Intergenerational Conflicts

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Intergenerational Conflicts
In all kinds of ethic groups in the United States, Asian Americans such as Chinese and Indians are considered as the largest immigrant group. Although conflicts are inevitable between parents and children, immigrant families face more challenges in intergenerational conflicts, and there are several reasons. First of all, the disagreement of different values and assumptions between two cultures mainly cause family conflicts. For Chinese immigrant parents, they follow the Confucian values, which emphasizes filial piety, hard work, service and achievements in education and occupations as standards in lives (Foner, p. 21); however, children who are born and raise in American culture, seek more independence and freedom for their own aspects, and majority results against their parents. Moreover, issues of discipline and respect may easily create gaps between generations. For the second generations, who are reared in American culture and refuse to follow the rules and origin culture, consider their parents as old-fashion and arrogant, and “ [t]he parents, with their (sometimes idealized) old world standards, often think their children are rude and disrespectful ” (Foner, p.5). Besides, exceeding expectations and inabilities of language interpretation for some immigrant parents also struggle the relationships with their children (Lieber, p.35). Even though intergenerational conflicts in immigrant families in the U.S. may weaken the relationship between parents and children, as children grow up as adults, those conflicts actually help strengthen the relationship in the long run.

Intergenerational conflicts may cause negative consequences for both parents and children. Discrepancies of warmth from parents may influence the attitude of immigrant children in a negative way. For example, some Asian immigrant parents such as India are not very expressive with their children physically and emotionally, and this makes Asian American adolescents, who have been taught to obviously express feelings, think their parents are not showing the warmth to them as the way they expect (Wu, p.516). Moreover, for immigrant parents, they intend to dominate their children in beliefs and behaviors due to the fear of losing origin. A psychology study shows that “ [p]arents who were socialized throughout their childhood and early adulthood in their country of origin are likely to have a stable and established sense of Asian identity “ (Wang, p. 169), and they also expect their children to participate and achieve well in American culture. As a result, conflicts of high expectations to maintain two different cultures and outstanding achievement would easily cause mental stress, depression and anxiety for immigrant adolescents. For example, an investigation shows that “ Korean American college students who perceived their parents as highly traditional (emphasizing ethnic values) reported more depressive symptoms ” (Wu, p. 517), and another study also indicates that “Young people in Filipino and Chinese families are under tremendous pressure from their parents to get good grades, to graduate from college, and to pursue “practical” careers such as law, medicine, or engineering “ (Foner, p. 6). On the other hand, not only children, immigrant parents would also be affected negatively. For instance, children’s marginalization of maintaining original culture would cause great frustration to immigrant parents, and even the failure in academic performance would also make them feel shame on the poor children, who consider themselves “working at least twice as hard as their American peers while feeling that their parents never think they work hard enough” (Foner, p. 6). Thus, commonly, people assume that the relationship between immigrant parents and children would be seriously affected and weakened due to these negative consequences.

However, when second generations grow up as adults, those conflicts they had before would make both...
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