The face of family in 2012 is constantly changing. Not only do we have more single-parent families, blended families and same-sex parent households, but we also have more diverse families. This diversity may come in the package of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language and on and on. Since many of the previously mentioned don’t fit into the stereotypical box of what family is supposed to look like, these couples and families often find themselves making up their own rules as they go. For my purposes, I am going to focus on the multicultural couple and family.
I have experienced firsthand both the joys and challenges of being part of a multicultural family. Subsequently, I have developed a great interest in working with individuals, couples & families from such diverse backgrounds and specialize in working in this area.
It can be a wonderfully enriching and exciting experience to be part of a multicultural couple or family; varying traditions, ideologies, values, cuisines & languages all coming into one home. But what happens when these couples or families hit a speed bump? Oftentimes, differences in culture can become a source of conflict and even a divide in these relationships.
In an effort to better serve our diverse community by promoting awareness, I have highlighted 10 issues/questions unique to multicultural couples & families from both my clinical work and personal experience.
- Roles: Who has what responsibilities? Who has a job? Who cleans the home? Who makes dinner? Who makes the rules?
- Loyalty vs. independence: How much time is appropriate and comfortable to spend with family of origin? How much money is appropriate and comfortable to spend on family of origin? How much time do we spend away from family of origin?
- Hierarchy: My culture is patriarchal. My culture is matriarchal. Whose opinion is most valued and respected in the family? Read the rest of this entry
With Thanksgiving just behind us, we are well into holiday season. As many of us were recently surrounded by family, we are thinking about how to get through the rest of these upcoming gatherings unscathed. It is truly magical how as young adults and even full grown adults we can walk into our parents home and suddenly we are fourteen again. How’s that for time travel?
For the majority of the year, we are consumed with creating the life we want, focusing on our careers, friendships, love lives and social outings. Aside from a few rough patches here and there, we generally think of ourselves as mature and functional adults. However, much of that goes by the wayside when we come face to face with the people and surroundings that molded us into the individuals we are today. Suddenly, we have picked up right where we left off; resuming the same role in our family as we did in adolescence, arguing over the same issues with our parents and siblings, and of course, resorting to the same old coping mechanisms and habits that we were so sure we left behind once we moved out.
It never ceases to amaze me how prominent this topic of conversation is not only in my professional life, but also in my personal life. For some it is dreading the helicopter mom who prods for all the details, for others it’s avoiding getting sucked into the screw up sibling’s latest saga and for others it’s a struggle to achieve that delicate balance of parental validation and independence. Regardless of what flavor your family cocktail is, here are five pointers to guide you through! CONTINUE READING!