Importance of Independence from Family

by Nevada

In Indian society, the children would often stay with their family, even raising their own children in the same house as their grandparents. A daughter who marries will often find herself living in her husband’s parent’s house. It’s quite different from the western culture of typically leaving the house at 18, and finding your independence apart from your family. To be living with your parents at 30 is often looked down upon in western society. In India, to be living with your parents even in your 30s is nothing to be ashamed of, and is even encouraged.

A functional anthropologist might look at how having three generations in the same house serves to provide a means to “nutrition, reproduction, bodily comforts, safety, movement, health, and growth.”[1] As parents, it was their job to take care of their children, and as their children grew up, it became the children’s job to care for their parents. It was expected of the younger generations to take care of the older generation in their old age. Even if for some reason the children moved out, whether it be for marriage, education, job, moving to America, the children were expected to provide money for their parents. The children’s function was to take care of the elderly in their old age, to work to provide a means of safety, health, comfort, and nutrition. From this theory, unlike in western society where independence as an adult is so important to adding value to individual as a person, Indian society teaches that dependence on the family is what adds value and importance to the individual.

An anthropologist focusing on the structural aspect might see it as a model of cognitive structures of how the human mind thinks, where “1) People follow rules, 2) Reciprocity is the simplest way to create social relationships, and 3) a gift binds both the giver and recipient in a continuing social relationship.”[2] In this three generation system, the children follow the rules of obeying parents, with no regard to personal independence from the family unit; the relationship between the older generation and the younger generation is created by the older generation taking care of the young, and the young growing up to take care of the elderly; and the gift of childhood and life given to the younger generation is what binds them to care for the preceding generation. From this theory, independence from your family takes a back burner to make way for familial structure that creates closer family relationships, and by expansion, a stronger family unit.

[1] http://anthrotheory.pbworks.com/w/page/29531810/Functionalism#KeyTermsandDefinitions, accessed 17 September 2015.

[2] http://anthrotheory.pbworks.com/w/page/29532639/Structuralism#MainPoints, accessed 17 September 2015.

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44 Responses to Importance of Independence from Family

  1. Heidi Shortreed says:

    I really enjoyed reading your essay. I thought that I was a very good take on how the family unit provides structure for Indian families. However, I found that your title was misleading. Instead of explaining how individuals need time to be autonomous, as your title suggests, you explained that interdependence creates strong family ties. Because of this, I think that your title should instead be something along the lines of “The Importance of Interdependence in Families” Other than that, I thought that this essay was extremely well written and thought-provoking. You made me question our own societal values of gaining independence at 18. Would it actually be better if we stayed at home until our 20’s so that our brains could fully mature before leaving the house? You essay also made me wonder about the possible downsides to staying interdependent, as well as the downsides to becoming autonomous. Does living with one’s family create additional financial strain on children? Does it prevent children from developing socially? On the other hand, does becoming independent at 18 actually benefit young adults? Is it too much responsibility to place on our continuously developing minds?

  2. Abhi Shrestha says:

    Your essay format was very simple and organized. You first introduced your topic and then used the next two paragraphs to incorporate your two theories. Maybe you could have ended with a conclusion paragraph but I understand if the word count may have limited this. I really liked how in depth and focused you were with each theory, this made it easy for me to understand what you were talking about. I’m glad you compared a western society and an Indian society of family to talk about your topic, this helped me understand the true differences and the reasons for it’s difference in either cultures. Your title confused me because I didn’t understand what the “Importance of Independence from Family” was in the essay. You mostly talked about the family culture in India and the difference with western culture. I didn’t notice a statement and reason why there is an importance of independence from family. The second and third paragraph seemed more like answering questions on a test than paragraphs in an essay.

  3. Elizabeth Williamson says:

    It was very interesting seeing how you broke down this idea of obligation to your family. Like others have said the title was a bit misleading and I would have liked to have heard your opinion in the piece. It would be interesting to look at another theory in regards to difference in culture. Boasian Cultural Anthropology works with the elements of cultural relativism, diffusion, and historical particularism. By looking at the cultural relativism element, differences in culture are due to differences in history, society and geography and this by no means is saying that one culture is more developed than another. It instead says that all cultures are equally developed. There are no universal laws that govern everything, we have to take each society on it’s own. Taking this theory into account, whether you live with your family your whole life or move out at 18, there is no right or wrong way to go about your proximity to your family.

  4. Taylor McGrath says:

    I like the situation you described using the functionalist perspective. It opened my mind to think about how life is cyclical in that no matter what stage of the family you are in, you are always contributing something. However, your comment about individualism adding value to life in Western Culture is a little misleading. Even in the United States, family plays an important role to people in every stage of life. This comment portrays a negative connotation on family in Western Culture, but I believe that family roles just differ between societies. The question is, how can these differences be interpreted to show the importance of familial values and traditions in each culture? This is where I feel you could have also used the symbolic/interpretive theory to explain your thoughts. Overall, I enjoyed your essay because it made me really think about my own value of family and how it may differ from person to person, and culture to culture. I agree with the comment above that the title could be changed to something including “Interdependence” rather than “Independence”.

  5. BethanyA says:

    I would say this stems from different core values. For Americans, individuality and the ability to “make-it” on your own aligns with our idea of the “American Dream”. In other cultures, for example India, they have a value system that expresses the importance of respect towards elders, which could be displayed in activities such as caring for them in old age, staying with them to not only uphold family tradition, culture and honor, but to be the support for your parents so they can remain respected. This is important to note because it takes this cultural difference from something that is seen indifferently, and creates a structure that empowers it.

  6. Laura Hiserodt says:

    I find the idea that living with your family throughout your life, and taking care of your elders as you grow does lead to a stronger family unit overall. however the definition of family differs greatly from Indian society to western civilization. The paternal family line has heavy importance on it in Indian society, yielding a tighter family unit to some. However my own personal beliefs leave me wondering if Indian society would be “better off” if the maternal side of the family was stressed more strongly, or even at all. Western culture holds both sets of grandparents as family members, and I believe this can procure a strong family unit simply because then the individual is free to choose which grandparents they are more connected with on a personal level. However, western society still lacks a certain respect or care for their elders, and we could learn some things from Indian society. I’m sure most Indian families would be horrified at the thought of checking grandma and grandpa into a retirement home, instead of taking care of them at the family home. Your essay successfully clarified the value in living with your family unit your whole life, and how it creates stronger bonds with the paternal family line.

  7. Kirsten Holm says:

    It’s interesting how different India is from America. What I wonder about this, however, is how have these different cultural contexts led to these differences? Could it have started for economic reasons alone? Religious perhaps? I am aware that in some cultures that the reason why children stay with their parents until they are fully grown is on order to help tend to agricultural needs. Many traditions have agricultural roots, even the way our school year is planned out is so the children can help with farm work over the summer and study during the winter. But on another point, some people have different standards as to what an “adult” is. In south america, you are often considered an adult at 15, while in Japan you are at 20. Over all, I liked your essay Nevada! Good work!

  8. Allie Wolff says:

    I think your paper is interesting because of the ways you compared western and Indian society. It’s interesting to think about the results in society of these two different ways in which people raise children and live when as they grow older. I think you used functionalism very well by explaining how each generation in the household offers different functions in order to better the whole family. I believe this kind of living could allow for a stronger and closer family unit. This could be a lesson to some people in western society who may not be involved with their family once they have moved out and become independent. I think being independent while still realizing the importance of caring for family is very important, and I think you had some very good points when thinking about this.

  9. Orion Felice says:

    I really like how you hit functionalism and structuralism in your essay. Most people are intimidated by those two theories and I’m glad you aren’t! How two different cultures construct the idea of familial responsibility really effects what it means to be independent, and I think that is incredible. In the United States, most people leave home to start a family/life of their own, and the main role parents’ play in our culture is preparing their children for the world. In India however, people stay home for the better part of their lives with the ones who raised them. The role of parents to raise children is constant in each culture, but the end goal is not. I keep wondering why someone would want to live with his or her parents forever, but then again each culture is unique. Could it be that independence from the family is not a perception of being a self-sufficient individual in India, and if so, what does independence really mean to people part of Indian culture? Instead of independence from the family, do you think it is familial dependence that influences people to not leave home? How do perceptions of independence and dependence influence perceptions of the self and the family? Are the self and family two entities, or one? This is a phenomenal essay and you analyzed a concept everyone can relate to. Being “Independent” is just the tip of the iceberg and you analyzed this idea well. Without opening Pandora’s box on a handful of other confounds, but still making sure to address the main point behind the concept of independence, is why your paper earns its place on the blog.

  10. Zoe Frank says:

    Taking the view of an indian family instead of an American family really added to the topic of your paper. It made me really think about the differences between western and eastern cultures. One of my favorite points of your paper is how you touched on the functionalist’s perspective, and how no matter where indian children ended up they would be responsible for taking care of their elders. It’s something that I feel the United States really lacks on encouraging because children should end up taking care of their elders once they’re able to. After being watched over and cared for their whole life the least anyone could do is return the favor to those who helped them the most. Within any family following rules is extremely important so the fact that you mentioned them in your essay was fantastic! Having a strong family bond is something that I pride myself in, and I loved learning more about how strong the three generational bond is in other cultures.

  11. Emma Metz says:

    I felt a strong connection to your essay. My grandma is getting old and lives alone. She has recently moved into my house when her apartment was being renovated. Grandparents and old people in our society feel a burden when their children or grandchildren must take care of them. They feel the need to move into nursing homes or hire in-home nurses. I think one reason Americans do not take care of their elderly like they do in India is because American’s have a culture of being very busy all the time and do not have time to take care of another member of their family. I strongly agree that taking care of the elder can result in a stronger family unit. I have grown much closer to my grandmother in the past couple of months and my siblings and I have all worked together to spilt the work of catering to her needs.

  12. Anna Bockhaus says:

    Very nice essay, well done! You clearly introduced your topic and moved into how anthropologists would view this type of different family structure, compared to the average American family. I wonder, though, how children in this type of family structure try to gain some sort of independence. When children are at home they either depend on their parents, at a younger age, or their parents are dependent on them once they are older. Does this make for a complete lack of independence, or do children and other members of the family find alternative ways, outside of the family, to have some type of independence? It would be interesting to explore.

  13. I enjoyed reading your essay. Its very clear and concise. It would be interesting to look at this topic from the view of the culture and personality theory. Mead and Benedict argue that all aspects of culture work together but that they are uniquely patterned. They focused a lot on child-rearing and how the way a child is raised immensely affects the way that child acts as an adult. The world creates different kinds of people because different societies value different traits in individuals, according to cultural and personality theorists. Indian societies, and many other societies across the world, really value extended family relationships. Households often include members of several generations, and a culture and personality theorist would argue that this is because of their value of familial relationships, community relationships, and reciprocity between family members. Americans, on the other hand, value independence and the individual more than the community. Many Americans, and other Western people, view dependence, especially housing dependence, as a sign of weakness and inability to be a successful person. Cultural and personality theorists would argue that this is because Americans place more value on independence and personal capability.

  14. Makayla Tierney says:

    I thought your essay was super well-written. Your viewpoint was very interesting to someone like myself who grew up in Western America. My idea of independence and success as and individual is that of a typical American who grew up in the same culture, like you said– moving out at 18, going off to school, and pursuing your own career and life to provide for yourself and your future family that is separate from the one you started off in. I think the Indian family culture is different in the best way possible, and that in America we should be more focused on our families and others in general than just being selfish and focusing on ourselves. It is important to give back to your parents who gave you everything and took care of you for so long. I appreciate that way of living and think its super interesting to see the difference in culture in family all just depending on where you’re from on Earth.

  15. Ben Medalie says:

    Although I am not of Indian descent, I can understand this varying culture through a different lens other than my own Western one. When I visited Jaipur, India as a young teenager and stayed with a local family for the weekend, I quickly noticed the drastic difference in family ideals and values. Although the residence we were housed in was quite small and cramped, dozens of family members ranging from young children to frail grandparents thrived and supported each other as one big unit. Nevada, I like how you took the functionalist anthropologist approach in your essay by describing the benefits and values behind having little independence from family in life, such as “safety,” “health” and “growth.” Throughout my experience in this household, I realized the family’s unique mindset on the importance of regulating a family through these ideals and the dependance on all family members. Sometimes, I wonder if family ties are stronger among families practicing these Eastern traditions or does the Western normative of independence and separation help a family indirectly grow closer and tighter.

  16. Jason Dietrich says:

    Well done! My essay was very similar, about the differences between nuclear family units and extended family units. One thing that I have noticed is that you don’t even need to travel outside of the United States in order to find vast differences in the way families are structured. Growing up on the west coast, independence from family is almost universally viewed as the next step once you gain adulthood. Living with your parents after high school is generally frowned upon, though in my opinion it shouldn’t be. In contrast to this, when visiting family in Louisiana I have noticed that they value the extended family unit much more than the west coast. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and others are constantly interacting and helping each other on a day to day basis. The stigma against staying close to, or living with, family upon adulthood is all but removed. Rather than independence, it seems that there is a higher value upon being there to support your extended family both physically and emotionally.

  17. jabo2557 says:

    I enjoyed this essay very much. As a Caucasian male, I am not very familiar with their traditions of other cultures and especially family needs. What I noticed was that despite a significant difference in the immediate view and portrayal of the traditionally Indian family, the overall structure is similar. As the elder grow up, it is only right for the younger to take care of them. Although this is not apparent in all families it happens very regularly in western culture. After reading this essay, I was immediately drawn to learn more and in fact learned many very interesting things about Indian culture. Thank you for sparking my interest in this topic. In the essay, I very much enjoyed the simplicity of the relations to anthropological theories. Many of the essays relied on tangents to relate the theories but even at their core, these theories relate directly to the topic. Anyways, I am very impressed by this essay and am excited to read more from you!

  18. Kendall Abady says:

    I really enjoyed how you started by comparing two different cultures and their perspectives on living at home as an adult and then discussed how the different anthropological theories applied to the subject. It was a very good way to get the reader into the essay and make them want to continue reading. I also enjoyed the subject that you chose because I feel that in our society, moving out at a relatively early age is something that is seen as completely normal and we do not always think about how that is not the case in other cultures and societies. Great job!

  19. Faisal Lalani says:

    As someone very familiar with Indian culture, I find the contrast you bring up astounding. Parents (especially mothers) are extremely reluctant to let go of their child (which is seen across all cultures, but is stricter in some versus others). In India, I don’t think it’s dependence on family as much as it’s just that’s its plain disrespectful to “betray” your family by leaving to go be alone or off with a lover. An example is marriage, and how one absolutely must have permission from parents to marry. In most cases, it’s an arranged marriage so this permission must be granted before a man or woman can even meet their future spouse. It’s not your decision as much as it is your family’s. What will the man/woman bring to our family? How much money do they make? What’s their family like? Western culture is much lighter on this; love conquers all!

  20. Emily Bacher says:

    I really enjoyed your take on independence and what is considered the social norm of achieving independence. It was interesting to read about a society that thinks very differently from our own, especially about leaving home. This topic really reached me, as a freshman leaving home for the first time, and it was nice to read about a different way of looking at leaving home. I would like to know more about cultures that have similar views about staying at home and caring for aging parents.

  21. I really enjoyed your informative introduction, it gave me a chance to learn something while also anticipating what the rest of your essay. I like how you were able to incorporate your first quote so seamlessly. The idea of taking care of your parents after they have taken care of you is a really interesting idea that contrasts how the western world often works. I really like how you point out how in the US it is often seen as weak to be dependent on anyone and even more so on your parents. Your use of the cognitive structure really helped me understand the concept better. I like how you used the gift, it made me think about how I was to be able to thank my parents for the gift they gave me of having a good childhood. I agree that this type of family structure of having multiple generations living in one house builds a stronger structure and bond. Overall you made me think about the differences in an Indian culture and the American culture. It was very interesting for me to think about how in the US taking care of your parents is almost a burden or an obligation while in the Indian society it is a given, it is something that you not only want to do but you are respected for doing so.

  22. This was a very interesting way to think of both functional and structural anthropology. I think something that could be explored further in the realm of Strauss-ian structuralist thought would be to include some points about the binary opposition between child and adult, or between child and parent (or grandparent, what have you). In Indian society it seems that while the binary still exists, the lines are a bit blurred and so the transitions from one life-stage to another are more blended into each other and aren’t defined by the same changes as the stages are in Westernized society.

  23. sophiesquire says:

    Overall I thought your essay was well wrtitten, simple, and easy to understand. I thought it was very original and interesting how you based the essay on how the concepts of independence and interdependence can affect family in different ways, depending on the culture. I wish this essay could’ve gone even more into depth and branched out into even more cultures and how these cultures compare and contrast from the indian and western cultures that you have analyzed. What stood out to me the most about your essay is how different the two cultures are from eachother and how respect is given for very different aspects of culture and society.

  24. Kaila Quinones says:

    I enjoyed your essay very much. It had very good flow and is easy to understand. It was very interesting to me how you brought in two pretty different cultures and showed how much our cultural values of independence differ. Like how when Americans are 18 they tend to move out to become independent but indians can live at home until they’re 30 and still feel as if they have gained the same independence Americans have. I also like the fact that you went further on to explain how Indians there in turn take care of their parents when they get older because not only is it expected but they sort of in a sense want to.

  25. Ben Parsons says:

    I thought this essay was quite interesting. I liked that you brought in a perspective from outside the united states, and compared the two. I especially liked your last sentence in the second paragraph about what adds value to an individual in each society, and I wish you could have gone into that comparison a little more. That being said, I understand that this essay had a fairly small word limit, and I think that the paper was overall quite well-written.

  26. Dylan Shannon says:

    I think this essay was very well written and had an interesting perspective. I was really interested in the significance of a persons independance varying between Western and Indian culture. For example, in Western culture you pointed out that independence as an adult is important for adding value to a person. While, In Indian society, dependence on the family is what adds value. Leaving the home at 18; One society deemed to be “shameful”, another embraced and is accomplishing the same fundamental needs. Your paper really explained this tradition very well, as well as opening my eyes to other lifestyles. Its interesting to hear that you are contributing something to your family at every age. The benefits seem apparent in your paper, and Im surprised that its not a more socially accepted practice.

  27. Cayleb Langhals says:

    The contrast between the two cultures is really well done. When reading about the way that typical Western families are expected to live, I saw myself relating to that very much, but when talking about Indian families, it made me curious what would happen if those types of values were put on here in America. Would changing the fundamental structure of the family fix some of the problems that we have today regarding an aging population? Would it cause other problems we could not initially see? The contrast made here was important and well worth mentioning because the strength of your paper lies in the appeal to an audience that is not familiar with Indian culture. Good work.

  28. Matt Levy says:

    The inherent differences between the nuclear family that is found in the US and other types are very telling about these societies. The American version is very much driven by the desire to go out into the world, be successful, and start a family of your own. On the other hand, people in India for example usually live with their extended family. Households there are much larger because you have 3 or 4 generations living together. It is fascinating because both models work, and have upsides and downsides depending on your goal. Indian families are more about social cohesion and taking care of each other while the US household values achieving and individual accomplishments more.

  29. Jenna says:

    I really like the incorporation of Indigenous familial structure and the exploration of how much we as a society differ from that familial structure. In American society, families encourage the younger generations to get out an see the world, to go an learn things on their own rather than from the older generation’s stories and experiences. I cannot imagine many American families being willing to live with two or three generations. There are specific institutions aimed at preventing this such as nursing homes for the elderly. Americans are much less likely to put their lives on hold to make sure a grandparent or even great grandparent is comfortable towards the end of his/her life. Your use of theory is instrumental in aiding your argument can your connections between theory and ideas are well-made.

  30. Canyon Cain says:

    I think this essay was written very well. I really like how you explain what is really acceptable in the two societies and show how two different kinds of anthropologists would interpret it. It is interesting to think of how such a thing can be taken two different ways and how both could be seen as beneficial. Whether it is gaining your independence by leaving the house in America, or showing your love and faith for family by staying and taking care of your family for many years past the norm of when most kids further west leave there homes. I think your use of theory connecting with ideas is very well done!

  31. Brian Streeter says:

    I thought your essay did an excellent job of displaying how this phenomenon could be explained using these different theories. I was curious however, to hear more about the family oriented Indian culture that you bring up. Are there people in your family who have originated from India, or do you have friends or personal interests that tie this to your personal life? A little background of the anthropologists writing this could explain these i’m sure. Overall, a great theoretical explanation though.

  32. Max Liebers says:

    Being a freshman here at CU, this essay is quite interesting. Finishing high school in NY then moving across the country for college makes you think a little. I have been neither homesick nor wanting to go home but i do see the desire in these foreign cultures living with family. Family is extremely important. Our culture forces us out of the house (even though most kids don’t want to live with their parents once they mature enough) simply because that is how our society works. It just fascinates me how different cultures do such simple things to us, differently. Nice job on the article.

  33. Patrick Torres says:

    What I found particularly interesting about this essay was the connection between the Indian structure and the American structure. At first glance, it would appear that the Indian lifestyle is vastly different to that of the American lifestyle, but they actually seem more similar than meets the eye. In both cultures, it is generally the child’s responsibility to take care of their parents in their old age, the only difference between the two is that Indians will generally live with their parents and help them whereas in America, children will often come back and help their parents in times of need. I found the author’s connection between to two to be fascinating and it was written clearly with enough detail.

  34. Preston says:

    This is a really interesting topic. Indian culture is very alien to much of the people in the US. I really liked how you compared the two, although I wished you compared them even more! But overall you did a good job of comparing and contrasting, and smoothly incorporating your topics from lecture as well. It probably could’ve been longer and more detailed in general. Great essay in the big picture.

  35. Rebecca Goss says:

    Interesting analysis! It is so intriguing how the two cultures differ pertaining to family life. In America one might be called lazy or unmotivated if they decided to live with their parents after college, while in India you are considered a more caring person in society if you continued living with your family.

  36. Laurel Bloszies says:

    After reading the title, I was not expecting to find an analysis in support of the Indian familial structure, but I really liked how it was written and the topic discussed. Indian culture really accentuates the importance of honor and duty to your family; the importance of being an individual is very minor. This system is an amazing way of ensuring that every member of society continues to be supported until the end of their life. However, it does have the drawback of restricting what each member of the family can do with their life and careers. For the males, they are expecting to stay near their family for their whole lives no matter what opportunities present themselves abroad. That’s why it’s incredibly hard for Indian people when they come to a Western country such as England or the U.S. Not only are our customs incredibly different, but they are separated from their family by as much distance as is physically possible.

  37. Chandler Bettis says:

    I enjoyed your essay and how you simply laid out the functionalism and structuralism of the Indian family and how you compared it to our society. The comparisons you made were very interesting and accurate. One of the strongest points of your paper is where you are talking about how the responsibility switches from the parent to the child. This is something that is relatable for our society too but not to the same extent we are expected to take care of the elderly but much later in their life and usually we don’t live with them to do this we use programs like assisted living. Your essay being so clear and concise really help drive home your points.

  38. Evan Nassano-Miller says:

    Good job breaking down the Anthropological viewpoints. I have a friend whose family split and the parents live alone but the three of the four sons bought a home together and are living there, I think they have an entirely different situation from many other cultures have, as according to how you applied the theories they didn’t follow any previously established rules, however a structuralist could easily see how the bond of family helps keep a paid-for home and comfort. Great job analyzing, good writing!

  39. Wyatt Svarczkopf says:

    I really liked your essay, but one of the first thoughts that popped up in my head was, do you think the cohesive family unit of the typical Indian family also relies on the grandmother? The Grandmother hypothesis basically says that humans, specifically women, go through menopause in order to contribute to the family. Once menstruation has taken place, the female is seen as more physically fit to be able to take care of children better, since she is now reproductively inactive, biologically speaking. I’m just curious about your thoughts on how these two things are connected, if at all.

  40. Matt Levy says:

    This was a great idea for a topic because the difference in family structure is one of the most striking differences between cultures.The Indian culture is absolutely affected by those theories, they perfectly explain the background reason for why their culture operates in such a way. While their structure fulfills certain human needs, such as comfort and security, ours promotes independence and other values. Neither is better, they provide different benefits and drawbacks.

  41. beel9934 says:

    This was a very good essay, you integrated the theories perfectly in your comparing/contrasting Indian and US society. It seems that this topic specifically seems to highlight some of the key values of both cultures; for the west the value placed on independence is dominant whereas in India the importance on reciprocity within the family is characterized as the most important.

  42. Kevin Kuptz says:

    Your essay really highlights the cultural differences between India and the United States. It is interesting to analyze just how unique the family structure in the US is as compared to the majority of the world. The idea of rugged individualism has seeped into family life and to be dependent upon anything or anyone, especially your family, is frowned upon. Your analysis of the family structure in India illustrates a different way of looking at family, and it is sad to think that individuals in the US place so little value on family ties.

  43. I thought you did a great job of comparing two different cultures and how highlighting how significantly they varied from one another in this certain aspect. It’s difficult to think of different perspectives and other cultural ideals because we are very sheltered from it and have minimal exposure to anything other than our own culture and its ideals. There really is a unique family structure in the United States in comparison to the majority of the modern world. When they reach 18, children are expected to be able to handle making decisions for themselves and make something of themselves without their parents holding their hand every step of the way. There is a “cutting of the umbilical cord” in a sense.

  44. Sam Freund says:

    How might a cultural ecologist explain the practice of Native Americans not leaving their parents home and possibly raisin their own kids their? More people to provide for the elderly eventually? Maybe like the Sama, it is a reaction to land constraints.

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