Growing up with Immigrant Parents

A young woman dressed in white looking at moutains in the distance

My parents had first arrived in Canada during the cold wintery months 25 years ago. If you are a child of immigrant parents (like myself) you might be quite familiar with the story of how our parents arrived. About how the only things they had when they first arrived were their amazing work ethic, their passion to achieve more and if they were lucky enough to afford shoes (my parents were not).  

To this day many of us are inspired by these stories and work hard to prove to our parents that those hardships they went through were worth it. Although, for me, this created an overwhelming feeling of pressure in the past 17 years of my life.

 This is my story on how I got rid of this pressure and finally accepted myself. 

10 years after my third older sister was born my parents had my twin brother and me. They held many expectations for my older sisters but they never really met up to these expectations. But soon after they had twins. As a result, my brother and I were encouraged throughout the years to "fix the mistakes of my sisters".

This created a sense of fear and approval from teachers to start at a very young age for me. The feeling of getting that A+ on that test made me feel worthy. Making my parents proud had become the only source of happiness in my life. It wasn't until recently when I found out that this was not healthy. 

Teachers over the years encouraged me to stop fixating on academic achievement but to also have fun doing things I enjoyed, if only I listened to earlier. It was not until schools went online that I figured out the importance of breaks and managing my time well enough to do things I enjoyed. During the lockdown, I got a job that made this self-growth come more naturally. The work environment along with my older coworkers at Tim Hortons helped me become more open-minded on my opinions towards life and school. 

For the first time in my life, I had actually begun to enjoy talking to adults who would not ask about my grades in school but instead have actual conversations with me. They really showed me the importance of developing connections with people who make you want to become a better version of yourself mentally and physically. Although many people do not enjoy their minimum wage jobs (which I can agree to some aspects) my coworkers had become a safe haven for my mental wellbeing. 

I found that once I had surrounded myself with people who spoke their minds and made me feel like a better person it made it easier to communicate with my parents. At the end of the day I can not blame my parents as the culture they grew up with was completely different from the one I was surrounded by. But I am thankful that I was able to overcome this weight of never feeling good enough.

Please surround yourself with things you enjoy doing and people who make you feel better mentally. You matter first, your parents may take time to change but do not be quick to assume they can not change as well. We are human after all. 

If you ever feel like you need someone to talk to please talk to me, I would love to have new friends!




"Making my parents proud had become the only source of happiness in my life."