When you are trying to build a life as a new immigrant in a new country you often take your family for granted. That, however, is the worst thing you can do to yourself or to your loved ones.
When it comes to life as an immigrant man or woman, you just cannot take your family lightly. When you get your family dynamics right, it becomes easier to settle and be fully integrated here in Canada. And sharing with partners make this tough task easier.
When you move to Canada, the dynamics of your family and the way you do things at home will also need to be reviewed and re-adjusted.
What constitutes family dynamics is different from place to place, community to community. For instance, Africa is predominantly a patriarchal society unlike the matriarchal model of developed nations. Usually in Africa or Asia, men call the shots! Men assume leadership and decision-making roles and it is unusual for men to take on the tasks at home such as house-keeping and “mothering” the children. Most other cultures around the globe have similar practices.
Not here in Canada.
Here, men do the washing.
Men take out the trash.
Men babysit the children.
Men can stay at home while women are out working in offices.
In Canada, like most of the Western world, men and women share roles and responsibilities. The norm differs here from people to people. And without realizing it, some of these issues lead to unidentified or unspoken tension within the family and the society. This accounts for many failed immigrant marriages and relationships in Canada.
Be open to unlearn and relearn. Don’t be rigid in your traditional outlook and corner. The quicker you accept a different scenario and the quicker you adapt, the easier your life will be.
Here, how we define relationships among couples, siblings, and within the extended component of family is different. There’s a lot of individualism and less interdependence here. A different kind of pressure and tension might arise with having to learn a new language, especially for those in Quebec, Ottawa, etc.
When you move here, the dynamics of your family and the way you do things will also need to change. There are many factors that can enforce change.
Here are some quick suggestions on how to protect your family.
- Realize that the issues are real.
Don’t live in denial or indulge in some form of blame game. Tensions are likely to arise and increase. And when there is tension, acknowledge it.
- The next thing to do is discuss the issues with your spouse, and then your children. Keep your discussion open. Let each person express their difficulties and expectations in constructive ways. Find ways to resolve the issues together through dialogue.
- Be open to learn, relearn and unlearn.
Embrace change. Don’t be rigid in your traditional outlook and corner. This is Canada and perception is different here. The quicker you accept this different scenario and the quicker you adapt, the easier your life will be.
- Raise your hand for help.
Everywhere you look here in Canada, there are different support groups that can help you. Ask around for where to seek and get help. If you are not comfortable going for counselling, find friends, extended relatives who you can talk to and take the necessary step towards addressing the issues. Join The Immigrant Life Community to rub minds with others.
- Be proactive in your approach.
Take only the steps that will mend broken walls. If things are broken beyond repair, be bold to leave it behind and create a new reality.
- You never can de-emphasize the power of prayer.
Pray about the situation individually and together as a family. It’s been said that a family that prays together stays together.
The journey to integration is long and can be a winding one. Adding loneliness or a disillusioned family to it will only make it harder and darker. It is not a path you want to take. Be intentional, therefore, about keeping your family together as long as there are no issues of abuse or violence. Help is always around. Find it. Seek it. Be guided. Be dynamic in your perspective and things will take a turn for the better.
Listen to the Episode 69 of the Immigrant Life Podcast