Teen Talk: Cultural Issues in Parenting Teens

Parenting is extremely challenging for immigrant families. Moving to the U.S., many of the parenting practices which they have been used to (even morally bound to) from their country of origin are not appropriate or even allowed in the U.S., such as authoritarian discipline and physical punishment. These parents feel stripped of their parenting identities and struggle to get their kids to go to school and do homework. At the same time, they feel that they are being judged by their communities for not getting their kids to comply. Language barriers also make it difficult for these parents to advocate for their teens and many of these kids get lost between the cracks or are forced to advocate for themselves.

Immigrant children also become Americanized and their values become more and more different than their parents. This creates parent-child conflict and children acting out.
It is important for communities and schools to address these issues as soon as possible. Families should be encouraged to retain their cultural identities and to learn the new expectations of the new culture to best support and help their children. How can we be there for all parents of all children? How can we reach out to welcome people of all races and ethnicities and honor them without alienating them?

Questions for thought

What culture were you raised in?
How do you think this affected your parents raising you?
What have you retained from your own cultural background that influences your parenting style?
What if anything do you want to pass on to your children from your cultural background?

Let’s start a conversation going…

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