Adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and people, lack of family support, and loneliness can be very stressful.
For Indian immigrants, the experience of American society and culture may vary depending on the age at immigration, level of education, part of India they come from as well as the part of the US they come to, and the community support such as the presence of friends and/or family in the vicinity. Even so, all first generation immigrants experience the trauma of adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and people, lack of family support, and loneliness to some extent. How an individual copes with this major change in his or her life depends on many things – most importantly on the personality and the personal resources of the individual.
As the children of first generation immigrants enter teen years, the difference in the American and Indian cultures become all too apparent. Parents often find it hard to deal with their teenager’s lack of communication, provocative fashions, and focus on their friends. They may feel overwhelmed in a culture that seems in conflict with their deeply held beliefs. They worry about drugs, sex, and violence. To protect their children, they may try to impose restrictions on their social life. Children may find it hard to reconcile with the values of their parents and may feel overwhelmed by their expectations.
The children of the first generation immigrants or the so called 1.5 G immigrants face a multitude of challenges. They assimilate into the host culture, but they also identify with the culture of their country of origin. They value the opinions of their parents, but find it hard to comply with their value system. Often the parental focus on professional growth, career path, marriage, and economic security for their children conflicts with what the children want or feel ready for. Such inter- and intra - personal conflicts often lead to frustration, anger, and a general sense of dissatisfaction in the family relationships.
Every human being is different and everybody experiences the world in his or her own manner. It is not possible to capture the entirety of the conflicts that Indo-American families face in a few sentences. I provide counseling to help my clients explore, understand, and resolve their conflicts in their own unique way.