Parenting, family functioning and lifestyle in a new culture : the case of African migrants in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Renzaho, André M. N., Green, Julie, Mellor, David and Swinburn, Boyd 2011, Parenting, family functioning and lifestyle in a new culture : the case of African migrants in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Child & family social work, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 228-240.
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This study documented the parenting styles among African migrants now living in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and assessed how intergenerational issues related to parenting in a new culture impact on family functioning and the modification of lifestyles. A total of 10 focus group discussions (five with parents and five with 13–17-year-old children; N = 85 participants) of 1.5–2 hours duration were conducted with Sudanese, Somali and Ethiopian migrant families. The analysis identified three discrete themes: (i) parenting-related issues; (ii) family functioning and family relations; and (iii) lifestyle changes and health. African migrant parents were restrictive in their parenting; controlled children's behaviours and social development through strict boundary-setting and close monitoring of interests, activities, and friends; and adopted a hierarchical approach to decision-making while discouraging autonomy among their offspring. Programmes seeking to improve the health and welfare of African migrants in their host countries need to accommodate the cultural and social dimensions that shape their lives. Such programmes may need to be so broad as to apply an acculturation lens to planning, and to assist young people, parents and families in addressing intergenerational issues related to raising children and growing up in a different social and cultural milieu.
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