All families experience conflict as children grow, develop stronger identities and become more independent. This conflict can be harder for families with refugee and migrant backgrounds as they settle into a new environment with different values.
Some key factors that can enhance conflict in refugee and migrant families include:
- Changed power dynamics, such as when children speak English better than their parents or guardians and take on greater responsibilities within the family
- Children adjust to their new culture better than parents, due to easier adaptability and pressure to fit in with their peers in school. This often includes taking on new values, which can conflict with parents values
- Increased pressure on family members who experience discrimination in schools or the wider community
- Mental health issues and trauma relating to individuals’ migration journeys or conflict in their country of origin
- Loss of wider family and community support from country of origin
- Financial stress.
We know that all families are different and not all of these will work in your family, but here are some tips to manage family conflict:
- Try to understand the point of view of your parent or guardian
- Take a few deep breaths before you say anything in an argument, or even better, respectfully walk away, so you can talk later when you are feeling more calm
- Listen to what your parents/ guardians have to say and then explain how you are feeling and why
- Be prepared to compromise, they give a bit and you give a bit, it is probably better than being in conflict all the time
- Remember that even though it sometimes feels like it, not going to that party, or not seeing that friend is probably not going to be very important in the long run, but having a good relationship with your family or guardians is important.
If you experience violence in your home, it might be helpful to talk to a trusted adult, such as a teacher or counsellor, or call telephone help services such as Kids Help Line or Lifeline Australia (listed in the Services Available page).
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger from violence, call the police on 000.