Cultural Influences on Parent-Child Relationships

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Cultural Influences on Parent-Child Relationships
The United States is the most diverse nation in the world with immigrants from countries such as Mexico, China, Vietnam, Philippines, etc. Families from these different regions struggle with trying to balance their new American culture without losing touch with their homeland customs. A major obstacle is maintaining a healthy relationship between parents and children-- especially adolescents. It is hard enough for parents and adolescents to be on the same page, but even more so when there is a difference in values and practices. Parents strive to keep their native principles by instilling them into their children, which creates conflict because children are more exposed to the American society. While both parties attempt to juggle two different cultures, there are many impediments that restrain them from having healthy parent-child relationships. One hindrance to relationships between parents and adolescents is the use of different languages. Although some children are able to speak or understand their native language, not all choose to communicate with their parents that way. In a study that examined parent-adolescent language use and relationships among immigrant families, they found that English speaking families experience more conflict compared to native speaking families from Asian Pacific or Latin American backgrounds whose language is structured around respect toward parents (Tseng & Fuligni, 2000). For instance, Filipino’s Tagalog language has certain terms for elders such as “Kuya” meaning older brother, but is also used to address any older male peer. The association of “Kuya” to a brother as well as a stranger, shows a level of respect Filipinos have for each other whether they are actually blood-related or not. Adolescents who did not share a common language with their parents reported feeling “emotionally distant from them and less likely to engage in discussions with them,” while those...
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