U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:04 AM
 
4,749 posts, read 3,609,110 times
Reputation: 3225

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by oh-eve View Post
I would not want to live with my parents and have them in my business 24/7. I live my life the way I feel it is right. I love my parents but that doesn't mean I want to live with them.

When it is time for them for a nursing home, we will then decide if I take them in or not. But until then, we all like our independence.

I don't have children. And even if I would have any, I would rather go into a nursing home when I am old as having my kids clean my butt and ruin their life.
I suspect that's the part that the OP's missing here. What he sees as neglect is actually often a desire by the elder parents not to impose on their own children's lives. Americans, for better or worse, value independence and individualism, and it can seem somewhat callous and cruel at first glance, but that's generally what has developed over the past 60 to 70 years.

OP, I'd invite you to visit more with different Americans in different parts of the country. Being in the Bay Area, for instance, you'll see that a lot of Asian Americans still do have traditional family structures, which are in some ways similar to the ones you've experienced. Latin Americans and Indian Americans also tend to have large, extended families which tend to have high involvement among family members of different generations. And I'd say that even in Anglo America, current economic trends are forcing many individualists to rethink their own independence, with some opting to stay closer to home than in years' past. It's hard to generalize. Maybe one of the most frustrating things to recent immigrants is that "America" can be hard to define.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:05 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,768,481 times
Reputation: 3943
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
American adults can and do provide substantial care to their elderly parents, but this tends to be done as caregivers and not as daily intimates under the same roof.

As for living-arrangements, I’m fazed by the same quandary as the OP, and I’m European by origin. In America, the much-vaunted “family values” refers specifically to the nuclear family. 3-generation (or more) households are rare. Even rarer are two nuclear families living together (two brothers and their respective wives and children).

Given the high cost of real estate, the voluminous size of American houses, the high cost of daycare and healthcare, and dicey prospects of lifelong employment, it would have made more sense, in my view, for adults related by blood or marriage to merge households into one mega-compound, living as bands. But this is exceedingly rare – and sometimes is outright prohibited by local ordinances.
That's what part of our family does - live in a compound or band of homes. However, for that to happen requires a combination of everyone having enough money to buy the same nice home, and for those who have more money to contribute to the purchase of a home for those who don't. At times they have also lived compound-like, but only because a few are very wealthy and could afford it. We have never considered joining the "band" because we don't like the state they live in and because it would mean leaving my family and half of my husband's here. Those of us who live in my state are spread out by about 30 minutes from home to home because our financial situations and work situations make living within 30 minutes of each other impossible, and no one wants to pool everyone's money so we can do it (can't blame them, really). We actually considered going in with my mom for an addition to our home that she could live in, but she preferred to live on her own in another community about 20 miles away. She wanted her privacy and didn't want to be our full time free childcare provider.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:10 AM
 
13,239 posts, read 17,779,749 times
Reputation: 19903
The days of get born, get into a profession in town and buy a house for life and die there are almost over. The animal is called globalization. OP did not give a reason why his parents immigrated or when the family made the move or what they do for a living. I assume he is under 25 by his posts thus his parents and grandparents should still be fairly active. It is hard to picture one's parents as invalids or fighting a relationship after having relinquished a household. Been there. Not pretty.

His posts sound like a mantra of "that is the way it has always been and will be". I see this often in immigrants, most so in second generation on a going back to my roots period. It is a long road from getting married at 25 to having to care for children, parents and grandparents. Who is going to finance it. Maybe he should volunteer at a nursing home for a few week ends and talk to well and not so well residents there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:11 AM
 
Location: SoCal again
16,062 posts, read 12,837,023 times
Reputation: 31371
An old Russian guy said once to me "Why don't you have children?" I said "It's just not for me." He said "you MUST have children. Your dog is not going to take care of you when you are old ..."

I am not having children so I can then ruin their lifes with being a burden. I rather save all the money a child would cost and get me a fulltime nurse later on. Or a nice nursing home.

I have alot of Mexican neighbors - several generations living under one roof, sometimes up to 10-20 people in one house. That's their thing - fine .. if they don't need personal space - okay. But it's not for me.

OP, different countries = different cultures. Live and let live. To each his own. No need to question it or talk bad about it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
763 posts, read 2,262,023 times
Reputation: 706
My Mom is almost 81 and cares for my 56 year old mentally disabled brother in her home alone (Daddy died 10 years ago.) She only lives about 15 minutes away from me but I have been begging her to build a house on our adjacent property for a few years now. She is extremely independent, enjoys going on trips with her senior group (she's thinking about going to Ireland this fall) and maintains her 4000 sq/ft house without any help. She just 'isn't ready' to come live near me and won't until she 'absolutely has to' because she likes her independence so much. We already have plans to build a small home for my brother - my taking care of him for the rest of his life has always been a given with me. I was very upfront with anyone I ever dated seriously that a life with me would include him at some point. My husband is a gem!

I have a dear friend who would never in a million years allow her mother, who she loves, to live with or even near her. Family dynamics vary!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:31 AM
 
12,115 posts, read 6,692,609 times
Reputation: 12963
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Given the high cost of real estate, the voluminous size of American houses, the high cost of daycare and healthcare, and dicey prospects of lifelong employment, it would have made more sense, in my view, for adults related by blood or marriage to merge households into one mega-compound, living as bands. But this is exceedingly rare – and sometimes is outright prohibited by local ordinances.
Compounds are for cults and Kennedys.

Merging households is a recipe for disaster. No group of people can live harmoniously without a leader and followers. Someone in that compound or a generational group home is going to be authoritarian. Someone is going to be a scapegoat. Someone is going to need more privacy and someone is going to be too nosey and someone is going to be passive aggressive, etc.

Most people can't stand at least one member of their family and wouldn't even want to live in the same state or can even do holidays together without having a problem.

It seems people now are afraid of being responsible and achieving on their own, preferring security and codependence over freedom and independence.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:39 AM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,278,019 times
Reputation: 6512
For those of us who come from cultures where it is normal, there is nothing wrong with co dependence on family members in multi-generational families. It is done in many places around the world, yes there are occasional disputes, but you'd be surprised at how well people get along when they accept multi-gen houses for what it is.

For example, I know so many girls who automatically think their in-laws are out to get them. It's like they put up a wall of 'evil' in-laws before they even meet their husband. I have never thought ill of mine, just a bit of annoyance at times. I personally think it's lovely that my children have their grandfather in their home as a second father figure, and they love it too. Sure, he can bore me with his stories about his old career and won't eat much except bread and butter, but who cares, sometimes putting aside the ego that can come with independence has a lot of benefits. It is human nature to live in groups, nobody's perfect, disputes happen, but there are a lot of great things with it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:47 AM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,733,389 times
Reputation: 46028
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaDave View Post
Never really had a discussion about this before. I know it isn't limited to Americans but I live in America. In my culture (Afghanistan) the parents live with the son or daughter For life. The idea is your parents need you when they are elderly, and it is your duty to take care of huge a s they took care of you. That's means your wife and parents and kids all in there same house. A large family indeed. That is probably what I will be doing. I will be living with my parents until I am established enough to get my own place, then I will marry. Never could I allow either of my parents to go to nursing homes.
I consider this to be a grotesque mischaracterization. The large majority of Americans maintain very good relationships with their parents after getting married. But for someone who lives here, you don't seem to understand several facets of American cultural life that are different from Afghanistan.

1) There is an entire system that allows most older Americans to enjoy financial health well into their old age. Investment accounts, Social Security, et al, are very common. In fact, the oldest segment of the American population have the highest amount of disposable income. So it's not as if Americans are consigning their parents to poverty and deprivation.

2) You assume, for some strange reason, that Americans actually want to live with their sons or daughters. I love my kids. I'd do anything for them. But I'll practically have to be down to my last nickel before I'd move in with them. In fact, if you are such a student of American culture, you'd notice that a large proportion of Americans choose to move after retiring to places such as Florida, Arizona, or other parts of the country. My wife and I are eyeing Oregon. Why? Because we enjoy our independence. That's why.

3) Believe it or not, most retirement communities are typically desirable places to live, not some hopeless sink where parents are abandoned while the kids drive away. Residents in those communities have a social life, activities suited to their age, and specialized medical care. If you think that most residents of those facilities are marooned in hopeless squalor, then I'd suggest that you've watched way too many movies.

In fact, I'm really trying to understand how, given the immense, endemic societal issues Afghanistan faces, how you can level this kind of criticism at us. I suppose I could ask why women are relegated to the position they are and a host of other pointed questions. What's more, I would argue that the facets of family life that you advocate are actually reflections of what has been necessary in a very impoverished country. Old people in Afghanistan live with their families because they have to. Just because it's necessary doesn't make it virtuous.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:48 AM
 
12,115 posts, read 6,692,609 times
Reputation: 12963
Quote:
Originally Posted by oh-eve View Post
An old Russian guy said once to me "Why don't you have children?" I said "It's just not for me." He said "you MUST have children. Your dog is not going to take care of you when you are old ..."

I am not having children so I can then ruin their lifes with being a burden. I rather save all the money a child would cost and get me a fulltime nurse later on. Or a nice nursing home.

I have alot of Mexican neighbors - several generations living under one roof, sometimes up to 10-20 people in one house. That's their thing - fine .. if they don't need personal space - okay. But it's not for me.

OP, different countries = different cultures. Live and let live. To each his own. No need to question it or talk bad about it.
It's not ok to have twenty people living in one house like cattle. It is a health hazard and would not be legal in many places. Utility systems are not set up for that. US does not need to be a third world country. This leads to segregation and flight to gated communities and "snob zoning" areas. Not that people living there are snobs, they just don't want to be living next to third world conditions or have their neighborhood become the 'hood.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-22-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,329,858 times
Reputation: 13779
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
American adults can and do provide substantial care to their elderly parents, but this tends to be done as caregivers and not as daily intimates under the same roof.

As for living-arrangements, I’m fazed by the same quandary as the OP, and I’m European by origin. In America, the much-vaunted “family values” refers specifically to the nuclear family. 3-generation (or more) households are rare. Even rarer are two nuclear families living together (two brothers and their respective wives and children).

Given the high cost of real estate, the voluminous size of American houses, the high cost of daycare and healthcare, and dicey prospects of lifelong employment, it would have made more sense, in my view, for adults related by blood or marriage to merge households into one mega-compound, living as bands. But this is exceedingly rare – and sometimes is outright prohibited by local ordinances.
It's called individualism and has been very imbedded in American culture for centuries, going back to colonial times. Keep in mind that the US was originally, and always has been, the destination for people who were willing to leave the family "nest". The continued presence of new, unsettled lands "in the West" encouraged young Americans to then leave their families, too, to pursue "adventure" and "opportunities" on their own. Now, Americans are among the most mobile people in the world where families are scattered all over the country. The descendents of people brave enough to strike off on their own across oceans in rickety wooden ships or continents in ox-drawn wagons are less likely to value the security of a collective family or clan over the freedom of individualism.

Furthermore, economic and social factors have played big roles in the development of American individualism, too. The availability of relatively cheap land lessened the importance of land holding as an economic engine. No need for families to crowd together in a single house or compound when children could afford to buy houses nearby. Just because siblings worked together or with their parent in a business didn't mean that they also had to live together.

Opportunities for economic advancement through ingenuity, innovation, and education enabled younger people to be independent of their families, too. Younger brothers weren't expected to follow their fathers into some trade or be their older brothers' employees. If they didn't want to be part of the family business, they could strike out on their own because the opportunities were there.

The relative scarcity of women in the less settled areas of the country, of which there were plenty until about 1900, made women much more valued than in Europe or Asia and resulted in much more freedom for all American women than for their sisters elsewhere in the world. By the 2nd half of the 19th century, married American women had gained the right to own property separate from their husband's. Widows and unmarried adult women didn't need guardians for themselves or their children. Women got the right to vote in Wyoming Territory in 1869. They could file for their own homesteads on federal lands in Nebraska or the Dakotas in the 1870s. They could be and were educated along side boys, and by the late 19th century, they had opportunities for higher education, too. Economics might force a widow or spinster to live with her parents or with a sibling but not the law or even custom in many parts of the country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top