A Comparative Study of Family Values

2 February 2017

A Comparative Study of Family Values between China and America Introduction We were born into a family, mature in a family, form new families, and leave them at our death. Family life is a universal human experience. The family is among the oldest and the most fundamental of all human institutions. As we know that family is the miniature of the society, and therefore different family values are the reflections of distinguishing cultures in different countries.

In order to get the better understanding of different family cultures between China and America, it is necessary to make a comparison between Chinese and American family values. This paper tries to grope for cultural origins behind those external different family values between China and US. Firstly, this paper makes the comparison between Chinese family value and American family value. Secondly, it illustrates the differences of family values from family structure, family ties. It aims to make a better understanding between Chinese people and American people.Chinese Family Value vs. American Family Value Chinese culture has been defined as a collectivist culture.

In traditional Chinese culture, people attach more importance to their families than they do to themselves. Chinese children are brought up to seek fulfillment with others rather than individually. So we can see that family loyalty is an important value in Chinese culture. As to the relations within a family, the Chinese people emphasize the relation between parents and children, particularly emphasizing children’s love and respect for their parents.Chinese family life is, in reality, the life of filial piety. Individual freedom and equality in American family are ranked the most important place. So the family members are very much like friends.

In contrast to Chinese culture, the primary responsibility of the American family member is not to advance the family as a group, either socially or economically. Neither is it to bring honor to the family name. Chinese Family Structure vs. American Family StructureThe stereotyped view of the Chinese family was that of a large extended family, with several generations and immediate families all living under one roof, being a self sufficient and self-help institution for its members, providing care for the young and old. However, for the last two decades, Chinese families have gone through numerous dynamic changes by economic and political reasons. Although Chinese family were normatively extended, it was unusual to find a family with a truly large group of relatives living together.Anyway, there is still a strong bond between parents, children and other family members.

Filial piety is still deeply rooted in the minds of most Chinese, which explains why many elder people, if not live with their children, live not far from them. If Americans are asked to name the members of their families, family structure becomes clear. Most American people will mention their spouse and children, if they have any, because most Americans believe a typical family structure is nuclear family, consisting of a husband, wife and their children, living in a house or apartment.After their children coming of age, their grown children usually move out of their parents’ household and start to live on their own. American culture that incarnates individual freedom and diversity also exerts great influence on this comparison. To sum up, the American culture believes in diversity, which results in a more diverse family structure. The majority of Americans would now define family as people who live together and love each other.

Chinese Family Tie vs. American Family Tie Family tie is very strong in China, where most Chinese family members tend to live together.Chinese stress coalition, which makes the Chinese family extremely cohesive. For example, many young people still try to live near their parents whenever possible even after they are married. Family members depend on each other for support and they are required to show loyalty to the family and bring demonstrated virtuous behavior. If they fail to do so, then the whole family loses face. That is to say Chinese culture emphasizes the collective quality in the nature of individual’s life and behavior.

Generally speaking, the Chinese have a stronger sense of family honor than westerners. The American family tie is comparatively loose. Family members are regarded as friends and they should be treated equally in daily life. In America, most old people do not live with their children or relatives. If they have enough money they will buy house or apartments in places where other old people live. If they do not healthy and strong enough to live alone, they would rather live in nursing houses for old people than be taken by their children.Taking care of their parents is not the priority to the adult children.

Many old people mainly rely on the aid from government to spend the rest time of their life. Conclusion The cultural differences between China and America are reflected in almost all aspects of family life. The present study focuses on various major aspects, such as the different family ties, different family structures, and different attitudes towards filial piety. It’s not just simply listing some phenomena and analyzing the cultural explanation behind those phenomena.The intention of the study is to promote a better understanding between Chinese and American people by comparing the family values. America is the only superpower in contemporary world while China is regarded as the emerging potential superpower, so we would like to say if we want to live peacefully and harmoniously under the same global roof, the best thing we must do is to make an understanding between Chinese people and American people. Meanwhile, a good understanding of the differences will surely facilitate the cross-cultural communication of two peoples.

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