Family is so very important to everyone right? It is no different in the Chinese culture, if anything, dare I say, they take family so much more seriously than many of us do!
In fact, most people in China see family as of great value. Often children live not just with their parents, but also with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
In the traditional family, the man is responsible for maintaining, providing for and protecting his family. He is given all the decision-making power when it comes to his wife and all other family members. He is also responsible for taking care of and paying for his children, including their education, until they are married. Traditional Chinese mothers typically stay in the home to take care of the home, the children, and the rest of the family.
Care to learn how to address some of those beloved family members? Here we go!
Chinese families have always lived very closely together. Often you will find several generations of the same family sharing a home. The grandparents typically live with the children and grandchildren and are very actively involved in taking care of children, especially if both parents work. This allows for the grandparents to be cared for in their old age by their children and grandchildren.
Did you know that traditionally, it is essential for the family to have a male heir? The first son would be the one assuming the responsibility for taking care of the parents. This was always very important due to the lack of any guaranteed care for elderly people (there is no such thing as nursing homes or Social Security in China). The culture also fosters strong family ties and a great reverence to ancestors.
Unlike other parts of the world, China is known for their one child policy that has been enforced by law in the country. This policy was introduced as a means of controlling the rapidly growing population and to control the draining of the country’s natural resources. However, in more rural areas the families are given some exceptions especially if their first born is not a boy. This policy was formed in the late 1970’s and has had great influence on how children are looked at. Sadly many baby girls were killed at birth because they “wouldn’t be able to carry on the family name or inherit the family land”. For many years, parents could legally kill their children if they disobeyed them or refused to show unquestioning obedience.
So, while some families do have only one child, this has become more relaxed in recent times and some families may now have an additional child in their home. Certainly the Chinese culture has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years, but ultimately, the family structure and the importance of values remains a focus. Families are highly cherished, honored and respected, by all.
What are your children learning about the Chinese family and language?