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Corey Daniels November 17, 2010

Cultural Family Values

The concept of family values is rooted in each individual culture thus making the values different for diverse societies. In addition, cultures change over time in response to economic, political, and cultural developments. Therefore, family values vary from household to household, from country to country, and from generation to generation.What exactly makes up a strong family that possesses good family values? A strong family unites a safe, positive and supportive place for all members to thrive and make each other better as individuals. They are able to utilize resources and to live together in a fairly healthy manner. Family is more than a place where we eat and sleep; it is the place where we learn what matters the most. If all we do in families is manage groceries and sleeping space, we have missed the great opportunities to teach great lessons above being humans. The question I want to ask in this paper is, how different are family values in different countries outside of the United States? To help me understand this question more I am going to be using two theories, Communitarian Ethics and Standpoint Theory.

It is very difficult to describe an American family, since there are many different types of families depending on race, culture and place where they live. American family styles are more diverse than the Chinese families, because of the different ethnic backgrounds. In a society as highly diverse as the United States, there is likely to be a multitude of answers on how different each Americans family value is. The first theory that I want to talk about is Communitarian Ethics, it states that “ethical thought is grounded in communal values, established social

Corey Daniels November 17, 2010

standards and traditions, and considerations of the larger society (Rueckert-Hartman, 2010).” An example would be that Americans families have holiday traditions where they come together to celebrate as a family such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Bringing togetherness during these special times is what matters most; each family puts forth the effort to plan family time with one another. The more important lesson that I learn about American family values that it differs between liberal and conservative families. Thomas Grouling states that “The nuclear family structure (parents and children) is so alien to most cultures in the world that it is often misunderstood (Grouling).” The main purpose of the American family is to bring about the happiness of each individual family member. The traditional family values include love and respect for parents, as well as for all members of the family. For me in some cases that tradition has been lost.

Chinese civilization has been built abnormally on the basis of family. The reason is that Chinese people have the unique family value system that would put family above their individual and personal needs. The second theory that I thought was appropriate for this situation was the Standpoint Theory, which is “people are situated in specific social standpoints-they occupy different places in the social hierarchy (Defining Communication Theories , 2001).” Family honor was emphasized greatly as members of the family, especially of the younger generation, were expected to know their place in society and to give the family name a good reputation. The traditional Chinese family has a hierarchical order with the man as the head of the family tagged with the responsibility for earning the bread of his family (Destiny, the culture of China; Living and Values, 1998). This responsibility also endows him with complete authority and the final say in the affairs of the family. What I found interesting by using the Standpoint communication

Corey Daniels November 17, 2010

theory was that when come to family values, there is obvious influence from elders, including women. Chang states that, “It is also common to see that older children have precedence over younger children and male children over female (Chang, 1999).� Although the way of life now is much modernized, traditional values of family importance and reputation still is felt by all families. Chinese families have special roles in the family that help keep honor as well as their values.

As a society we strive to have a sense of community when interacting with others. In that community, values are taught initially through family. However, with each society comes an example on how family values interact into social standards. In the United States for example, it is more likely that families have their elderly parents or grandparents living in retirement communities or nursing homes; instead of keeping in their respective households to take care of them. There are other communities in the world that operate on a different social standard for their families. China for instance, this country traditionally believes that every family should be responsible for their own. So the elderly is not as likely to be placed in mental homes unless there was a medical issue. Children would be less likely to be subjected to single-family homes or homes of non-married couples. It is apparent which country places the value in placing family as a priority. It is pretty clear by addressing these two cultures that both the United States and China have different family values; and at the same time, both countries have some similarities. By using both communication theories that I describe earlier it gave me more reason to believe that each value is different for a reason because of how society is per trade in each country.


Corey Daniels November 17, 2010

United States have some family values but it differs a lot because of the different background the country presents. In China regardless of their social status family always comes first; each member of the family has a special importance that makes the family nit together. Regardless of what country you’re from we all can agree that family is very important and we need to respect our values.

Works Cited

Chang, K. (1999). Chinese Americans. In J.N. Giger & R.E. Davidhizer (Eds.), Transcultural nursing: Assessment & intervention (pp. 385-401). St. Louis: Mosby.

Corey Daniels November 17, 2010

Defining Communication Theories . (2001). Retrieved November 13, 2010, from The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..: Destiny, the culture of China; Living and Values. (1998). Retrieved November 14, 2010, from Oracle,ThinkQuest: Grouling, T. E. (n.d.). American Vaules. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from Amereican Rueckert-Hartman. (2010, November 15). Communication Ethis. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from Regist University - School for Health Professions: ml

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