S**t ____ Parents say: Foreign Parents and Their Cultural Differences in Parenting

parenting styles, foreign parents, cultural parenting, immigrants, second languageOnyeka is a 16 year old from Orange Park, FL. She loves running, meeting new people, and reading. Onyeka loves making friendship bracelets, she one day hopes to become an entrepreneur and sports medicine physician.

S**t [Enter ethnicity of parents here] Parents say

The YouTube phenomenon of s**t people say has turned it up a couple of notches. “S**t Parents Say” contain hilarious footage that provides an insight on the lives of children of foreign born parents.  People may say these videos are stereotypical, or even offensive, but suffice it to say you can’t deny that most, if not all, is pretty spot on.

Here are a few:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5MJbZ4l4J8&ob=av3n

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoSdAgSiPu8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxU5NCPTY7g&feature=related

People relocate to America searching for the American Dream, seizing opportunities here that are not available in less developed countries. When coming to America they not only bring themselves and their family over, but also their customs and traditions. In a way they also bring their country with them–  as they say, you can take the man out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the man.

There are multiple commonalities between different ethnic backgrounds of the parenting ways of foreigners. Certain things that you might call normal here have never been heard of in other countries.  Imagine every time you wanted to hang out at a friend’s house going through this rigorous process. Make sure you tell them three weeks in advance and remind them every couple of days of where you plan to go so they don’t forget. You have to make sure they know your friends parents and the exact time you’re leaving and time you’ll be back. Don’t even think about making any “impulsive” decisions. When you come back get ready for the interrogation. Were there any boys? Any alcohol? Any drugs? Though they know you would never do anything like that, they still pester and pester, until you’ve finally given up from going to any social events and become a hermit crab. It makes having a social life or any kind of life for that matter difficult because they just don’t understand. Take my parents for example, I wanted to go to a party that was coming up the weekend of spring break and it just so happened I attended my best friend’s birthday party the weekend before. The miniscule social life I had went down the drain this year because I’ve been so busy doing homework and studying all the time. So, anyway, I asked my dad and these are his exact words “You party too much, go read your book!” Parents loosen up! Let your teens have some freedom, because the first chance they get they’ll leave and never come back. Or they’ll rebel and in that case you won’t be able to control their lives any longer.  That takes me to my next point.

Education, Education, Education.

Don’t get me wrong, getting your education is a great thing, but it seems like in a foreign parent’s mind it’s the one track to guarantee success. Our grades are monitored daily– and don’t even think about bringing less than a B home. I even know some parents who think anything less than an A is unacceptable. They hold us up to this infinitive rung on the success ladder and anything less than that is deplorable. This quarter, I was freaking out over a 78 I had in chemistry a week before grades were turned in for report cards. I mentioned this to my dad and his response was –wait for it- “you don’t read enough.” As soon as I returned to school the following Monday I requested my grade from my teacher and to my astonishment it was a 92! My expectations were a low B so the news made my whole day. When my father came home I told him about the latest advancement in my grade, his response was “Why wasn’t it a 98?” Parents, this is way too much pressure on your teens to live up to your high standards. We may not always make your goals, but you have to know that we tried our best. For them, getting good grades means getting into a good college and after college we go to medical school or law school or school for engineering (I swear these are the three careers they deem adequate). It seems like they have already planned out our future for us without any input from us teens. I know my parents don’t expect anything less than some career in the medical field from my sisters and me, preferably a doctor or pharmacist. Parents, back off and let us figure out what we want to do with OUR lives. Granted, we will make mistakes and change it up a few times, but to live we have to learn from our mistakes. All we need is your loving trust and support.

If you’re a teen of a foreign parent you have to know that even though they seem like they are intentionally trying to ruin your life, they’re not. They’re looking out for your best interest in their own patronizing way. They weren’t brought up in America so they don’t know what the norm is for American teens. Parents, we understand you not wanting to completely assimilate into the ways of American culture. So you have to find a healthy balance between the two for the sake of the relationship between yourself and your teen.

Photo credit: macpke7 from flickr

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