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JLeslie's avatar

Those of you who emigrated to new countries: does it drive you crazy that your children are culturally closer to the new country?

Asked by JLeslie (56030points) September 12th, 2011

In America we talk about becoming Americanized or assimilated. Usually by the third generation it is hard to tell what national background a person came from. Even the first generation born here, raised in American schools, is very American regarding how they think and see the world.

My husband, who first came to America in high school, has been accused of being very gringo by his family. Not said in a positive way.

I think it is very difficult for parents when their children grow up differently with unfamilar values.

I tend to think socio-economics have a big influence, this is my hypothesis anyway, but not sure. I think if the children go onto have higher educations than their parents and more financial prosperity that maybe that is the bigger divide in how they see life and the world than being raised in and living in a different country.

Tell us your stories and experience on the topic. The question is not meant for new Americans only, it for any move to any new country. If you are the child of immigrants feel free to answer with your experience also.

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8 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My parents had the same mantra for us as other immigrant parents “Do well, follow the rules, don’t act out, be an American” – and so I assimilated well, my brother less so (he was older when he came here, harder to learn English for him, too many distractions, etc.). My kids are citizens of the U.S., I could care less. I also don’t care to feel pride in ‘where we came from’. I find things like nationalities and ethnicities to be meaningless in an empirical sense (clearly, people ascribe meanings to these things all the time). Sure, I want them to know stories from the past, stories of wars and our immigrations, I want them to feel connected to many places in the world but to no one single place. I don’t need them to feel like Americans either because what does that mean, even? I will always tell them that it matters more where you go rather than where you come from. Although, for some people, matters of persecution intensify the need to feel pride or whatever but that’s so obvious, you know? Then again, it’s not like that for everyone. My grandfather remembers his relatives (one generation above him) being murdered in the Armenian genocide but he never mainted hatred of Turks. My parents were driven out of Azerbaijan for being Armenian but it was Azerbaijani people that also helped them escape and survive. They always maintained that it was the government’s fault, that it’s never about ethnicity, that it’s all about power plays and money and that it happens everywhere.

thesparrow's avatar

I’m from an immigrant family, and my parents are very traditional (i.e. they don’t want me to move out until I get married). My bf is from here—Canadian—and his family is completely different. He moved out very early on (in his 20s) to be independent. I think it’s stupid. We both went to Universities close to our homes so that we didn’t have to go out of town, but for some reason he had to move out of his house to study (when this wasn’t practical). Now, I have enough money saved up for my education, I live at home (don’t pay rent but help out around the house, work part time and go to school) and he is now just moving BACK home because he doesn’t have money to continue school! SOOO—- do I think it’s a good thing to be a little traditional?
Yes.
I think Western kids are soo obsessed with ‘independence’ and moving out on their own instead of waiting to be academically and financially stable! And we get criticised for still ‘living at home’ and being ‘mooches’ to our parents. When really, this is not the case at all.

And sometimes I feel out of place with people in my school program (I’m a grad student) because most of them are Western kids who have moved out. I’m close friends with only one other person.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Does it bug me that my kids are culturally closer to Japan than the UK? Not a jot. They’re currently dominant in neither culture, although I can see Japan becoming more dominant as they get older.

It’s not for me to judge; I need to take responsibility for my choices, which includes moving to Japan. If they become more ‘Japanese’, what else should I expect?

thesparrow's avatar

I would never move to my native country just because I espouse these values.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@RareDenver – that song’s about a man wanking over photos of his ex-girlfriend.

RareDenver's avatar

@the100thmonkey I was hoping we could skip over that part and just sing along to the jolly sounding chorus

the100thmonkey's avatar

@RareDenver – OK, but that involves skipping to the cumshot.

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