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Old 01-22-2014, 09:57 AM
 
4,749 posts, read 3,588,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
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.
I guess it depends on the size of the house. I'd agree that 20 seems like a high number, but with in-laws and children, that number could easily approach ten. It's really not that big of a deal, provided the children are well-behaved and disciplined by parents. Having a large family with parents and grandparents in the same house is much preferable to having the 'independent' single mother who can't find her baby daddy, lives with an abusive boyfriend, and has one kid in and out of jail.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:00 AM
 
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Different culture. Different expectations.
I dont think it's kids "turning their backs" on their parents.... like u say.
When one "turns their back" on someone it's implying that they disassociate themselves from someone. They betray someone. Kids dont do that to their parents.

My grandmom is in a nursing home now. My grandmom had 7 kids and not one of them can take on having her move in. They live all over the place from north carolina, to california, to maryland and pennsylvania....one even lives in Australia now. Often times, they cannot take her on because their own jobs involve much travel....leaving her alone for weeks at a time is not good. Also, she has health issues that a person cannot possibly take on... How can one work and have a steady job if mom with alzheimers is home by herself crapping herself? She needs constant care. It's just the way it is.

Also, a lot of times, kids cannot financially take on another bill. Parents are generally expected to save for retirement, have a pension, or a 401K or something to help support themselves in old age. Most older americans want their independence much like their children do.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: SoCal again
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I have a friend who works at a daycare where there is only Mexican kids.

She said, their houses are packed with people, they sleep in bedrooms, hallways and on patios (this is California, you can very well sleep outside). They still manage to make more kids, even without privacy, 3-5 is the norm. There is tons of cars standing in front of each place. I can see lots of people going in and out and lots of kids. I am not sure if they are all registered in these places, but I am pretty sure, there is lots of illegal immgrants there as well. They are hardworking people and try to do their best to scrape by and feed all the mouths.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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I think one of the strong points of western culture is individuals manage to break free of their family to an extent and be independent and do their own thing. I know a lot of easterners who will have their entire lives under the thumb of their family. The western solution would easily be f' em! However in the east they would be culturally shunned for doing that.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
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.
This is very true. In every group, a leader emerges, however implicitly. A lingering tension in American family dynamics is whether the husband is still in any palpable sense “the leader” – and if not, whether the wife is leader, or there’s some third alternative. In my part of the country, the solution is somewhat formulaic, along the traditional Christian rubric: the husband leads. But clearly this is too simplistic and won’t pass muster in more pluralistic parts of the country.

My point here is to understand the cultural question of why some societies extol individualism, while others shun (or outright disavow) it. Yes, in the far East there’s the Confucian ethic, but that does not explain similarly communitarian values in South Asia or (to a lesser extent) Eastern Europe.

Taking individualism to its ultimate conclusion, society ought to confer more respect onto truly single people, who never marry and never have kids. Yet even in America, even in the larger cities, such persons are unusual and are not subjects of the standard social discourse. Politicians routinely mention “the American Family”, or “hard-working families”… and rarely “the American worker” (certainly never “Workers and Peasants of America!”). It’s assumed that the operative social unit is the nuclear family.

I mention this not to demean the social structure of arranging individuals into families, but to point out the limits of individualism, even in America. With that understanding, it’s strange that we so readily relax individualism in promotion of the nuclear family, but not larger family units. It’s also strange that other than in religiously traditional communities, families rarely band into villages. There is good evidence that a person’s social circle saturates at around 150 people (see for example The Tipping Point). One would have thought that we’d see more close-knit communities of 100-150 people, who intermarry as a group. I don’t assert that such social organization is superior to what’s in the current mainstream, and I have no first-hand knowledge for assessing pros and cons. What I do assert is surprise that such arrangements are so uncommon – especially in a society that’s quite socially conservative and religious (at least as compared to Europe).


In sum, we have a strange amalgamation of individualism and communitarianism.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
It's called individualism and has been very imbedded in American culture for centuries, going back to colonial times.
Thank you for that post, excellent. They really were brave and had an adventurous spirit.

They didn't do it for ego or to be selfish, I hope some can see this.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,969 posts, read 14,149,036 times
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It's because of our highly individualistic culture that values independence. There are positives and negatives to this. There's not one wrong or right way to do things. Even in America many people do care for elderly parents and most people never go to nursing homes. However, what works for one family may not work for another and there isn't anything wrong with that.

It's a huge sacrifice to care for an elderly parent and, frankly, some parents don't deserve for their children to make that sacrifice for them. As others have mentioned, some parents don't want their children to. (Though I would caution that many children feel guilty for not helping their parents more.)

I suspect that more children will have to help/take in their parents as the Baby Boomers age due to necessity. Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid will be cut; there's simply no way around that and most Boomers have actually saved very little. Also Boomers have done more for their children than their parents did for them, so their Generation X and Y children may be more willing to help.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:10 AM
 
912 posts, read 1,241,327 times
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People are not only living longer these days, they're living better for a lot longer. Independence is valued -- not just among the young, but among the elderly. It's just as likely, if not more so, that an aging parent wouldn't want to live with their kid as the kid wouldn't want the parent.

There isn't really a magic age where a person becomes unable to care for him/herself. If life goes how I'd imagine we all want it to, that period of life will be a very small blip in an overall very long life.

My parents have made it clear, as have my husband's parents, that ever moving in with us would be a last resort -- that should we have kids, our first responsibility is to raise them and care for them. Also, they want to live their own lives. We're still hopefully a couple of decades away from facing these situations, but you never know.

I would never turn my back on my parents, or my in-laws. But assuming that combining generations of families into one household in the name of "love" and "respect" is placing a lot of blanket assumptions that don't make sense. Even in cultures where this is expected, I'd be more than willing to bet that there's a grandmother or grandfather somewhere who would love to trade the multi-generational household for a small quiet apartment of their own.
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:38 AM
 
12,847 posts, read 15,308,890 times
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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 couldn't either...I think a lot has to do with the way you raise your children..I'm not from Afghanistan, but my children wouldn't THINK to put me in a home when I'm in need of help, cause they've been raised to keep family close and take care of our own.
I like the way your culture takes care of their elderly in the home with their family...I think it should be like that everywhere.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:01 PM
 
13,658 posts, read 13,426,400 times
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Originally Posted by purehuman View Post
I couldn't either...I think a lot has to do with the way you raise your children..I'm not from Afghanistan, but my children wouldn't THINK to put me in a home when I'm in need of help, cause they've been raised to keep family close and take care of our own.
I like the way your culture takes care of their elderly in the home with their family...I think it should be like that everywhere.
Have you actually read anything about traditional Afghan culture? Please reference the post where I mentioned my childhood friend was resigned to marrying a guy back in Afghanistan because otherwise if she broke the marriage contract, his family was entitled to kill her family.

Oh, and maybe research a little of what happens to widows in Afghan society.
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