Family in the Eyes of Englishmen and American III. Types of families Extended family ------ three or more generations Nuclear family ------ Two generations (parents + children) the parent (married, unmarried, widowed, Single-parent family ---- divorced) lives with his/her biological or adopted child Blended family ------ remarried couple and their children (adopted) Stepfamily Dink family ------ married, dual income, no kids Live-in couples ------ heterosexual or homosexual with or without child, unmarried but have a binding relationship III. The Change of Family Mode Reasons: Extended family a. Late marriage, late childbearing b. Higher divorce rate Nuclear family c. More emphasis on individual achievement d. feminism Single-parent family; single-person household; blended family Family in the Eyes of Different People To the Westerners: 1. Family is more important than work. When work and family are in serious conflict, family is always the first priority. individualis 2. They pay attention to psychological qualities m like love and togetherness. 3. There is more independence of each family member. 4. The main duty of every family member is not to advance the family as a group socially or economically, nor to bring honor to the family name. They just pursue individual fulfillment. Family in the Eyes of Different People To Chinese: 1. They emphasize the filial duty (children owe to their parents) and the responsibility (parents owe to their children) 2. They emphasize the peace and harmony of a family. 3. Every family member has the duty to advance the family as a group socially or economically, and to bring honor to the family name as well. Conclusion American views of marriage • Most Americans explain marriage choices in terms of love. • Romantic view of marriage • When married couples no longer feel this romantic love, it is relatively easy for the partners to come to the conclusion that they should separate and find someone else who they really do love. Chinese views of marriage • Chinese view ganqing (affection) as something that evolve and grows over time. Ganqing can be cultivated and nurtured in a relational context by means of mutual aid and mutual care. • To a couple, love is often one among other considerations, such as obligations to the parents and family. Related Information In the West: In the past, people got married and stayed married. Divorce was very difficult, expensive and took a long time. People married before they had children. Fifty years ago, it was socially unacceptable if one kept being single. Before 1960 cohabiting was very unusual. In China: Cohabiting, divorce, unmarried birth were morally condemned. The changing aspects of marriage “Trial” marriage The increase in one-parent family The increase in divorce Why? I. Related Information Divorce in the US The high divorce rate in the US is certainly related to American individualism. Americans tend to feel that most relationships are largely voluntary, in other words, that people can choose whether or not to stay in them. Thus, many Americans tend to feel a marriage relationship should be based on the free choice of both partners rather than on obligation. If one or both of the partners in a marriage no longer feels his/her needs are being met, and no longer wants to continue in the relationship, most Americans tend to feel the couple should be free to end it — even if that means breaking up a family, with the resulting negative consequences for children. Divorce in the US They believe that unhappy couples should not stay married just because they have children at home. Many people do not believe in sacrificing individual happiness for the sake of the children. They say that children actually may be better off living with one parent that with two who are constantly arguing. Divorce is now so common that it is no longer socially unacceptable, and children are not embarrassed to say that their parents are divorced. Divorce in the US However, it would be too simple to explain the high US divorce rate by saying that Americans don't consider the marriage relationship important enough. In one way, part of the problem is also that Americans tend to view marriage as being too important—or have expectations for marriage that arc too high. Most Americans believe that marriage should be based on love the romantic love of finding "Mr. Right" or "Miss Right" —and they expect a lot from that partner. In marriage they expect to find romance, understanding, support, sharing, trust, and a place where they can "be themselves," — i.e. act the way they feel like acting. In one way, these high expectations are a problem—they are no doubt one important reason why many Americans become dissatisfied with their marriage partners and decide to divorce. However, they also suggest that Americans feel marriage is a very important part of one's life. Discussion: Many children in the United States move away from their parents at age of 18 or 19. What’s your interpretation of such a phenomena? I. Related Information This is a typical western phenomena. The American children are nurtured to be independent to do whatever he could do ever since he/she was born. Children at age of 18 or 19 are toward their adulthood, it is naturally old enough to leave their parents and start a new independent life . However, in the eyes of some traditional Chinese people, children should live with their parents until they get married. So, they misunderstand that the American children leaving their parents at age of 18 or 19 is due to their parents’ irresponsibility or lack of love for their children. I. Related Information In the US Children think of parents as good friends. On the other hand, many Americans give their young people a lot of freedom because they want to teach their children to be independent and self-reliant. American children have been expected to leave the nest at age of 18 after they graduate from high school. They are expected to go on to college or get a job to support themselves. By their midtwenties, if children are still living with their parents, some people will suspect that something is wrong. I. Related Information In China In many other cultures, including our Chinese one, inequality extends into the family, particularly to the father’s relationship to his children. The father is accepted as ruler and master. The children’s relations with him are very formal and love for him is always combined with fear. Where are her children? • Imagine that you are reading the newspaper and see a story about an American woman in California who was once middle class but is now homeless. The woman’s condition resulted from a bad divorce, investments that went bad, and inability to find a job. She received no help from her children, even though they knew about her situation and were not poor themselves. • What possible reasons can you think of for why the woman’s children would not help her? Try to list several. Possible explanations: 1. In individualist cultures like that of the US, children are alienated from parents because parents chain them to be independent, “push them out of the nest”. 2. Because of the cultural emphasis on selfreliance, the mother feels it is inappropriate to ask for help, and the children may even think it is inappropriate to offer. 3. Individualism leads people to feel they should stay out of each other’s business.