Struggles of a Vietnamese American Adolescent

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The term “culture” elicits strong feelings within the Vietnamese community. The adults and elders would tell young people culture is a way of being that involves talking, acting, and following traditions. For second-generation Vietnamese adolescents, culture becomes an everyday battleground. A battleground that takes no prisoners leaving the field desolated. As a result, adolescents are left psychologically, emotionally, and mentally torn to pieces. They must navigate two cultural systems that contradict on another. The dominating American culture stresses individualistic idealism whereas Vietnamese culture stresses collectivistic idealism. At the same time, peer pressure further exacerbates family and personal conflict. Adolescent within America culture seek self-reliance, subsequently they desire more control making decisions about their lives (Young, 1991). In addition, exposed to external subcultures and peer world, adolescents begin to feel separate themselves from their parents (Grosskopf, 2007). However, Vietnamese adolescents during this period are expected to assume adult responsibilities such as providing, sharing, and working for the family (Yang & Han 2007). All the while, their peers are exploring, questioning, and forming their own self-identity. They become entangle in a web of no end. Second-generation Vietnamese Adolescent Dilemma Both sides are relentless in their pursuit to win. Therefore, adolescents report feeling forced into choosing between home life or American society (Stroink & Lalonde 2009). Usually, acceptable behavior such as sexuality, education, and peer relationship surfaces cultural conflict. Second generation adolescents frequently struggle with two selves that are unable reconcile the d... ... middle of paper ... ...6), 556-561. Shariff, A. (2009). Ethnic identity and parenting stress in south Asian families: implications for culturally sensitive counselling. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 43(1), 35-46. Stroink, M, & Lalonde, R. (2009). Bicultural identity conflict in second-generation asian canadians. The Journal of Social Psychology, 149(1), 44-65 Trickett, E, & Jones, C. (2007). Adolescent culture brokering and family functioning: a study of families from vietnam. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(2), 143-150. Ying, Y, & Han, M. (2007). The longitudinal effect of intergenerational gap in acculturation on conflict and mental health in Southeast Asian American adolescents. American journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(1), 61-66. Young, P. (1991). “Families with adolescents,” in F. Brown (Ed.), Reweaving the Family Tapestry, (New York: Norton), pp. 131-148.
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