Family Dynamics at the Intersection of Languages, Cultures, and Aspirations: Reflections of Young Adults from Immigrant Families

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Abstract

This study examined family dynamics and parent–child relations that stem from the intersection of languages, cultures, and aspirations of first-generation parents and their U.S.-raised children. Based on 50 in-depth interviews with young adults from ethnically diverse immigrant families, this study explored reflections and distinctive themes characteristic of the participants’ immigrant childhoods and relationships with parents. From a more mature perspective of young adulthood, participants’ narratives demonstrated acceptance of the unique features of their family dynamics and appreciation of their immigrant parents’ idiosyncrasies and sacrifices. Despite some struggles to bridge generational and cultural gaps through language and cultural brokering, these young adults were highly motivated by their parents’ aspirations and work ethic to uphold their end of the immigrant bargain and achieve success. The study has important implications for educators, counselors, and other practitioners working with immigrant parents and their children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Issues
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • generational and cultural gaps
  • immigration/migration
  • intergenerational
  • language and culture brokering
  • parent/child relations
  • parenting
  • second generation
  • young adults

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