Cultural Universals Between United States and China

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of culture is “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group”. Every country has its specific culture and there are some obvious cultural universals between China and America. One example of such cultural universal is the directness of American versus the humbleness of the Chinese people. Another example would be the self independence of the young Americans versus the young Chinese who tend to depend on their parents.
What I would like to cover are the holidays observed by United States and China, roles played in the family by husband and wife, parenting styles and conflict management. Holidays observed There are two similar holidays that are celebrated in both United States and China, New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year’s Day. In both countries, New Year’s Day is celebrated for the passing of the old year and the start of the New Year. Chinese New Year which is also called Spring Festival starts with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the Full Moon 15 days later.
It is celebrated in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household, and the family ancestors as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. During the Chinese New Year, Chinese people decorate the house with red couplets on the doors and they visit each other during this holiday. They will feast on traditional foods like New Year cake and dumplings. New Year’s Day in United States is celebrated on January 1st. It is celebrated with a resolution to get rid of bad habits and start a new one when the clock strikes 12am. Roles between husband and wife

In United States, family is in a more nuclear and immediate interaction while family in China is larger due to its culture. The Chinese family involves uncles, aunts and other relatives. Most of the American household consist of the father, mother and the children in the single household, while the Chinese household is usually bigger and would consist of multiple generations under one roof. In the Chinese family, the roles of men and women are usually pretty much defined by the husband generating income for the family while the wife is responsible for running the household and taking care of the children.
The father usually holds the dominant role and decision maker. According to quintessential website, it mentioned that the institution of family is the pinnacle of society. It also mentioned that the traditional Chinese family has a hierarchical order with the man as the head of the family. The father of the house is also responsible for housing and educating his children up until the time of their marriage. The American families advocate equality. The husband and the wife usually have an equality voice in decision-making, and on certain matters, family members are regarded as friend and they should treated equality in daily life.
Parenting Style Yale law professor Amy Chua wrote a book named “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” and it talks about parenting styles between the Chinese verses the Western styles. She said that parents who set high standards tend to have kids who are more successful at school. It’s also clear that Chinese parents tend to spend more time pushing their kids to study, practice, and achieve. Her book created a huge controversial piece for the Wall Street Journal on “Why Chinese mothers are Superior “. This article is about the response of Amy Chua to all the book readers that she believed took her parenting methods too serious.
It explains how many Americans were shocked when they found out what she had done to her youngest daughter when it came to reciting her piano piece. It also touched on how Chua called her eldest daughter “garbage” at the dinner party they attended. She is explaining that she was just raising her children the same way her and her siblings were raised by her parents. She tells that her and her husband had many arguments and discussions on how to raise their children, and that he was not always against her.
The Wall Street Journal article later conclude that Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away. Conflict Management Chinese are more obliging and avoiding than Americans in managing conflicts.
In managing conflict the Chinese are more concerned with maintaining interpersonal relationships. Just like any other situation, the rules for the polite way to handle problems are specific to a particular culture. An old Chinese saying goes that “Do not talk too deep when you are not close enough with the other”, when one feels that their relationship with the other is not strong enough for conflict, he or she has should better express an opinion through someone else. If they disagree about something, they may have a direct communication for the sake of seeking a solution which is acceptable to both parties.
In such a situation, Chinese always say that “we are all brothers, it is needless to argue”. In the process of negotiation, they may take various ways and ask others to “give me a face”. Quarrel makes both sides ugly; while agreements enable both to have their own shares. ” In order to keep their harmonious relationship, they tend to concede and “give face” to each other. Therefore, both of them are able to walk away and compromise with other party. References * Chinese Culture Family Life. Country facts. Kwintessential. co. uk. Retrieved January 30th, 2013. ttp://www. kwintessential. co. uk/articles/china/chinese-culture-family-life/article/China/Chinese-Culture-Family-Life/1781 * Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 20 2013. http://online. wsj. com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754. html “Tiger Mom: Amy Chua Parenting Memoir Raises American Fears – TIME. ” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME. com. Web. February 10 2013. http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2043477,00. html

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