One in seven residents of Illinois is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.
If your parent(s) immigrated here from another country, but you were born in the United States, you are considered a first-generation (first-gen) adult child of immigrants.
Navigating Cultural and Generational Gaps between First-Gen Parents and their Adult Children
You are not alone.
- Over one-third of all U.S. college students are first generation
- More than one in six workers in Illinois is an immigrant
- Approximately one in four of U.S. born children live with a parent who immigrated
- Approximately one-third of all business owners in the Metro Chicago area are immigrants
Establishing your own identity while honoring your heritage can be an emotional struggle. Often, being a first-generation adult involves intense and complicated emotions about yourself and your family, culture, and preferences. That layered experience requires time, space, and support in order to honor who you are and who you have become and also to practice self-acceptance.
You are not alone and you are enough. Contact us to learn how therapy can help you navigate the unique challenges faced by first-generation adult children of immigrants.
Or, as a first-generation adult child of an immigrant, you may have had to navigate experiences such as:
- Growing up with a deep sense of fear and anxiety of abandonment depending on your parent’s documentation status
- Continual pressure and expectations to grow up too fast and needing to coordinate adult things too quickly
- Feeling responsible for translating and attending school conferences for younger siblings
- Needing to financially contribute to the family household bills as an adult and/or teen
- Exposure to stressful things at a young age, such as: accompanying parents to doctor visits in order to translate, making medical decisions for the family, or handling parent’s banking and bill paying due to language barriers
- Missing out on fun child and teen experiences because you were expected to care for younger siblings due to your parent’s work schedule
If you can relate to the experiences and feelings above, working with a clinical therapist can help you explore feelings of isolation and abandonment while empowering you to manage and deflect potential marginalization you may experience due to your family’s status.
First-Generation Adults and Mental Health Therapy
Therapy offers a private, safe, and accepting space where you can learn about, connect to, and accept yourself. Processing stressful and painful experiences from your childhood can help you develop internal resources and hope for the future.
A therapist can help you:
- Decrease feelings of “impostor syndrome,” confusion, anxiety, guilt or shame
- Detach from parentification and inter-generational dilemmas and conflicts you’ve experienced
- Learn to embrace the flaws and benefits of each culture you belong to
- Increase your self-acceptance and identify your own personal values
- Decrease feelings of anxiety and guilt related to navigating divergent cultural values
- Process the internal conflict of needing support from family while also wanting to do what feels right for you
- Learn to build and maintain boundaries within your family system
- Develop a better sense of yourself while learning strategies to navigate your multi-cultural heritage
Meet our Therapists
At Health and Healing Therapy, we have therapists who specialize in working with first-generation adult children of immigrants and who understand the unique challenges and stressors they experience. We are here to support you as you embrace your culture, language, and traditions while accepting yourself and being proud of who you are.
You are not alone and you are enough.
We would welcome the opportunity to support you in managing life so you can reach your fullest potential and thrive.