A recent study found that US families have poorer familial relations than other industrialized nations:
Amicable relationships were most prevalent in England, with 75 percent of parents reporting harmonious ties with their grown-up kids. In Spain, 63 percent reported positive relationships, in Germany, 49 percent, and in the United States, 51 percent.
As a fairly new dad, I find this study shudder inducing. Here’s more:
American families were more than twice as likely as those living anywhere else to have so-called disharmonious relationships, or those defined by strong negative feelings, such as disagreement and tension, without any strong positive feelings, including feelings of closeness and amicability.
The study cites differences in health care systems and cultural norms as key driving factors. My first impulse is to problematize this finding. But could we also see this as part of the US’s diversity and dynamism? Could it be that US culture allows individuals to break from their initial social networks to find more diverse or more disparate networks of friends that provide similar social needs to family? Maybe a low rate of “amicable relationships” with immediate family reflects a willingness to be more entrepreneurial in one’s network of relationships. Societies where fidelity to your immediate family is essential might get in the way of a great budding scientist leaving their hometown to pursue their studies.
Having grown up in a tight knit Cuban-American community, I find the emphasis on family to be incredibly comfortable in its familiarity and predictability. I love my family, but I also know people who simple “endure” their family because Latin social norms suggest that one should. I always thought this was an Anglo thing, but it seems the English have a similar allegiance to kin (based on the 75% figure). Perhaps those in the US are more adventurous, and conversely less loyal, than other places?
Cutting oneself off from family might be a way for cultures to innovate, even if your mother is still waiting for you to call!
via Live Science