Children and Families of 1st Generation Immigrants
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is defined as a person's ability to function, relate and work effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. What about the families that uproot their lives and move to a completely different country? How high are their CQ scores? Children of 1st generation immigrants and their families know all about cultural intelligence. They are the ones that have to navigate two worlds, working hard to find the bliss point of bi-cultural upbringing. This is the only way many of us know how to function, yet, find ourselves not being able to fully fit in one world. "My family gives me a hard time if I become too Americanized." "When I visit back home, they make fun of my accent and make me feel as though I am separate from my culture of origin."
THE LOOK AND FEEL OF CULTURE CLASH:
The need to prove yourself and fit in:
"Come on, what's your real name?"
Being typecast and having strong stereotypes dictate how others see you.
Having to explain to others that there are many different ethnic backgrounds from your culture of origin, with different belief systems, languages and cultural practices.
Family pressure to keep up the family name and cultural values:
"You've become too Americanized!"
You lost your values, you have to keep the family honor, tradition and expectation.
"We came here for you. We came so you can have a better life and more opportunities. You owe it to us to be successful and to do as we say."
I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing anymore:
“My family says I have to marry someone of my same background and faith, but I fell in love with someone that doesn't fit my family expectation."
"My parents told me what profession to pick and to do really well in school. I hate my major, it's really hard to keep my grades up and I'm scared to disappoint my family."
"I'm starting to get irritated and upset about having to explain myself, my family background, and the fact that I was born here and I am American."
THE SYMPTOMS OF CULTURAL PRESSURE:
Not being allowed to engage in sleepovers
Your parents dictate who you are allowed to be friends with
Feeling like you have to fill in the mother or father role in the family
Not ever having a sense of privacy at home, as your parents may go through your stuff all the time
Having to always translate for your parents or other family members
Being teased by your peers for having an accent when you speak English
Being teased by your family for having an accent in your native language
Having to live for the family, culture and what other people in your cultural background might think
Always being given a guilt trip because you don’t want to attend family gatherings
Having your parents put you down by saying “you’ve become too Americanized” and lost your cultural values
Then being confused because the Americans and other cultural groups around you make it clear you’re different
Finding it hard to relate to other cultural groups, or even people from your own cultural background
You weren’t allowed to date in high school and had to have a secret relationship
Being expected to live at home until you get married
Have strong pressures by family to get married, especially to someone within your cultural and religious background
Strong family pressure to have children
Being told you have to grow up to be a doctor - and if you choose a different profession, feel like you let down your family