By Wanda Parker
Immigrant children are third culture children. As they try to assimilate into American culture their parents cling to the culture from which they just came. Thus the children find themselves caught in a third culture – a mixture of their parents culture and the new American culture. Where do they fit?
Learning how to make apple pie is one small piece of learning more of American culture.
In this next month there will be a mother/daughter luncheon where everyone will enjoy the blending of cultures as the mom’s bring their favorite dishes from their country.
Everyone learns from each other.
It is important for those working with immigrant children to give them tools to assimilate into American life and at the same time giving them pride in their heritage.
Culture is never static – it is always changing. Often immigrants cling to customs which no longer exist in their country of origin. For instance: our family has celebrated Christmas with traditions my grandmother brought with her from Sweden. Many of those traditions are no longer celebrated in Sweden. My children, now grown, have no interest in continuing with those traditions.
Every culture has its good points – but there comes a time to move on, to change.
As you work with immigrant children be sensitive to their parent’s culture – but also think of what each child needs to know and be able to do to be a success in America.