What does family life look like elsewhere?

How childhood and family life are shaped depends, among other things, on the culture in which you are born and in which you grow up. The text tells you how families live in Africa, Asia and South America.

As you read the first few sentences of this text, about 60 children were born on Earth. Can you imagine that? These children may have been born in a different country and therefore in a different culture than you. But how does family life differ from ours??

Small families in Germany

If you compare Germany with other countries, you will notice that relatively few children are born here. With three children, we have one family with many children. In Germany almost everyone cares only about their own child. Usually you are raised by your parents and your cousin by theirs. Not all children see their grandparents regularly, for example because they live in another city. It used to be different: there were several generations under one roof and all family members looked after the children. In many cultures on this world is this still like that today.

The extended family in Africa

There are still many large families in rural regions of Africa. Having eight children or more is normal. Not only the parents and their children often live under one roof, but also the aunts and uncles, cousins ​​and grandparents. The children usually do not go to kindergarten. They are raised by all members of the extended family.

Care is the top rule in many large African families. The older members of the family are therefore looked after and cared for by the younger ones. The grandparents and great-grandparents are considered particularly wise and are often asked for advice. You have a high reputation in the family. Because everyone helps everyone, there is a great sense of community in the family association. The rule is: the bigger the family, the more proud you are and the safer you feel.

South America – Everyone cares for the baby

It is similar in South America. There is, for example, the so-called "cuarenta". This word describes a period of up to six weeks after birth in which all family members take care of the mother and the baby as much as possible.

There are also many large families in countries in South America. All members are asked for further care and education of the child in the first years of life. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and also the siblings take care of the toddler. Grandparents in particular play a major role in education. They give theirs values and experience to the little ones. They tell stories and keep the traditions alive. A lot of value is placed on this.

Asia – a bed for everyone

In many Asian countries, such as India or South Korea, value is placed on closeness and care. Toddlers are often carried by different family members for hours. There are also many large families here and each member feels responsible for the others. The children also sleep in the parents’ bed. When they get older and bigger, there is no longer room for everyone in bed. Then the children sleep on a mattress that is right next to their parents’ bed. This continues until the children have grown into adults. This should give them a lot of security and self-confidence.

Extended family is not equal extended family

As you can see, there are many differences between living together in different cultures. While there are many small families in Germany and mainly the parents are responsible for bringing up the children, there are many large families in African countries, parts of South America and Asia. But of course there are also big differences between the individual countries. In addition, life in the country is often different from that in the city. In these cultures, great value is placed on family cohesion. There are often large families in which everyone cares for everyone.


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Christina Cherry
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