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How does immigration affect parenting

Wednesday, November, 9, 2011

How does immigration affect parenting?

 by Patricia Rotsztain



When you live in Miami, immigration is the norm. There are families from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Israel, Peru, Brasil, France, Canada, Russia and  many other places with different cultures and traditions. Walking through the Aventura Mall you hardly hear any English. The concentration of immigrants is particularly high in certain cities like Aventura and Doral. “What does this have to do with parenting?”, you may be thinking, and the answer is : a lot. When a family immigrates from a different culture, the children are the ones who normally adapt faster. They go to school, learn the language, make friends. Their flexibility and openness to change is far greater than that of adults. Their brain is like a sponge that absorbs the new. Parents, on the other hand, sometimes don’t speak the language, or have difficulty or a strong accent that makes communication a challenge. Maybe one parent stays home and doesn’t have too many chances to make friends. Sometimes work doesn’t leave too much time to explore and enter the local culture. What usually happens is that the children begin to act as a bridge between parents and the outside world. They are translators and interpreters. They are the ones ordering food at a restaurant, calling the bank, talking to the doctor. The power in the family shifts and parents become dependant on their children. This causes a confusion of roles and it is no longer clear where the authority is. If this situation is not addressed properly and bounderies, limits and rules are not established, the result may be a chaotic family relationship. Although children may act like they are in charge and enjoy this power, they usually feel unprotected and crave the safety of having their parents occupy their role. Utilizing the thechniques and tools of mediation, Parent-teen conflict resolution can be a modality that helps the family recover balance. For more information visit  or call 786-251-9513