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Family Roles and Their Impact on Cultural Domains

Introduction

Interviewing people about their cultures and, more specifically, their effects on family life provides an insight into the intrinsic mechanisms defining the external manifestation of their particular characteristics. They primarily include gender roles, goals, traditional and alternative lifestyles, communication methods, education, and occupations correlating with spiritual and religious beliefs and other viewpoints. To examine families and their cultures, the selected interviewees were my mother and my Chinese friend Alice currently living in Hong Kong. Their choice was defined by the drastic difference between their perceptions of families and their specificities. Therefore, the conducted interviews allow comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between these two people’s principal views and reflecting on the impact of family roles on cultural domains.

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Summary of the Responses

The first interviewee, Alice, presented comprehensive information regarding the situation in China in terms of family life. According to her, the main trend is a slight shift in gender roles, whereas the traditional elements, such as the importance of children, their education, and the emphasized value of official marriage, remain intact (A.Zhou, personal communication, May 11, 2021). These circumstances are confirmed by the rejection of alternative lifestyles when applied to families. Meanwhile, there is a variety of religious and spiritual beliefs in her culture affecting people’s relationships. They determine the respect for elders and the need to seek their approval, especially concerning children and their upbringing (A.Zhou, personal communication, May 11, 2021). In families, communication patterns are mostly indirect, and the messages can be vague (A.Zhou, personal communication, May 11, 2021). This approach allows avoiding confrontation while highlighting the importance of nonverbal techniques for better understanding.

The second interviewee, my mother, confirmed the equality of men and women in marriage. As per her responses, they have comparable chances for self-development in any area, which also explains the preferences regarding relationships, which are shifted to individualism and personal goals (MOTHER, personal communication, May 11, 2021). Young people also emphasize the importance of education and well-paid jobs for having a family. They accept the possibility of single parenting or other alternatives if they do not feel they can cope with family problems from the financial perspective (MOTHER, personal communication, May 11, 2021). However, in her culture, religious beliefs do not play a significant role in the matter, and communication between relatives is direct and not regulated by corresponding considerations (MOTHER, personal communication, May 11, 2021). The same applies to getting married or having children since these decisions are made independently.

Comparison and Contrast of Findings

The main similarities between the two interviewees’ culture connected to family life are related to the high degree of perceived responsibility for everyone’s wellbeing alongside the importance of education, finances, and professional growth. Thus, both Alice and my mother said that marriage is critical for the prosperity of family members (A.Zhou, personal communication, May 11, 2021; MOTHER, personal communication, May 11, 2021). They also responded that education could help offspring become successful in life, parents’ occupations affect families’ situations, and their capability to pay for their needs is crucial for the identified purposes (A.Zhou, personal communication, May 11, 2021; MOTHER, personal communication, May 11, 2021). As a result, it can be concluded that family roles in their cultures have some characteristics in common. Even though they can hardly be viewed as identical, the general orientation of people on their prosperity is obvious.

As for the differences in family roles of the interviewees, they are related to varying traditions, religious and spiritual beliefs, gender, alternative lifestyles, communication methods, attitude towards elders, and the perception of children. For Chinese culture, male dominance was apparent in the past and is still present in modern families, which implies the possibility of women’s discontent regarding home chores as per the recent study (Cerrato, & Cifre, 2018). In turn, my mother’s culture is characterized by equality, the lack of impact of religion, and the possibility of having children out of wedlock. In addition, Alice’s family is more likely to use nonverbal methods for communication, whereas my mother’s relatives are more direct when speaking. Another difference is in the fact that Chinese parents support their children more in selecting careers (Hui & Lent, 2018). Moreover, despite the clear trend of keeping traditions as opposed to my family culture, they start to change their policy regarding marriage and inheritance (Tilt et al., 2019). Thus, the interviews showed that there are fewer similarities than differences between the examined situations.

Conclusion

To summarize, family roles affect the cultural domains and relationships for these two individuals in different ways. For Alice, this influence can be described as adopting notions regarding historical inequality of men and women in families, serious attitude towards marriage, and unacceptability of drastic deviations from established norms. Even though their culture is gradually evolving, as per the studies on the subject, the paces of this process are insufficient for demonstrating clear results. For my mother, the impact of culture on family life is seen from equality and individualism as opposed to Chinese families. Her viewpoint seems more optimistic from the perspective of self-development and individual decision-making. Thus, despite the revealed similarities between the interviewees’ cultures, mostly reflected by perceived responsibility, they remain the opposite.

References

Cerrato, J., & Cifre, E. (2018). Gender inequality in household chores and work-family conflict. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1330. Web.

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Hui, K., & Lent, R. W. (2018). The roles of family, culture, and social cognitive variables in the career interests and goals of Asian American college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65(1), 98-109. Web.

Tilt, B., Li, X., & Schmitt, E. A. (2019). Fertility trends, sex ratios, and son preference among Han and minority households in rural China. Asian Anthropology, 18(2), 110-128. Web.

Family Interview

HLT-324V: Transcultural Health Care

College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

When conducting the “Family Interview,” please make sure that you inform the individual you choose to interview that you will be using their responses in a compare and contrast cultural paper for HLT-324V. It is important that people give you approval to use their personal stories prior to doing so. Please use this template and the following questions below when conducting your interviews. In addition to these questions, you are required to ask another three questions, which you are to include on this template. Please submit this template with your paper by the end of Module 2.

What are your family roles/gender roles? How are they the same as or different from those traditionally practiced by your culture (who is the head of the household, who makes decisions, how are decisions made, etc.)?

Alice: In my family, roles are different from the traditional ones in many ways. In Chinese households, men have more power and possibilities to make decisions than women. Meanwhile, my parents do not follow this pattern as they both work for our prosperity.

My mother: Our family, as well as the family of my parents, is quite traditional. In our culture, both men and women have equal opportunities and chances for self-development. We also share responsibilities, which are not distinguished by gender or any other characteristics.

What does your culture and family see as primary family goals (education, marriage, etc.)?

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Alice: The primary family goals are having children and educating them to ensure the prosperity of generations. For this, marriage is the key, and people pay great attention to it. As for education, it is important but mostly viewed as such for children.

My mother: The primary family goal in our culture is education because it guarantees that people will have enough money. As a result, they will be able to take care of their children and pay for them. Another goal can be finding a partner to live together.

What is your culture’s view on alternative lifestyles (living together prior to marriage, domestic partnerships, single parenting, etc.)?

Alice: There are not many options concerning alternative lifestyles in my culture’s families. Most people tend to follow the traditional model and avoid living together or having children before marriage. It happens because such decisions are frequently condemned by the older generations.

My mother: In my culture, the attitude towards alternative lifestyles is positive. People are free to choose whether to get married or not, and there is no right or wrong time for it. Single parenting is an option for individuals who value their freedom.

What are your family’s religious beliefs, and have they changed over generations?

Alice: My family is not very religious, but they respect others’ views. The traditional beliefs in my country are numerous, including Buddhism, Daoism, and Catholicism. This diversity means that the change is in the emergence of new religions rather than modifying the existing systems.

My mother: My relatives are not religious, but there are some Catholics. However, they do not influence me since they do not share their views much. As for the change over generations, it might be connected to the gradual shift from religion to spirituality.

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What are your family’s spiritual beliefs around death and dying?

Alice: My family’s beliefs about dying are related to life after death. It explains the respect for ancestors regardless of people’s religious views. This idea also affects their behavior because they prefer to stay with the dying relatives until the end.

My mother: Since my family is not very religious, they do not hold any beliefs about dying. For us, death is the end of one’s path and an inevitable outcome. Therefore, we do not discuss it much and do not believe something is awaiting afterward.

What are your culture’s education and occupational status within the family unit?

Alice: In my culture, education and high-paid jobs within family units are important for everyone’s wellbeing. My relatives tend to emphasize the growing significance of these spheres for both parents and children. They are seen as a guarantee that all needs will be met.

My mother: For our family, education is the key to a prosperous future and the main direction for investment. It allows occupying a well-paid position and thereby provides for everyone’s needs. It is not much different from other people’s beliefs since these areas seem essential for survival.

What are your culture’s preferred communication methods (verbal and nonverbal)?

Alice: In my culture, people prefer nonverbal communication methods to verbal ones. They tend to be indirect in expressing their thoughts, and the meaning is grasped through gestures and tone of voice. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand the ideas without these signs.

My mother: In our culture, people tend to express themselves through words rather than other means. Nonverbal techniques can be useful, but they are not essential for mutual understanding. They believe that directly saying what one wants to say is always better and more efficient.

What is your culture’s attitude towards elders?

Alice: People tend to respect older generations as they see them as the keepers of our traditions. In the past, their orders were necessarily followed by young family members. Nowadays, the situation changes, but respect remains, and their authority is rarely questioned.

My mother: The attitude towards elders greatly depends on the relationships between the generations. It means that if people cannot communicate successfully due to personal differences, they might not show much respect. If their relations are healthy, they will be more respectful towards their elderly relatives.

What is the difference between traditional and modern families in your culture?

Alice: The main difference between traditional and modern families in my culture is greater opportunities for married young people. They do not depend as much on the approval of their families as their parents or grandparents, and men and women are more equal.

My mother: The situation of present-day families in my culture is the same as the one of our parents or grandparents. The only change is in the attitude towards the appropriate age for marriage. In the past, people got married earlier, and now individual needs are emphasized.

What is the attitude of families in your culture towards child-rearing?

Alice: Children are seen as a necessity for every family, and their proper upbringing is highlighted. It includes their education in the first place as parents want them to be independent. In fact, having children is one of the main reasons why people prefer traditional marriage.

My mother: In our culture, having children is optional and depends on a family’s capabilities. If people have enough money to provide for their future, they might decide to have a child. However, families without children are not distinguished as a separate category.

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