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Findings

Intergenerational conflict and violence was a critical concern for all participants. They identified a range of reasons, some specific to the community and others associated with refugee migration in general. These included the shock of forced migration, long periods of being displaced or in refugee camps, and the demands of resettlement, including social isolation, housing, employment, scarce economic resources, and language and skill development. The impact of these realities on refugee families and their functioning is well documented (Ager and Strang 2008; Colic- Peisker and Tilbury 2003; Makwarimba et al. 2013; Milner and Khawaja 2010; Run 2012) and is not explored further here. Instead, this section considers a less explored, yet important source of conflict among South

Sudanese Australian families—that is, the differential acculturation of parents and children and its impact on family dynamics in the context of social, cultural, legal, and economic structures of Australia.

The foremost issue raised by all participants in relation to intergenerational family conflict is the cultural norms and values of their new country. Participants, however, were divided on the underlying reasons and mechanisms leading to conflict. Parents thought that the cultural values of Australia, particularly the greater sense of freedom afforded to youth, were undermining the existing structures and balance in their families. They believed that “youth have too much freedom in Australia.” In contrast, community leaders, youth workers, and younger participants thought that the issue was not freedom per se but the more nuanced issues related to how quickly parents and their children acculturated—a differential that shifted power dynamics within families and threatened parental power. Subsequently, parents struggled to find legally approved, yet culturally meaningful, parenting practices to maintain their parental authority and mentoring roles.

 
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