Immigration Across Generations

Tue, Feb 09, 2016 at 9:40AM

In today’s day and age, the population of both 2nd generation immigrants (US born citizens with a foreign-born parent) and those who immigrated at a young age is growing. For people living in these families, a generational divide can occur when the child is better accustomed to US culture than his or her parent—however, dealing with this divide doesn’t have to be difficult… in fact, it can be an eye-opening experience for both parent and child!

In today’s blog, we will be looking at a few ways the younger generation can help its parents and vice versa.

Be patient

For both generations, a bit of patience can go a long way when it comes to helping one another settle into your new home. This can mean a variety of things—from a loved one struggling to learn the new language to living with someone who’s less integrated into the US culture than you are. Neither of these things is a problem in itself, but they can cause tensions between parent and child when one is more acclimated than the other. By practicing patience and understanding, however, both parent and child can enjoy a more functional relationship despite their differences.

Offer—and ask for—help

Transplanting yourself and your family and heading to a new country is no small task—so in addition to providing support and answers for your loved one when possible, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance as well. When it comes to life in a new country, families must act as a support system for one another, so it’s only natural they members of a family—no matter their generation or experience—help each other in any way (big or small) that they know how.

Be prepared to make compromises

Don’t be upset if your plans for a perfect new home or family life don’t work out exactly according to plan… in fact, they rarely do! Part of immigrating to a new country and shifting your family dynamic is learning how to make compromises when needed. If you’re a parent, you may learn to accept that your child has developed their own unique interests separate from—but no more important than—your own from home, and that’s okay! Issues following your immigration rarely have to be “all or nothing” in nature—find a happy medium that both you and your loved one can agree upon and work from there.

Embrace your heritage as well as US “culture shock”

When moving to the Us and experiencing that first initial “culture shock,” it’s normal (and beneficial!) to stick to the roots, culture, language and heritage you know best. However, you may find that integrating yourself into your new home by taking classes or getting involved at work or in the community can open yourself up to more opportunities and a more natural sense of belonging in your new home. Proudly embrace both sides of your newly meshed culture.

We hope that these ideas help you bridge the generational gap, should you ever experience one within your family.

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