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Cultural Change and Development of Immigrant Children in the United States

4 pages
1020 words
Boston College
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Video games and television have also been shown to influence cultural change and development well as the challenges in adapting to the new cultural changes and the concept of self (Esses et al., 2001). While adult immigrants still seem to identify themselves with the culture of their in children.

Bastian & Haslam(2008) argues that The immigrant children will tend to emulate and embrace the lifestyles they see on video games and television. Some films are produced and meant for specific groups of people. For example, an American movie or film will tend to portray more of the western lifestyle, while an Arab film will tend to represent the Arabian lifestyles and beliefs. In the case of immigrant children in the United States, children will want to identify themselves with what they see (American culture). The resulting changes can be manifested through changes in behavior, language, and social network and this can either affect their behaviors positively or negatively.

Lack of extended family support

Lazarevic(2017) upholds that lack of the extended family support occurs as part of shifting family dynamics for refugees in the United States. In the case where the shift occurs, the family might not share the same identity with children raised in the new culture. Lazarevic (2017) continues to emphasize that based on the fact that majority of the immigrants grow up accustomed to interdependent lifestyles where extended families are the close inner circle of families, adjusting to independent society can be problematic. The grandparents may not be able to see and share with their grandchildren as they grow. In the same way, children may find it difficult to embrace the culture, lifestyle and even identity of their parents.

It is also difficult for parents working all the times to teach their children about identifying themselves with a given culture, language, and lifestyle. In a personal interview November 9, 2017, the former South Sudanese refugee child said, we usually speak English all the time (with her siblings) because it helps us connect better to our friends. Parents play an essential role in the early developmental stages of their children, and this includes offering guidance in physical, intellectual, emotional, and social aspects of life. In the case where parents spend all their time at work, they fail to inculcate the crucial aspects of the culture they desire for their children. Children from these families will, therefore, tend to engage in other activities that make them learn more about the new cultures, lifestyle, and language.

Suggestions to Improve the Situation

According to (Bastian & Haslam, 2008), shifting family dynamics for refugees in the United States have proven detrimental to the immigrants because of the loss of social structure and identity. To improve the situation, the following should be done; There is a need for more resources (more course-like offering for parents) in regards to the manner in which parents can inculcate their cultures, identity, and language to their children (Bastian & Haslam, 2008). Parents should be trained on ways of helping their children recognizing their interest in all things connected with their primary cultures and language.

Community Involvement.

Community involvement forms an essential aspect of cultural development. Notably, different community programs should be initiated with the aim of stimulating the recognition of given cultural elements and identity (Bastian & Haslam, 2008). Such involvement is also an essential approach to the preservation, management, and promotion of the cultural heritage.

Place refugees in places where a similar culture of their origins exists.

Eliminating a feeling of isolation and foreignness helps refugees preserve their social structures, identity, and cultures (Bastian & Haslam, 2008). It can be achieved through placing the refugees in places where similar perceptions of their origins exist. For instance, the Chinese immigrants should be made to settle in areas that have their Chinese American counterparts as residents. In this way, they will be able to feel at home and even continue embracing their cultures and language without the fear of being isolated. As portrayed in the play refugees undergo tremendous frustrations of being settled without a community. They develop feelings of being foreign and isolated. The US government, therefore, need to resettle Syrian refugees in the Arab neighborhoods. This will improve their social interaction and support network by giving them easy time to interact since they will be settled

Provide better English courses.

The English course can act as an instrument through which refugee parents can teach their children about the importance of preserving, protecting and embracing their cultures(Bastian & Haslam, 2008). In this way, they will be able to prevent the loss of social structures and identity. They will also be able to appreciate not only the western lifestyle but also their home way of life. From the video, it is evident that the United States resettled about 1700 refugees who fled from Syria as a result of war and persecutions that was taking place. The number, however, rose to 12000 in 2016. While this may portray a significant increase, nations like Canada accept more than 33000 Syrian immigrants. (Esses et al., 2001) Some of the challenges expressed by the refugees were limited exposure English courses. If this could be improved by the government of the United States, the problem of shifting family dynamics would be reduced

Work with the community to have jobs available.

The shifting dynamics in refugees families can be reduced through creating new job opportunities within the community of residence. Through this, parents will be able to demonstrate the value of arts and culture regarding their identities, and this will also acts as a source of income to the community and also to make them busy and thus they will feel to be more accommodated in the system.


In sum, there are various things happening that we do not realize. In this way, we need to go deeper to understand how refugees are experiencing the situation. It will improve our understanding regarding the manner in which we can mitigate the solution. The ever-changing policies on refugee issues derail an establishment of proper initiatives to cater for cultural preservation and protection. Finally, the government needs to offer appropriate resources required to face new struggles and challenges.



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