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Being a first generation South Asian Canadian woman, I have both experienced and seen in my practice the challenges which South Asian immigrant parents and Canadian born youth face. There is a constant struggle, due to the duality of cultures. Parents who have immigrated to this country came with dreams, hopes and aspirations for a promising future for themselves and their children. They have had their own settlement issues and difficulty acculturating. In addition, parents have a desire to keep cultural traditions alive and want their children to be able to follow those same traditions. However, adolescents tend to struggle between cultural traditions and Canadian values.
Youth experience social life, education and culture much differently in Canada, as compared to their parents back home. Having an open discussion at home can be a struggle in areas such as dating, drugs, alcohol, as well as safety on social. Whether it’s an inability for parents to understand their teenagers or poor communication between the adolescent and their parent, minors are impacted on several levels. This can result in low self-esteem and poor mental health, including suicide ideation. Through counselling, risk-assessments and goal setting, our youth can be provided with a safe space to openly share concerns while being supported.