Cultural Dilemmas

Cultural Dilemmas and Issues of Asian Moms in the U.S.

Asian Moms And Cultural Transmission

4 Comments

We Asian moms in the U.S., have made our choice to live in this country and provide better opportunities to ourselves and our families. Despite of living far away from our home country, we do a lot of things to create our own little world here. We celebrate native festivals, speak our language, wear traditional clothes on special occasions and like to interact with people of our own culture (these common behaviors of Asian moms are discussed in detail in my previous post). Why do we behave in this manner and how is our behavior influencing our children?

The foremost thing that comes to my mind when I deeply analyze our engagement in common cultural practices is that we all miss home, and have common cultural behaviors due to two reasons:

Deeply Ingrained Family Values And Culture. Although we have adjusted in the new cultural set up, our hearts still belong to our home country. We feel that it is our duty as mothers to teach our culture and family values to our children. We make sure that they learn our traditions and values, as there is nothing in their surroundings here in the U.S. that will teach them about our heritage. Our culture is so deeply ingrained in us that we do not realize that certain things we do out of habit are influencing our kids culturally.

Family Bond.

Family bonding, an important cultural value for Asian moms

Family bond, an important cultural value for Asian moms

In addition to this, strong family bond is also an important cultural aspect of our lives and becomes an essential part of our children’s lives as well. We miss our families back home and realize that our kids are missing the love and affection of family and friends we had in our childhood. We try to compensate that part by making frequent visits back home, interacting with our parents and families through technology (Skype, Facetime) and make our children participate in these interactions.

We are influencing our kids by passing on our culture to them on two levels- conscious and unconscious.

Conscious And Unconscious Cultural Transmission.    Many of us are making conscious efforts to educate our children about our culture and values. We teach them our language, read native books to them and educate them about our traditions.

Some of us are not making any conscious efforts, but  cultural transmission is taking place on an unconscious level through our routine actions and behaviors. We cook our native food, speak our language and celebrate our cultural festivals. We do not even realize that all these actions are influencing our children culturally.

We are taking full advantage of the opportunity provided by this country to practice our cultural traditions freely and do the things we used to do back home. In this process we are trying to give the best of both worlds to our kids.

We are always striving to strike a perfect balance between the U.S. culture and our own. And in this effort we are actually influencing our kids culturally in a conscious as well as unconscious manner.

Do you think your day-to-day activities are influencing your children culturally? Share with me the cultural footprints that you are leaving on your children’s lives.

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4 thoughts on “Asian Moms And Cultural Transmission

  1. Family bond is really important, but I think its power is somehow limited especially during childhood when kids spend more time in the school with their American classmates.
    In China, we spend most of the time with our classmates when we are young. We arrive at school at 7am and leave around 5pm. Students seldom go to different classrooms for classes. We always attend classes, have lunches, and play together. Classmates are like sisters and brothers after five years in primary school, four years in middle school, and three years in high school. We also have a class teacher like a parent. Our values are reinforced by our peers from the same cultural background even we don’t spend that much time with our families.
    Here in the US, kids not only learn from families, but also from their classmates that are mostly from a different culture. They may learn the idea of “being humble” from their Chinese parents, but only to see their classmates actively raising up their hands to show their intelligence. It’s very challenging to fill the gap.

  2. Asian parents have generally a strong desire and thus, make a conscious effort to keep the kids in touch with their culture. I agree one hundred percent with the reasons cited in this blog for this behavior of the asian parents.

  3. Navjot! I always enjoy hearing your perspective and stories about raising your daughter. I love that you’ve ended your post with a question. What a great opportunity to engage readers! I think your daughter will have a great tie to culture because you do so well at providing that balance.

    • Autumn, I am dealing with cultural dilemmas on a daily basis and striving to keep that cultural balance so that she fits in both the cultures. Like I said in my blog, trying to give her the best of both worlds.

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