Asian American Culture and Parenting in Asian Immigrant Families

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Asian American Culture and Parenting in Asian Immigrant Families essay
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Asian American culture is dissimilar from Western culture. Many of the families come to the United States to improve their life, especially for their children. Asian immigrant parents are portrayed as strict and controlling in the media. They can create an impression of having a lack of empathy for their kids. These cultural factors can impact the mental health of children. Many immigrant parents either come from poverty, fleeing wars, or sacrificed everything from their home country including their houses, jobs, and families. Aside from providing resources and everyday needs for their children, parents having higher expectations and requirements. Many Asian American adolescents and adults communicate that they do not feel their parents provide enough emotion or affection.

Asian immigrant families face a great deal of adversity adapting and affording to live in the states. When arriving, Parents have to adjust instantly to the American culture and commonly have to pursue low wage jobs in unfamiliar fields. Some parents might even only part time due to language barrier. Language barrier generally decrease opportunities and the adaptation process is significantly tougher and longer for parents to grow accustomed to. In an interview a father states his concerns about his child’s education:

It is very hard for me being the only one in the family who works. I am a fisherman. I make enough money for us to live, but I worry all the time. My wife, her English is not good, and she cannot work. So, I want my daughter to go to school so that she and her future family will not have these problems. My daughter is good, so she will do what I say and her life will be better than ours.”(Zhou & Bankston III, 2002, p.139)

Obedience has become a crucial aspect in everyday Asian parenting. This father may sound controlling by saying she will do everything she’s told on the other hand, his reasoning behind it is to supply everything for his daughter, to have a rewarding and hopeful future. He wants his daughter to be capable of supporting her future family. Her father doesn’t want her to struggle similar to her parents. Therefore, Authoritarian parenting is used more commonly in the Asian community.

For western society, many parents frequently use authoritative parenting. It consists of parents’ being encouraging, and compassionate to their child. Whereas authoritarian parenting is unquestionably contrasting to authoritative parenting. One’s parent is more probable to convey less assistance, less general support, and more reinforcement of orderliness. Asian cultures tend to use authoritarian style parenting substantially more than others. The western society portrays authoritarian demeanor as detrimental to the child’s psychological health, However to the Asian society, authority is absolutely mandatory. It is used to shelter and protect their children nevertheless this will cause emotional distress and development issues further down the line. Most parents have the right intentions but then again the considerable amount of control frequently make children feel give the impression of being trapped. In an article, Vietnamese participants stated:

“Vietnamese adolescents perceived their parents as too protective and controlling, rarely allowing them to assert their independence. One adolescent said, “My parents are so protective. [They] never give any power for me to do anything on my own” (VFG). The adolescents believe that parents have to learn to let go of their children and allow them to experience what is right and wrong in life, and learn to take responsibility for their own actions”(Xiong & Detzner, 2004-05, p. 8).

Considerable amounts of parents arrange regulations for their child. The child is anticipated to listen without questioning and to obey, comparable to a one-way conservation. These adolescents feel as if their parents have an excessive amount of control over them, therefore they can’t experience or enjoy life. Instead, they’re in hopes that their parents should be more involved emotionally and sympathetic. Individuals view their parents very unfavourably.

Parent’s authoritarian methods give their children thriving education however, they additionally repressed their emotions and expect their children to do the same. If a child wants to address concerns, one would think you’re disagreeing and talking back. In an interview study most of the participants voiced numerous negative accounts over positive about their relations with their parents, one of the participants expressed:

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The great divide between immigrant parents who emphasize instrumental forms of love and children who carve open displays of affection was evident in the following conversion, which occurred between Dat and his father… Dat recalled, “I tried saying ‘I love you’ one time and he looked at me and said, ‘Are you American now? You think this is The Brady Bunch? You don’t love me. You love me when you can support me.”’ These different cultural definitions of love contributed to respondent’s constructions of immigrant parents as unloving and cold.”(Pyke, 2004, p. 247)

Dat was eight years old, he would dream about sitting down with his father and conveying about sensitivity despite the fact that his dad would typically close off conversations when he tried. It affected his development and he subjected oneself to never show feelings or affection to his father. He would take notice of American family TV shows and hang out with his American friends and questioned why his father could not be like that.

Mental health can be influenced by the authoritarian parenting style. Children to experience more depression and have lower self-esteem than parents who supported an authoritative parenting style. However, further research is required to evaluate possibilities.

In a research study about Vietnamese American teenagers it indicates:

Accordingly, the results indicate that adolescents who experience this type of parenting style do generally report higher levels of depression and lower levels of self- esteem. The logistic analyses with parenting style as the dependent variable also found that adolescents who report higher depression or lower self-esteem tended to perceive their parents’ parenting style as authoritarian… These dynamics can cause tension in the family, create a strained parent– child relationship, and adversely affect the mental health of adolescents as well as their parents” (Nguyen, 2008, pg. 344).

The findings indicate the authoritarian style parenting does affect depression and can cause an individual to have a lower self-esteem. Vietnamese American adolescents encounters difficulties adapting to both Western society values and their parent’s society values. This causes a challenging relationship with parents.

Families should be provided with support groups, education from their ethnic community center, church, temple, or schools. According to (Nguyen, 2008), It presumably will benefit their relationship with each other. If both parties seek for help. The following study suggests that the challenge that affects Asian families are overcoming the language and cultural barriers that may affect their relationships with each other:

Because the core challenge lies in the families’ ability to overcome cultural and language barriers, it would be helpful for practitioners to link their services through these cultural media to lessen mental health stigma and, most importantly, to increase the family’s willingness to share and allow access to intimate family issues and to participate in treatment.. With support from bicultural, bilingual social workers, Vietnamese parents might be willing to talk about their issues while they are waiting for the children to complete their language or religious classes.(Nguyen, 2008, pg. 344)

For mental illness to decrease this study recommends to go to support groups or classes. Families must be willing to talk about their issues with another individual. Bilingual social workers must know cultural differences in parenting styles and support parents to talk about their problems to others. If they do not have the resources or seek help it will affect one’s psychological state.

Asian immigrant parents have good intentions. However, do not portray it successfully. They are perceived as uncaring and demanding but in reality, they just want the best for their children. At the same time express it in their own way and don’t know that it might affect their child’s psychological health poorly. The child can despise their parents for not showing enough affection and love. Parents and their children should comprehend and accept western society values mixed with their own traditional culture values. Both should reach out for additional help if they feel their mental health is declining. Parents must be willing to communicate with others instead of repressing emotions which may appear cold-hearted to their children.  

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Expert Review
The essay delves into the distinctive aspects of Asian American parenting styles, highlighting the differences between Western and Asian cultures. It explores how Asian immigrant parents' strictness and emphasis on authority can impact the mental health of their children. The essay effectively employs examples and research studies to illustrate the cultural influences on parenting and their consequences on adolescents. The inclusion of firsthand accounts and quotes adds authenticity to the discussion. While the essay provides valuable insights, it could benefit from deeper analysis of potential solutions and interventions to bridge the cultural gap and improve mental health outcomes. Additionally, exploring nuances within different Asian cultures and their parenting practices could further enrich the essay's content and showcase a broader perspective.
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What can be improved
Cultural Nuances: Discuss variations in Asian cultures and parenting practices to provide a more comprehensive view of the topic's complexity. Solutions and Interventions: Offer more concrete suggestions or recommendations for how parents and adolescents can bridge the cultural gap and improve communication. In-depth Analysis: Delve deeper into the psychological implications of authoritarian parenting and how it contributes to the mental health challenges faced by Asian American adolescents. Comparative Analysis: Consider discussing a broader range of parenting styles and their effects to provide a more balanced perspective on Western vs. Asian parenting approaches. Conclusion Impact: Strengthen the conclusion by summarizing key takeaways and suggesting a hopeful outlook for improved parent-child relationships and mental health outcomes.
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