Parenting in Immigration: Experiences of Mothers and Fathers from Eastern Europe Raising Children in the United States


immigrants, Eastern Europe, discipline, family, children


The present study examines the experiences of 50 immigrant mothers and fathers from Eastern European countries raising children in the United States. Qualitative analysis of in-depth personal interviews resulted in three themes related to: (1) issues of discipline and decline of parental authority; (2) opportunities to build a child's self-esteem and confidence; and (3) a need to balance and integrate two cultures. This study illustrates the process of negotiation between two cultures that immigrant parents engage in and provides support for integration as an acculturation strategy. Narratives of immigrant parents demonstrate that they are changing their childrearing practices to give their children more choices and allow children more power in the family, while, at the same time, trying to maintain their authority and discipline. As a result of exposure to the host culture, these immigrant parents also report placing greater value on developing their children's self-esteem and assertiveness as important qualities for successful adaptation to the new context. While selectively adopting new childrearing values and strategies, these parents report retaining some attitudes and practices from their original cultures in order to keep their children grounded in reality. Participants' quotes provide rich descriptions of their experience of parenting in immigration and contribute to our understanding of the cultural factors guiding their childrearing decisions. This study may be useful to researchers and practitioners working with immigrants.

Original Publication Citation

*Nesteruk, O., & Marks, L. D. (2011). Parenting in immigration: Experiences of mothers and fathers from Eastern Europe raising children in the United States. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 42, 809-826.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Comparative Family Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor