“Children are going on a Different Path”: Youth Identity from the Bangladeshi Immigrant Parents’ Perspective


The objective of this study was to describe youth identity from the parents’ perspective focusing on the impact of migration on identity formation for both parents and children. The semi-structured interview guide was developed using an intersectional lens (Crenshaw 1989). Interviews with Bangladeshi immigrants (n = 18) living in Toronto, Canada, were analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101, 2006) guide on thematic analysis and a systems framework (Khanlou et al. 2018). Parents described youth identity as a time of conflict fraught with turmoil, confusion, loneliness, and dual identity. Parents felt their children were on a divergent path from themselves in terms of identity and often felt the changes in their children as a result of acculturation were difficult to comprehend. Their identity as a “parent” took precedence over all other roles in life, particularly for mothers. Parents and children experienced changes in their identity at the macro-, meso-, micro-, and individual levels. Parenting support programs and resources are particularly needed for families with adolescent children to help mitigate conflict within the home and bridge understanding between parents and children as identities shift and transition through the migration and resettlement process.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Farah Islam.

Ethics declarations

The study was approved by the Research Ethics Human Participants Review Sub-Committee Board at York University, Toronto, Canada.

Conflict of Interest

Farah Islam, Anjum Sultana, Syeda Qasim, Mari Kozak, Hala Tamim, and Nazilla Khanlou declare that they have no conflict of interest. Farah Islam received research funding from the Research Cost Fund (Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University), LaMarsh Child and Youth Research collaborative group (York University), and the La Barge Scholarship in Multiculturalism (2013-2014) (York University).

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

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Islam, F., Sultana, A., Qasim, S. et al. “Children are going on a Different Path”: Youth Identity from the Bangladeshi Immigrant Parents’ Perspective. Int J Ment Health Addiction 19, 143–154 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-019-00148-4

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  • Youth identity
  • Parent
  • Immigrant
  • Canada
  • Bengali
  • Bangladeshi diaspora
  • South Asian diaspora