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Insights from Hana.iam: Blogs on How to Help Diaspora and Immigrant Children

As a child born to immigrant parents who fled our home country, there are untold pressures faced by us that only others in our position can understand.


Now, don’t think I'm saying that they are the only ones, but they are in similar positions and can understand the joys and frustrations we endure even into adulthood.

Children of immigrants have the pressure to perform better, be better and try harder than their classmates as our parents have a firm belief that education is the only way we will ever be successful or financially secure. Even our current Prime Minister had those expectations [although that is the only time I will ever compare myself to him] and his parents worked extra hard to give him every advantage they could. Although they had the luck of being educated professionals many immigrants and refugees do not have that luck.

Young man sitting in a library surrounded by books and thinking very hard

Back home, my father was a successful mechanical engineer. When he came here, he was told his qualifications were worthless and he worked first as a security guard and then as a care worker before he retired due to arthritis and other medical issues.

Now, why am I bringing this up?

The students I have are mostly children of immigrants and refugees whose parents are working two or more jobs to help their children get that edge. Sometimes, their expectations are so high that he it puts undue pressure on these kids. The pressure that can be avoided with a little understanding and conversation.

These kids are not failing, mind you. They are bringing in Grades 5 and 6 while only being in year 10. Which, in case you didn’t know, is absolutely fantastic! Yet they tell me their parent is asking why they didn’t get an 8 or a 9.

Parents – celebrate their success!

family of four sitting around a table smiling in joy, surrounded by balloons and under a sign that reads 'students success'

Don’t pile on more pressure with your expectations, be happy for them and help them improve instead of saying “You should have gotten Grade 9!”.

Worse, do not compare them to your friend's children! Please don’t mess with their heads like that!

They are already under so much pressure from themselves, school and peers. They do not need it from you as well.

Protect them from your unfair expectations.

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