Roles of the family in the United States

Relocation or immigration to the United States can have a major impact on your family. Changing family roles can be one of the most difficult aspects of adjusting to a new life. Understanding family roles in the US can help you cope with the changes.


Gender-based roles

In the United States, gender roles are probably one of the biggest differences you will have to adjust to in terms of roles within the family. In the US, women often work outside the home. Women and men share household duties. Women and men look after the children. Sometimes male refugees get frustrated because they are not used to cleaning or cooking dinner. But in the United States, helping around the house and with the children is considered an important part of being a man.


Roles of parents in the family

Parenting in the United States can be very different from parenting in your home country. Refugee and immigrant children often adjust and adapt to life in the United States much more quickly than their parents. They often learn English faster than their parents. This can be difficult for you as a parent and for your children, especially since you may sometimes depend on them to travel or to translate for you.

Many Americans send their children to day care centres. This means that they are looked after by someone outside the home. For some refugees this is a very strange situation. You may have always had your children at home with you or perhaps you had grandparents to look after them. In the United States, many neighbours help each other to share childcare. If you live near other refugees and immigrants, consider asking them to share childcare.


It can be difficult for newly arrived parents because their children’s behaviour changes from what it was in their home country. You may not like some of their new behaviours, and you will have to learn new ways of parenting in the US. Yet, even though it may be difficult, you will still be able to pass on some of your culture to your children while helping them succeed in the United States.

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