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What is a "traditional" family?

Question: Teacher Joe, I have a question. While watching TV one night, I heard an interview with an American man who talked about "traditional American family values". I think Chinese people have much more traditional families than Americans. It seems Americans get divorced so easily and children can do whatever they want. So, what did that man mean? Wei Wei.

Answer: Hi Wei Wei. There are, as you have already guessed, fewer traditional families in the United States than in China. In addition, there are fewer traditional families than there were in the past. In particular, since the 1960s, there has been more and more divorce in the U.S., so that now approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Still, that leaves 50% of marriages that are successful, so there are many traditional families.

These traditional American families are not so different from Traditional Chinese families. Traditional families in both countries do many things together. Parents work hard and do everything they can to educate their children well. Children, for their part, study hard and obey their parents and other elders.

Even in traditional families, though, there are some big differences between China and the U.S. For example, American families move more often than Chinese families. Moving to a new neighborhood and going to a different school can disrupt the children's education, but Americans have moved around throughout their history, so this is considered fairly normal.

Another difference is that children are brought up to be independent. Americans consider it important for children to find their own way, to discover what they like to do. Then, when they find their "chosen path", they can easily give all of their energy to it. In addition, parents want their children to be "well-rounded", in other words, children should not only spend their time studying, they should spend time playing sports and music, and do things with their friends and classmates.

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