Bridging parent - youth expectations

January 2017

I am 16 years old and came to Edmonton in 2003 with my family.  I am the only child of my parents.  We are Muslims and we are sponsored by a mosque to be in Edmonton.  As such, I’m expected to keep the religion and do fasting on certain cultural periods. 


I would say I am a good student; I like school and I have decent marks, I have not had got into any trouble and I’m not involved in gang or drug use.  However, I ran away from home and stayed at a friend’s place for a couple months since early November because I could not stand the expectations and control from my parents, plus I am not really into the religion, andthe fasting has been hard on me.  My parents pressured me to have an average mark in the 90’s, and come home straight after school without any extra-curriculum activities.  My phone and computer were taken away and I was told to just focus on school work and not allowed to be in the school sport team, which I love.  I had already tried my best but my marks were only in the 70’s.  Besides, I did not want to go to mosque and do fasting.  To them, this was completely not acceptable and they deemed me as not respecting our religion and culture.  I had determined I did not want to stay there and suffer.  Luckily a friend took me in. 


Soon after my friend invited me to an after-school basketball night at McDougall School that he loves to go.  I got to know the coordinator, youth leaders and other youth.  They often check on our recent beings and we are encouraged to share any concerns troubling us.  Therefore, the coordinator found out my family situation and I could not afford a bus pass to school.  He quickly gathered some resources and provided me with a monthly bus pass.  He also obtained my permission to speak with my parents, then later mediated between me and my parents to come to an agreement of some mutually accepted expectations and behaviours.  He shared with them what are realistic expectations as well as youth behaviours in general.  By the end of December I have returned home.  Now we communicate and understand each other more and we have a better relationship. 


I have made some good friends at the regular McDougall basketball night.  I would continue to go to the youth group.  There are other activities which teach me life skills, such as cooking and doing laundry.  I know I have someone with whom I can share my concerns, and also I get support from.  I will continue to try my best at school and being a good son.