Publication Date

Summer 7-8-2012

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin Brennan

Second Advisor

Dr. Sora Friedman

Abstract

This study explores the pressure to succeed that some Indian and Pakistani first generation parents put on their second generation children living in the United States. The study was conducted through guided interviews with fourteen interviewees; six first generation parents who immigrated to the United States between 1966 and 1978 and eight second generation adult children between the ages of 20 and 35. The study captures the intergenerational stress that occurs when parents want their adult children to study traditional and stable careers that the second generation adults are not necessarily interested in. It also explores the pressures and limitations that the first generation parents experienced when choosing a career for themselves in Pakistan and India.

The parents came to the United States as educated professionals and made comfortable lives for themselves. The children have been exposed to many possibilities and do not have the same financial worries as their parents. All of the interviewees have close familial relationships and communicate with their families on a daily basis. The children do not want to displease their parents but understand why their parents desire them to study and work in fields such as engineering, medicine, law, and business. Despite some of the parents’ lack of understanding towards putting passion and personal interests before financial stability, all second generation interviewees ultimately chose to make life decisions on behalf of themselves and not their parents. Overall, all second generation children felt that their parents’ attitudes towards their careers were well intentioned but not necessarily contemporary. All first generation parents respected their children as individuals, even if they did not understand the rationale behind their children’s choosing of their respective careers.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education | Sociology | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies | Student Counseling and Personnel Services