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Old 09-07-2010, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by diablogun View Post
...I'm just guessing here. I have not seen the view of America as being not family-oriented too much before. It is usually the opposite opinion that I have garnered from folks.
The U.S. certainly has some of the most family-oriented people in the world in the Amish, Mennonites, Dunkards and Hutterites.
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
The U.S. certainly has some of the most family-oriented people in the world in the Amish, Mennonites, Dunkards and Hutterites.
Completely agree; but those are very far from representing the contemporary American mainstream.
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:33 PM
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One thing about the U.S. people seem to be more interested in pets then they are about kids.

I have friends that never ask about each others childrens but go gaga over each other's dogs.

Most of my male friends have picture of their dogs on their desks and no family shots.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:47 PM
Location: 30-40°N 90-100°W
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India, Spain, and Canada seem to be the highest on "satisfaction with family life."

Chart of Satisfaction with Family Life in 2009 - Pew Global Attitudes Project Key Indicators Database

Going by the Eurobarometer Cyprus, Greece, Malta, and Slovakia were the most likely in Europe to put "family" as important to them. The Maltese and Slovakians were even slightly more likely to say "family" than they were "health." (I'm not sure about linking to pdf so just look at the Special Eurobarometer in the, I think, 279-300 section labeled "European social reality.")
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:38 PM
Location: Macao
16,289 posts, read 42,232,618 times
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
In my experience, The North-American family model de-emphasizes the unity, loyalty and sense of togetherness that make up the mortar of the family, as a societal cell.
I just see a group of individuals roaming around, minding their own goals and pursuits, and who are kept together only by convention and structure, but not necessarily by a sense of common identity, complicity, belonging, strong ties, attachments and affection.
Definitely no "clan" mentality but rather an egotistic outlook: "family exists as a mere platform for my own personal goals and interests".

The moment children reach maturity, the already weak family ties go "puff in the wind" and everyone goes their merry way, with the occasional family reunions, phone-calls, visits done because it's the thing to do.

Clearly, this family model, emphasizing "independence", serves the modern economy (and the guys at the top) quite well, but when you look closer, few of those at the very top adopt such model for themselves.

In the end, I don't think it serves the average Joe very well.
Agree with you about concerns with the 'American Family'. Actually it seems a bit of joke to me. When I was a kid, if I heard anyone talking about 'family' or especially 'family values', you just quickly wrote that person off as being most always overly christian. The concept seems to coincide together...and also has a connotation with being naive, over-protected from everything, etc.

Generally, I remember almost all kids dismissing their parents existance, and being very embarrassed to be with them, etc. TV/Movies also reflect those same feelings, you see in countless movies the embarrassed teenager or even embarrassed adult when their parents are around them.

However, I have noticed it mostly being a 'white caucasian american thing', as I am one myself. I always noticed in the States, that the Asian families, Latino families, African-American families, etc., never felt embarrassment about their families, or even in the black community 'what'd you say about my momma?'...whereas as a caucasian person, I don't think you'd have that reaction, it wouldn't really cause any emotion or anything whatsoever really. If anything, the white american, it is usually the kids being in therapy for years discussing how their parents did everything wrong, and how much their life is screwed up because of them.


In other words, I know exactly where you are coming from. I'm actually married to an Asian-American woman now, and it is amazing the differences. They love their families to no end. Never hear anything bad ever about their family, etc. Marrying into another culture like that, I like the fact that maybe my kids might share those same values, be around other kids who also have very positive views of their parents, etc.

I'm also sure there will be plenty of other posters who are white causian americans who have had completely opposite experiences than me...but just reporting on what I've seen/experienced from my own perspective, take that as you may..
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:56 AM
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Hmm. I am white and never have had that train of thought for 1 minute. I also have not seen that from most others, except in the case of teenagers who sometimes think adults are uncool, and that is hardly a white American kid thing only. In fact, I saw a great deal of that in Europe when I was a teen.

I agree that Christian families tend to have more respect and closer families, and also to need less counseling. Maybe they are on to something
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:07 AM
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Amish and Mennonite cultures -- located in PA, VA, OH, Southern Cone of South America, Canada (and other places I am not aware of)
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:22 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post

But yes, I think Latin cultures win hands down.
I can only compare Anglo and Latin cultures.

My strongest family-oriented experience is in a small South American country.

In my experience, it is important that the family have a matriarch or patriarch, or both, and that a lead sibling is respected by all, or at the very least there is sincere cooperation among siblings. Often that fails when the matriarch/patriarch dies, but the successful families overcome that and generate successors, so to speak.

My perception of US-style consumerist ideology is that family is anathema and the dominant popular culture is purposely shaped to weaken it, if not destroy it, while some pay lip-service to it to soften the blow in the meantime.

As for Italy, my perception is that northern Italy has more in common with northern Europe than it does, say, with Sicily, Spain or Greece.

Great thread, by the way, thanks for starting it. Hopefully we will have more views from Muslim, African and Asian cultures/regions.
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by diablogun View Post
It may well be that you have an opinion of social solidarity that does not match well with the American view of family/society.
Well...of course. But I am not a complete cultural relativist and I like to call a spade a spade. If economic interests required that the American family as an institution be weakned at some point in history, this is fine. But let's call it what it is. I, for one, will not kid myself that those historical changes simply amount to a "different" but equally strong type of family; because they don't.

Originally Posted by diablogun View Post
... Similarly, you may also view the idea that a person should provide for their own family as being selfish, when it certainly is not.
"A person providing for his/her own family is selfish".

Waow. Who and where in the world holds this view????????????????

I am going to have to address this one as it's definitely one of my major pet-peeves about the American culture. Nothing else but a beautifully disguised excuse for what you defensively already mentioned:
sheer selfishness, the famous "every man for himself" mindset.

I can assure you I don't hold the view above and that NO ONE in their right mind who gives a modicum of D**n about their family, holds this view, ANYWHERE in the world !!

But here is what is selfish: using "responsibilty for one's nuclear family" as an excuse to not care about anything and anyone beyond strictly one's spouse and minor children (and I will not include here volunteering type activities that look good on resumes; as some say, "charity begins at home").

Families in more traditional parts of the world are expected to do BOTH! To provide for their own nuclear families AS WELL AS lend a hand to a relative, in times of need. They will not simply shrug and expect an adult sibling, aging parent, uncle, aunt, cousin (or even neighbor or friend) to fix their own misfortunes, completely on their own, if they reach a vulnerable stage in life.
They usually offer solid, concrete help, rarely with money, but often in kind. This is not the same thing as "providing"!

This is the ideal-type, extended family model - which many families in those parts of the world aspire to, even if, in reality, not everyone lives up to it. But at least the model and the expectations are in place.

While my number one priority is to provide for my own nuclear family, I would never refuse to help my adult siblings for a while with whatever stayed in my power, if the going got tough for them.

We also learn to distinguish between different levels of urgency for any given priority. If my sister had nowhere to live for a few months and us hosting her would mean that, for a while, we woud have to cut a few of my daughter's ballet lessons, someone would have ro sleep on the air mattress, or what have you, then we would all make the sacrifice and go with my sister staying with us.

My sister NOT ending up in the street is more important than a variety of little comforts and conveniences our nuclear family is used to.
No way around it.

I still cannot get over so many Americans I read about and saw on TV, with formerly respectable jobs and lives, who ended up sleeping in their cars, with their dogs, like the most God Forsaken Wretched of the Earth - all as a result of losing their employment to an economic crisis.
How anyone can believe that a fickle job and a mortgage from Daddy Bank amounts to self-sufficiency is beyond me.
How those very respectable looking people didn't have any strong enough family ties in their lives who could have hosted them until they got back on their feet - that's beyond me too.

In my extended family, we are clearly expected to provide for ourselves and our own families, as responsible adults. HOWEVER, we also know that there is not even one chance under the sun that we would end up in the street, should such a misfortune happen to us. Parents or other relatives would automatically step in.
Such families simply don't put all of their eggs in the "job market" basket.

My parents' house continues to be open to us, at all times. We don't need to use such privilege right now, but if we had to, we certainly would.
As long as it took, until the job market got its S**t back together.

This is what means family-orientation: "a one for all and all for one" approach.

So you're right.
For me, the alternative model many Americans seem to cherish (I have my own family to take care of, so feel free to sink) simply cultivates a selfish attitude in life.
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:58 PM
4,043 posts, read 7,287,252 times
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Originally Posted by PittNewbie View Post
One thing about the U.S. people seem to be more interested in pets then they are about kids.
Contemporary America is a child-obssessed and child-led culture, which doesn't necessarily mean that there is a whole lot more love for children floating around than in other parts of the world or in different times.

This unnatural child-orientation, having little to do with family-orientation, is ultimately driven by agressive commercial/consumerist interests and not by the best interest of the children.

Originally Posted by PittNewbie View Post
I have friends that never ask about each others childrens but go gaga over each other's dogs.
It's called competition via parenting. This is the latest family-based sport: kids' looks, achievements, talents and merits as trophies for parents.

By the way, did you know that mine are cuter, smarter, earlier-talkers, earlier-readers, better with math, faster, more popular, more athletic, enrolled in more extra-curricular activities, even happier and more generally active than yours? You didn't?

If not, don't expect me to mention it to you directly when we meet. I will let you know about it via FB photos and posts, while I may just ask you about your dog, face to face.
It makes the interaction more bearable.

Originally Posted by PittNewbie View Post
Most of my male friends have picture of their dogs on their desks and no family shots.
Hmmm. This is strange. Are you sure you're not talking about childless individuals? I did not see this in the US. When a child arrives, the picture will pop on the desk. Guaranteed.
Contemporary Americans are great at flaunting "family values" while making a mockery of family itself, in reality.

Or...you said MALE friends?
Could make sense. They may be trying to soften the blow of THIS syndrome in their lives. Check out the link, it's a major ROF.


Last edited by syracusa; 09-08-2010 at 04:09 PM..
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