chapter  12
13 Pages

The life adjustment of children from new immigrant families in Taiwan

The phenomenon of Taiwanese men marrying women from Southeast Asian countries has been portrayed as a social problem by mainstream society in recent years. The above fundraising slogan was a typical (or stereotypical) portrait of these families and what their children experience at home. Children born to mothers from Southeast Asian countries, the so-called ‘new Taiwanese children’ (ᮄৄ ☷Пᄤ), represent a growing segment of Taiwan’s increasingly diverse population. The poor performance of these children has become a major concern. Many people in mainstream society are afraid that these children will grow up to be less competitive adults and, as a result, will represent a deterioration in the quality of the population. Some research has suggested that the overall adjustment of these children is poorer than that of their peers, especially in cognitive development and academic performance. Do new Taiwanese children really perform worse than children born to two Taiwanese parents, or is their performance misjudged due to stereotyping? For children entering adolescence, the period in which one tries to mould one’s identity (Erikson 1959), would such a social image have an impact on their adjustment? It is crucial to understand how these new Taiwanese children adjust in their academic and social lives, including their educational performance, social interaction with peers, psychological and behavioural problems and other factors associated with their overall adjustment.