Prolonged Separation and Reunification among Chinese Immigrant Children and Families: An Exploratory Study
The present study explored the lived experiences of Chinese immigrant parents in New York City who went through prolonged separation and faced challenges after reunification in the United States. The study assessed their attitudes, perceptions, and reactions to the separation and reunification process to gain better understanding of the ways prolonged separation and reunification impact on child development and family wellbeing. A phenomenological research approach was used to study qualitatively the narrative data from in-depth interviews. The analytical process was based on data immersion, coding, sorting codes into themes, and comparing the themes across interviews. The sample included 18 Chinese immigrant families who had sent their American-born children to China for rearing and reunited with their children within the past 5 years. Data analyses revealed specific themes that included reasons for separation, parenting methods, child’s initial adjustment, behavior, and family relationship, child’s social, emotional, and academic challenges, parental stress and challenges, and recommendations for services. This study contributed to our knowledge of prolonged separation, a common practice among a vulnerable, hard-to-reach immigrant population. It shed light on specific needs of Chinese immigrant families by examining closely the unique circumstances pertaining to prolonged separation, parenting practice, and related family challenges. An understanding of the approaches these families adopt to cope with life challenges may help inform practitioners in formulating service strategies for these families. Specific assessments in child-care, education, and health care settings are essential to prompt immediate follow-up and intervention when needed.
KeywordsChinese immigrants Separation Parenting Childcare
- Abrego, L. J. (2014). Sacrificing families: Navigating laws, labor, and love across borders. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Asian American Federation (2012). Asian Americans in New York City: A decade of dynamic change 2000-2010. New York, NY. http://www.aafny.org/pdf/AAF_nyc2010report.pdf.
- Asian American Federation (2013a). Asian Americans of the Empire State: Growing diversity and common needs. New York, NY. http://www.aafederation.org/doc/FINAL-NYS-2013-Report.pdf.Google Scholar
- Asian American Federation (2013b). Profile of New York City’s Chinese Americans: 2013 Edition. Asian American Federation Census Information Center. New York, NY. http://www.aafederation.org/cic/briefs/chinese2013.pdf.Google Scholar
- Asian American Federation (2014). The state of Asian American Children. New York, NY. http://www.aafederation.org/doc/AAF_StateofAsianAmericanChildren.pdf.Google Scholar
- Bernstein, N. (2009, July 23). Chinese-American children sent to live with kin abroad face a tough return. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/nyregion/24chinese.html.
- Bowlby, J. (1976). Attachment and loss, volume II, separation: Anxiety and anger. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Bowlby, J., Frey, M., & Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1953). Child care and the growth of Love. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Cheah, C. S. L., & Li, J. (2010). Parenting of young immigrant Chinese children: Challenges facing their Social-emotional and intellectual development. In E. L. Grigorenko, & R. Takanishi (Eds.), Immigration, diversity, and education (pp. 225–241). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chen, F. (2013). Fujianese immigrants fuel growth, changes. Voices of NY. http://voicesofny.org/2013/06/fuzhou-immigrants-fuel-growth-changes-in-chinese-community/.
- Friese, S. (2014). Qualitative data analysis with ATLAS.ti. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Grinnell, R. M., & Unrau, Y. A. (2013). Social work research and evaluation: Foundations of evidence-based practice (10th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Liu, S.W. (2014). Parental stress, acculturation, and parenting behaviors among Chinese immigrant parents in New York City (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest LLC. (3620826).Google Scholar
- Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: A method sourcebook (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. (2015). Summary of vital statistics 2013, the City of New York. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vs/appendixa-2013.pdf.Google Scholar
- Patton, M. (2014). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar