is a wonderful person and I don't want our relationship to end, but I can't live life feeling like I am not needed or appreciated. I just want a simple I the one with a I being stupid about this entire thing????? Please respond!!!
A: Thank you very much for contacting Amigos with such an important question. We want to congratulate you for trying to look at issues that can affect your relationship. It is important to understand your partner in the context of his family history. We applaud your efforts.

You asked us whether we feel that your problem is major and if it can be resolved. The Amigos Team believes that most problems can be resolved. You have brought up several issues: 1) your boyfriend's behavior, 2) your fear that he may believe that not speaking is normal behavior, and 3) your concerns about not feeling that you are needed or appreciated. These three issues are very essential for healthy communication between partners. Please look at the "Carmen Says" page where we have posted information about achieving better communication in couples' relationships.

It is important to understand your partner in the context of his family history. Each person has a specific way of expressing appreciation and love for their partner. An expression of love is not only represented by what a person says, but also by the behaviors and actions displayed by each other. We invite you to look at your boyfriend's behavior and see the ways in which he attempts to show you that he cares for you. His way of expressing appreciation and love may be different from what you may have chosen or expected; but ultimately the intended message can be the one desired. We also believe that it is very important to communicate with your partner about new ways that you would like to behave in the relationship you have with each other. You may consider discussing this with him in order to establish acceptable ways of relating to one another. It is very important to have mutual agreement in how you both would like your relationship to work.

The other issue you talked about is your feeling about being unappreciated and unneeded. Perhaps you would like to access professional help offered within your community. By using these resources, you may find new ways for feeling appreciated and valued both within your relationship and on your own. By building a relationship with a counselor, you will be able to more directly address the feelings that you have expressed to us. Please look at the resources available to you on the Amigos website under Resources. We hope that this information is helpful to you. Please keep in touch with us. We wish you all the best in your relationship.

Dr. Carmen Guanipa

Q: I am a teacher of the Spanish language at a high school in Missouri. I would like to know if you think your website would be a place where my students could contact other hispanic teenagers and share cultural information?
A: Dear Teacher from Missouri; We are planning to organize some online activities in the Fall of 1998 with students and also some ISDN-based videoconferences with students, parents or teachers. Please contact us again and let us know how we can reach you and keep you informed as we develop the activities. We can also provide links to others who are promoting communication between students both foreign and domestic. We will do some investigating and post what we find on an additional page with links to KeyPal sites since this is such a common request.

Q:My partner doesn't listen to me. I keep saying the same things over and over, but he doesn't seem to understand me. What can I do? Do I have a problem, or does he?
A:First, congratulations for allowing yourself to be able to look for alternatives for understanding and dealing with this situation. As in any relationship, communication is very important for enhancing the interaction between partners. Many reasons can contribute to the lack of communication between you and your partner. It is important to be aware that communication is a process of interaction--two people are involved, and both people contribute in the development of successes or difficulties.

I want to applaud you for being able to see that relationship problems have to do with both people in the relationship. Each of you have a responsibility for seeing what is going on and how you can understand each other better. This more positive communication can only help to create a more pleasant life. It is very important to look for help as a couple. Having a safe place for expressing your feelings and learning to communicate in a healthier way may be better achieved with the help of a professional.

The professional helper can be neutral when helping you solve difficulties. Once you learn how to communicate better with your partner, you will be better able to continue using these new skills when potential problems come up in the future. Some communication problems are symptoms of more serious problems. For this reason, it is very important to seek further help now, before your current communication problems have a chance to grow into more serious problems.

There are many ways for finding professional help. I recommend that you check out our list of information and referral sources. If you are close to San Diego, California, you may want to call or visit the IFCC Clinic at San Diego State University. If not, try finding a counseling center closer to your location, or a communication workshop in your area.

I have provided more information on communication problems if you are interested in learning more. Please keep in touch and let us know how things are going.

Respectfully yours,
Dr. Carmen Guanipa

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About this Website


First posted October, 1996.
Last revised September 10, 1999,
by Linda Woods Hyman,

Copyright © 1999 Dr. Carmen Guanipa