American in a Chinese Household


Home is a place where one is able to totally be themselves in the comfort of their own privacy. Although as we have all experienced homes are different. They are run and operated by families who often have different thoughts or values than your own. Just like these small household differences we all experience when going another’s home this is more amplified on a worldly scale. These differences were naturally amplified when I was spending time in China with a friend and his family. This was quite the experience since I was the only one who spoke English fluently, but because of this I was able to observe some of the household cultural differences between American and Chinese households. What I believe stood out most is the role of the grandparents. The Grandparents live with the family as well as cook the meals. They work as the caregivers towards the children while the parents are at work like some do in the US, but they cook all meals and really take care of the family from the home standpoint of things. In addition since communication with them was not exactly easy and I did not want to be disrespectful I ate whatever was put in front of me. Not being able to communicate totally with the people I was living with allowed me to learn a lot more about how the a Chinese household in ShangHai. In addition to having the grandparents in the household I discovered that they are very family oriented having their cousin stay at their house for schooling.

There was a real sense of tradition and structure when I was staying with my friend in Shanghai. However, with that structure there was a sense of belonging and familial vibes that were given off within the household. The idea that everyone has a job in the family to do, but everyone in the family is treated with respect and is cared for. This could be observed from the body language that I was observing on a day to day basis.

Just like the circle of life as the the parents take care of the children when they’re to you to be independent  while the parents take care of the grandparents when they need it in their older age. It shows the emphasis the Chinese put on family and how strong they can be together.


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