Difficulties in cross-cultural relationships

Published in Blog by Hannah Piper on March 8th 2022

cross cultural parents

Around a third of the people who take part in our FREE Parenting Together course at Tavistock Relationships are from cross-cultural couples or co-parenting relationships. To make the best of a cross cultural relationship, often parents will need to adapt to have a relationship that will benefit them and their children, our interventions help parents to do this. Hannah Piper, of Tavistock Relationships' Reducing Parental Conflict Team, explains more.

Cross cultural relationships involve the stresses and strains that affect all parents but in cross cultural relationships there may be additional challenges such as clash of religious beliefs, feeling a loss of identity, and different parenting tactics. It can be hard to adjust or adapt to these things which can cause conflict within your relationship. In a cross-cultural families, parents will need to adapt and accommodate to the other person’s culture. There may also be pressure from the wider family, which can affect parents’ decisions. Our course helps parents think about what they can bring into the family, what can be jointly celebrated, and what can be left behind.

Parents often have conflict when it comes to how their children are raised, and which parent is going to dominate the child’s upbringing, as parents will often feel a loyalty to their culture and traditions. One of our practitioners, Angela Greenaway, gave an example of this She noticed that within mixed ethnicity couples that included an Afro-Caribbean parent, there can be lots of conflict around the maintenance of the hair of the child. This can cause even more conflict when the parents do not live together. Routines, habits, and values can differ between cultures, some cultures may be stricter than others or have different priorities, causing arguments between parents about discipline. These arguments can influence children and can cause low self-esteem within a child due to conflicting expectations.  

 Our trained practitioners will support cross-cultural parents in learning how they are different and how they can bring their differences together in order to parent in harmony. They will open up a conversation about each other’s religion, ethnicity and race without prejudice and bias. Parents will be guided to identify difficulties and work together to see what is best for them and their children and what can be done to avoid conflict.

 If you are experiencing any issues around navigating parenting with someone from a different cultural background, please go to Parenting Together or call us on 020 7380 1960, to find out more and to apply for this free support. We are taking new referrals up until the end of March and have helped many couples and co-parents with this programme over the last three years.

We provide support to families living Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Peterborough, Essex, Southend, and Thurrock.

We also provide support within London to families living in Camden, Croydon, Hammersmith & Fulham, Chelsea & Kensington, Brent, and Westminster.

Share this with friends and colleagues

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Please choose an option
Invalid Input
Invalid Input