Being Haitian and living under a Haitian household can be both bitter and sweet. Why sweet? Well, most of our Caribbean parents demonstrate tough love because they truly care about us, but have an interesting way of showing it. We enjoy their delicious meals, but at times, even that is not enough.
When I was a teenager, I did not know certain feelings and perspective were “okay” to have. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and other fellow family members assumed children at my age, did not have any massive issues to worry about. I would always hear this sentence “Ou pa genyen aucun bill pou peye se timoun ou ye. Ki pwoblem ou genyen?” this false quote and question were discouraging to hear.
Perhaps you live in a home where your parents are always at work doing their best to keep food on the table and lights in the house or you live with guardians who are not emotionally connected and doesn’t create a safe place for you to express yourself. I want you to know that’s It’s okay to not be okay. You are doing the best you can and there IS someone who cares about your personal struggles!
I wish more parents understood that school, keeping up with grades, professors, the pressure to become this A student and boys all play a role in the everyday teen life, oh and let’s not forget the puberty phase and group of friends. Below I will share a couple of resources + advice you can implement if you’re struggling with not being okay.
Ready to get lifted? This will only work when you MAKE it work.
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“Mezanmi manman pale anpil, li toujou fache!” said James in creole. Translation “Oh my goodness, my mom talk a lot she is always mad!” Rebecca replied in the same language “Wi li pa janm tande sa map di li toujou dim se timoun ou ye” translation “Yes, she never listens to anything I try to tell her she always says I’m just a kid.”
Do these lines above sound familiar? Can we raise our hand if we ever tried to speak to our Caribbean- Haitian parents and it never got us anywhere? I want you to know you are not alone and there’s an army of Haitian teens who feel the same way. But why though? Why is it that our parents have issues understanding us? If anyone supposed to know us it should be them right?
I’m from Haiti. I am not mixed with anything which makes me 100% Haitian. Yes, I am a U.S citizen, but my home is St. Louis Du Nord, Haiti. I am familiar with the Haitian characteristics because both of my parents are from Haiti. I want to admit although my parents are not like most Haitian parents, they too have some traits that are at times annoying. Who else can relate? It can become very frustrating trying to get your point across. Sometimes, they assume what we have to say is not important. In their opinion, we are and always will be a child (does not matter what age you reach or the status of your life you will always be addressed as their child.) This is not a bad thing and we are not denying the truth that we are indeed their seeds for life, however it would not hurt to be given the freedom to express our emotions without hearing a threat or a funky phrase. Here are some of the reasons why our Haitian parents have a hard time understanding us sometimes in hopes this will help you to have more patience and compassion for them.
1. They cannot give us what they never received growing up. I know because they are our parents we expect for them to have all the answers, but honestly they don’t. I am not making excuses to justify this matter, I am simply shedding light to it. Most of our parents can agree to this. Some of them for example, my mom who left her mother house in her early twenties to start a whole family, she expressed to me when I was sixteen years old that her mom never had certain conversations with her because her mom was so strict. Sister, you have to know that your parents are doing what they know to do and they cannot pour into us what someone did not pour into them. Some of them grew up without a father or mother to guide them and this is why it's not easy for them to understand us especially if they did not comprehend themselves growing up.
2. Some of our parents are still carrying the “living in Haiti” mindset. This can become a barrier when we desire to speak to them or build a relationship because they are still living in the “old times” in their minds. How many scenarios you encountered with your mom or dad when in the midst of talking they said things like “Well when I was in Haiti….” not realizing that we are no longer in Haiti. Things has changed! Do our parents get this concept? NO. Do they want to accept it? NO. But this is reality and it’s going to take more than us being mad at them to change it.
3. Our parents have a hard time understanding us because they don’t think what we have to say matters. I want you to place yourself in this image that I am about to paint in your mind. When someone is speaking to you or to a crowd about a particular topic you do not agree with do you fight in your feelings and emotions to try and understand them in the moment? Or do you find it hard to agree with them because truthfully you don’t care about what they have to say? In the same way this is our parents. When they don’t think what we have to say matters, they mentally shut us down.
4. Our parents are too busy! After a long day at school or university we just want someone to talk to and release our day too, but sis again, that is not always reality. If it’s not church activities, work, going to a friend house, talking to someone on the phone, watching a movie, praying, or church conference we cannot get their attention. I am in no way denouncing church because I believe in God and I also believe in spending time in his tabernacle, but our Haitian parents can get carried away with church and other places mentioned.
I wrote this blog to help you have a better understanding to why Haitian our parents are the way they are because if know why someone behave the way they do then your chances of finding ways to approach them differently will be more than less. Can things change? Absolutely. It may look like a never-ending cycle, but that is not the case with God he is the God of the impossible. The bible says in Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Please, don’t give up on your parents. I know it’s tempting to do so, but if you have not already have a little more patience with them, they really need it. Now, I have an assignment for you to complete. I Know it’s easier to talk about how terrible our Haitian parents can act sometimes, but I want you to put in more effort this week to observe them and if there is something you can do, to make them at least smile, do it.
Let me know if this helps you? I want to hear from you. My Instagram page is nancyfleuridor and my twitter as well. Feel free to reach out to me, leave me a comment, share with a friend and as always,