Raising Children as Australian Citizens

In the country of Australia, as in just about anywhere on earth, immigrants face special sets of challenges that may at times be frustrating, but which can also go a long way towards shaping personal success and adding to memorable lifetime experiences. Immigrants may be affected by feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and social exclusion, and may find it difficult to meet new people, navigate a new way of life, and truly feel at home in their new surroundings. While such experiences are of considerable concern for adults, they can be especially worrying in the case of children, who may lack the resources or knowledge to cope with these issues. Though being exposed to different cultures, personalities, and ideas may well be beneficial for youths, the disruption caused by an international move and by life as an immigrant can detract from personal well-being and emotional security, and parents may notice that their children have negative experiences at school or in their personal lives that seem inconsistent with their age.

Deciding to become firmly rooted in Australia’s social fabric by taking the citizenship test and completing the citizenship application is of great importance for adults for a variety of reasons, but the need for children to be able to identify their new surroundings as home and to be treated with the same care and respect as others throughout their social environments is essential. Kids who grow up in Australia as illegal immigrants or as visa-holding visitors may feel that they are somehow less capable or less appreciated than other children, and may actually face discrimination from time to time, despite the country’s warm policies towards newcomers and towards youth in general. Talking with children about their concerns over life in Australia and other related issues, or even taking a child to a professional psychotherapist or counselor can often be notably beneficial, but moving forward with citizenship and reaping the many benefits it offers can yield the sense of comfort, identity, and belonging that children often crave.

There are many things that go into the creation of a happy and stable childhood, and one of the most important is often cited as being a reliable home. While children who are frequently moved from one place to the next in a single country may experience a fair degree of distress and social confusion, those who grow up in foreign lands like Australia without having legal or permanent status can face very different issues, sometimes wondering for years about who they are and where they’re really from. Though these self-inquiries may be natural and healthy, parents may find that their children are greatly soothed by the ability to identify as a true Australian –something that dual or full citizenship can deliver. Among the many reasons immigrants consider in their quest to become citizens, the benefits of citizenship for any children in the family often stand out for parents.

5 Comments

  • Darcy October 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I recommend all of you to take the test if you have family and become Australian. Your children will get involved more easily if they see you interested in becoming an Australian, it is an important task that needs to be accomplished for our children. since they need to feel they belong to Australia and they are not going away. Its a psychological mark that leads them to understand and cope with the change.

  • Jenavive October 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    If the kids are little there is no harm to them or their parents. My son had 13 when we moved to Australia. School was so hard for him and myself. It was a daily fight against the bullies and the teachers.
    But it all changes in time, now he has friends and is happy.

  • James November 5, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Interesting perspectives. I like this idea. I guess children need more help to overcome such situation.
    Studying with their parents for the citizenship test might be a good solution.

  • Forgiven November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Rasing children in a foreign country is more than a difficult task. The fact that they may loose all their country of origin roots is always there. On my personal account I can tell you. My sons talk to their parents in their national language and we observe my country traditions as well as Australian ones. Its the best for them to feel involved.

  • martina February 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    i was born in uruguay but my parents moved here when i was 5 years old and to be raised as an australian citizen was the best it could happened to me, i looove this country

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