Struggles of a Vietnamese American Adolescent Essay

2973 Words 12 Pages
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 …show more content…
They are forced to choose between the “fun life” and an “obligated life.” The “fun life” does not include their families.
Amish adolescents are similar to Vietnamese adolescents because they both are expected to side with their people, “culture.” They are face with constant dilemmas such as, do they hang out with peers or go home and care for the family. Adolescents are taxed emotionally and psychologically from the constant cost benefit analysis from choosing. They simply cannot give up their family who care and love them. However, how do they form an identity other than what has been determined for them? It is no wonder why angry, guilty, and hurt which result in parent-child conflict. These child-parent discrepancies are related to lower levels of life satisfaction among adolescents, particularly second-generation Vietnamese American (Phinney & Ong 2002).
These dilemmas foster cultural conflict because in many cases the adolescents distant themselves from traditional values. Essentially, parent-child cultural values become too different. Imagine two very close childhood friends who grew up in the same neighborhood, went to same elementary school, and did everything together. However, overtime as they develop self-identities, they drifted apart. Eventually overtime, neither recognizes one another. Parent-child conflict maybe caused from this analogy of

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