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My Little sister Migration Experiences 1

Guided paper

Christiana Ballayan

My Little sister Migration Experiences

What causes the tension between immigrant parents and child?

Enculturation, Immigration, Acculturation, Fall 2018

Professor Glen Milstein, Ph.D.

The City College of the University of New York

Due Date: October 17, 2018

My Little sister Migration Experiences 2

My baby sister was one(1) when our Father migrated to the united state in search

for a better life from Liberia. We were both raise by our mother Korto and other family

members. 14 years later, my mother, baby sister Motee and I migrated to the United to

live with our father. Motee was very excited to meet dad for the first time, she said she

couldn’t wait for talk to him and do other father-daughter stuff like other kids back home,

I could see the excitement in her eyes.

When we came to the United state everything was new to us, we had to fit in with others

in many ways, but my younger sister struggle the most with fitting in. she had to start a

new school, make new friends, learn to speak American English and lastly live with a dad

she just met for the first time.

Motee and I live with our father for a year but shortly I had to go away to college.

After one year of living with our father, my sister still find it difficult to communicate or

get closer to our father. She seems to distance and never want to talk about anything

personal with him. One weekend at the breakfast talk our father ask Motee about how she

felt about the new school. She completed ignore and kept eating. Everyone on the table

was conversing but yet motee refuse to converse with dad. I noticed that our father has

seen really annoyed by mote behavior, and I give her a look (I was annoyed by her) and

she give a smile to our father and answer school is going ok. I guess my influence on her

is a lot bigger then I thought, I spoke to her two weeks before that day and told her to

behave and understand that Dad left because he had to come here and create a better

future for us.

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Motee demonstrates a strong desire to distance herself from her father, but yet she wishes

she had a good connection with him from a young age and also presently.

Research Question:

What in Motee developmental stages and processes, can help explain why she ’s has

problems communicating with Christian (her father before and after she acculturated into

American cultural?

Stage: adolescent

Motee is 14 years old, at this period of her life she is in a transition from childhood to


Soma Processes:

A. PsychosexualMode: Puberty

Motee is in the Puberty part of her psychosexual development. She finds it difficult to

open up to her father because he missed all the other steps of her developmental stage.

That is a lot of missed bonding time. Rather than making an attempt to get close to her

father, she stays distant from him. She is unaware of how to be a daughter to a father

because she never had the opportunity before. She is struggling with role confusion.

Erikson & Erikson (1997) and Milstein & Lucic (2004)

B. Radius of Significant Relations: Peer group and outgoing model of leadership

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At this stage of development, Motee is more interested in what her peers have to say

and what they think is cool, she calls back home every day to communicate with her

friends back in Liberia and hasn’t made any friends in school yet. when she’s at home she

looks up to me more for advice then our parents. During the stage of puberty, adolescents

go through a range of hormonal changes and a number of consequent physical changes

which most of the time cause them to lash out. That could be more reason why she was so

distanced from her dad because her body was changing, she was transforming from a girl

to a woman, she probably felt embrace by her different changes.

Erikson & Erikson (1997) and Milstein & Lucic (2004) (page 56)

Ethos Processes:

C. Principle of Social Order: Ideological worldview

Motee is unaware of where she stands with her father. My father complains to our

mother about Motee behaviors towards him but mom said it best if she makes up her

mind about how she wants to fit in and come around. Our father feels conflicted because

want a connect with motee but she wouldn’t let him in, this could be mostly due to his

absence of about (4) developmental stage (1) infancy, (2) early childhood,(3) play age,

(4) school age. He missed out on all of her early developmental stages from when she

was a child, that was his chance to connect with her when she was easily about to trust,

and love without doubts. Motee is almost similar to the young kid we read about in class,

(Juan). He was taken away from his family at a very young age and return at an older age,

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his parent misses out on his important developmental stages, therefore, his parents looked

like an absolute stranger in his eyes. He couldn’t remember them.

Motee is not only Acculturating to a new cultural but she also has to acculturate to

a new family member. She has to learn everything all over again, including learning how

to have a father figure in her life. she have to make new friends, she had to learn and

understand the new way of speaking and understanding the world, and most importantly

she had to learn to connect with her father. Erikson mentioned that during adolescence,

teenagers tend to have more ego and pride along with defensiveness, that could be one of

the reasons why there is more tension at home and school. In order for motee to know

what will be expected from her in her future work world, she must learn

to“counterplay”(Erikson & Erikson, 1997(p. 27-28) in a positive way. She needs to learn

to accept her new environment and the people within it along with understanding her role

in society.

D. Ritualization: Ideological

Before moving to the United States Motee communicated more with her dad over the

phone. She did not seem to be distancing herself at that time. Motee would speak to him

about school and how well she was doing. At that time he was more interested in her

academics then getting to know her. However, when Motee migrated, tensions began to

rise, due to the fact that she could no longer bond with her father. His physical absence

would have a tremendous effect on her life. She needed to leave back her enculturation

back when her father was not around in order to Acculturate into the environment where

she has her father present and she has to play the role of a daughter. Because Motee was

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raised without her father present, they both lack (4)stages developmentally which is

impossible to go back and fix. As mentioned in Erikson(p.98) “one can say that a child at

this stage(play stage) learns to love to learn as well as to play—and to learn most eagerly

those techniques which are in line with the ethos of production” she did not get the

chance, when she was at the developmental stage, to learn to love or have play time with

her dad. Because she is in search for identity, she is she faced a crisis of balancing her

“Ego identity” and “self confusion”.

Glen Milstein (20016)(p.94)

E. Ritualism: totalism

Because Motee couldn’t find a better way of bonding with her father, she simply just

ignore his daily conversation or ignore any family activities. She tries her best to avoid

any awkward situation where she has to bond or communicate with her father. She was

able to avoid it for almost 2 years. After an old year our dad simply thought she hated

him and blame him for them not having a close father-daughter connection, he felt guity.

but in reality she was only searching for herself in the new home she was placed, Motee

struggle with identity crisis “who am I”. She doesn't know where she fit at home or when

she’s outside of the home. Her interactions with students at her school are not the best,

she didn’t make friends at school but rather came home everyday to communicate with

her old friend by in Liberia. She is constantly worried about how she sounds while in

school, therefore, she communicates less. Her accent makes it difficult for her to want to

interact with others. she worries about how they saw her because of her skin color (she

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was in a school where 75% of the student were white). she is unaware of “who she is or

needs to be” in order to fit into her new home and culture.

Milstein & Lucic (2004)

Psyche Processes:

F. PsychosocialCrisis (Task): identity vs identity confusion

“Who am I, Whom am I supposed to be to fit into society” Motee did not only struggle

with finding herself but also struggle with finding where she fit in her new society. she

slowly acculturated into American society and her new way of living, it took a year plus

to make new friends but as time goes by she was slowly understanding her role within her

new culture. During Puberty stage, teanagers must prove “rites of passage” where their

accomplishment or Ritual differentiated them from other teenagers. For motee to feel like

she fit in, she has to first know who she is and how she fits into her the world by using all

of her past experience from life and molding it up as something that society can see as a

whole with that accomplished she will fully acculturate in the new society.

G. Basic Strength: Fidelity

I explained about how Motee stress and struggle to Acculturate into her new culture,

home, and society, but I didn’t mention how stressful it was for our father, Christian, as

the head of the family, he felt unaccomplished because he couldn’t break through to his

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daughter. We come from a working class family, our parents work during the day and

sometime nights, it’s harder to find bonding or family time. Our father felt

unaccomplished because he left his family to come to the United States searching for a

better life. However, instead of getting praises, he received tension from his youngest

child. Motee was not able to bond with her father. His hope for a better father-daughter

connection pushed his daughter away. She couldn’t get on that level of connection

because she didn’t have a foundation for a proper childhood upbringing. She is stuck with

a blind spot of how to get where she wants to be. He’s in search of “fidelity”. But as

Motee gets older he came to a realization that because he only shows interest to one

aspect of her life before she came to the United states, she was stressed by his consist

push to becoming something he wanted instead of asking her what she wanted to do. He

realized he pushed her away. Erikson (p.96)“As it transfers the need for guidance from

parental figures to mentors and leaders, fidelity eagerly accepts their ideological

mediatorship—whether the ideology is one implicit in a “way of life” or a militantly

explicit one”

Excerpt From: Erik H. Erikson. “The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Version).”

H. Antipathy: repudiation

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Motee felt compelled to remain quiet everytime her father spoke to her. Our father

expectation of her becoming advance in school created stress and that later on lead to the

development of mental distress in her developmental side. His expectation of them

connecting without a history to balance on also caused her stressed, and the idea of

making new friends created more tension in her life.Erikson(p.96)“The antipathic

counterpart of fidelity, however, is role repudiation: an active and selective drive

separating roles and values that seem workable in identity formation from what must be

resisted or fought as alien to the self” Erickson also mention “Role repudiation can

appear in the form of diffidence covering a certain slowness and weakness in relation to

any available identity potential or in the form of a systematic defiance.”


14 years of absent from early childhood, till adolescence. A large chunk of Motee’s life

was spent without her father. Her father had his reasons for leaving. He was leaving to lay

the foundation for a new and better life elsewhere. A child has difficulty grasping on to

this idea and can hold grudges that can last a lifetime. His absence coupled with his

pridefulness makes it difficult for motee to desire to bond with her father only making the

pit of resent widen. As an adolescent motee heavily weighs the opinions of her friends,

and she wants to fit in also causes this pit to widen. Not to mention his constant force

towards her advancing in school and how much stress it brought to her mental well being

as a teenager. But as time passed he slowly started learning from his mistakes.

My Little sister Migration Experiences 10


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