Raising Children in a Foreign Land
By: Saipriya V
Canada is a multicultural country, receiving a lot of new immigrants every year. Most of the immigrant families choose Canada because of its top-ranked education system. However, settling in a new country impose severe stress on the families, especially families need to consider the financial and political hurdles. Apart from these issues the children of the immigrant families often experience challenges in integrating , this may be partly due to the difference between their cultural background and the community in which they are trying to integrate. All these issues make child rearing a complex task for the immigrant parents.
One of the major cause of conflict in the immigrant families is due to the economic stress. New immigrants often face unemployment or underemployment. In some families, women might become the earning member, which may influence a shift in domestic roles among the parents, this may strain the relationship with the children as they do not receive enough attention from their parents.
Apart from this immigrant parents emphasize culture, traditional values upon children. More often the traditional values of the immigrant families would be different from the mainstream Canadian culture. Similarly, immigrant parents impose behavioral control, discipline, and obedience than the western Canadian parents. In particular, South Asian immigrant families impose more control over their daughters than their sons. This is because families consider their daughters to be the flag bearers of the family,culture and tradition. This influence disagreement and strain between the immigrant parents and their children.
A study reported that the children who were born outside of Canada and had a chance to experience the culture and tradition of their native countries experience fewer problems with their parents when compared to children who were born in Canada. However, the conflict between the generations may occur once the children get drawn to the host culture through peers and other social influences.
In order to encourage a healthy parent- children relationship, the immigrant parents need to decide on how much they would like to keep their traditions from where they came from and how much they would like to adopt the Canadian culture. Though it is vital maintaining a strong connection to ethnic heritage, it is also vital that children need to develop a positive identity as Canadians.
Parents play a major role in all aspects of their the children’s lives. Parents who find reasonable strategies to support their cultural expectations stand the best chance of developing a healthy relationship with their children and in raising a happy Canadians.