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Essay Example on Maintaining the Old Culture in Refugees

4 pages
993 words
Sewanee University of the South
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Immigration has profoundly contributed to the richness of the cultural diversity, ethnicities, and races. However, shifting family dynamics for the refugees arriving in the United States have has caused loss of one's language, cultural values, and networks. In a broader note, it contributes to the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, social support systems and structures as well as the challenges in adapting to the new cultural changes and the concept of self (Esses et a., 2001). While adult immigrants still seem to identify themselves with the culture of their origins and want to pass that to their children, children, on the other hand, can act with sabotages and a lot of time want to identify themselves with social groups of their new environment. These frictions can have long-term consequences for families and how they adapt to the new cultures. This research paper will, therefore, implications of the shifting family dynamics for refugees arriving in the United States.

The video games and Televisions have also been shown to influence cultural change and development in children. The immigrant children will tend to emulate and embrace the lifestyles they see and watch video games and televisions. 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 Chinese film will tend to represent the Asian 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 networks.

Lack of extended family support

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 raise in the new culture. 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 emerge 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. 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 on 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

Shifting family dynamics for refugees in the United States has proven detrimental to the immigrants because of the loss of social structure and identity. To improve the situation, the following should be done (Mana et al. 2009). There is a need for more resources (more course-like offering for parents) on regard 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 similar culture of their origins exist

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 Americans 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.

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. 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.

Work with community to have jobs available

The shifting dynamics in refugees families can be reduced through creating new job opportunities within the community if residence. Through this, parents will be able to demonstrate the value of arts and culture regarding their identities.


In sum, there are things happening behind the scenes that we do not see. 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 need to offer appropriate resources required to face new struggle and challenges.



Bastian, B., & Haslam, N. (2008). Immigration from the perspective of hosts and immigrants: Roles of psychological essentialism and social identity. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 11(2), 127-140.

Esses, V. M., Dovidio, J. F., Jackson, L. M., & Armstrong, T. L. (2001). The immigration dilemma: The role of perceived group competition, ethnic prejudice, and national identity. Journal of Social issues, 57(3), 389-412

Mana, A., Orr, E., & Mana, Y. (2009). An integrated acculturation model of immigrants' social identity. The Journal of social psychology, 149(4), 450-473.


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