When I talked to Alice her son James was not home. I inquired about him and I came to know that as he is 19 now he was uncomfortable living with his mother so he has gone to another city in USA for work and lives there. She also added that he now has a girl friend and is happy. After talking to many other parents and reading I realized that after turning 18, it is some sort of a sin to live with parents in the West (America, Europe, Canada etc.).
Aslam is now 32 and lives with his parents in Lahore, Pakistan. He is married with two kids. His wife has differences with in-laws but she doesn’t want to live alone either. Millions of boys are living like this in Asia. I don’t include girls as they get married and live with their respective in-laws.
I remember a young girl about 25, in USA who writes a blog regularly and who in her introduction says that her widowed mother has re-married, her sisters and brothers are all married and since she has a chronic illness and lives with her family, she is the only one not getting laid. Apparently getting laid is a big problem in the West. Not that in Asia and the East in general young don’t want sex but its contained within the norms of family, faith and society.
By writing these lines its not intended to prove which group of parents is doing good and which region has lousy parenthood practices. Both West and East has good and bad points when it comes to rearing the young ones.
In most of the Asian, African and middle Eastern countries poverty plays an important role in child rearing customs. With poverty I mean not having a house or residential place of ones own, no means of transportation, not enough food and abject illiteracy. The corruption in third world countries led to some families of ruling elite get their kids (and grand kids) quality education and top jobs in the West or in countries of their origin. It is common to hear that in Asia, Africa and middle East somebody has ruled for more than 25 or 35 years while it is unheard of in the developed world where democracy has strong roots and people at the helm of affairs are held responsible and punished if an irregularity is seen. The result is that in most countries of the East there is no long term planning in educational fields and the children are not given education which in turn makes the future generations also poor. Their parents are too busy making two ends meet and they prefer to have two working hands instead of a college degree after a long unproductive time. Having educated parents like in the West plays an important role in rearing the young ones. The parents of the developed world are (almost) all educated and read a lot when a child is born in the family. They know the do’s and don’t s of the parenthood. They know when to seek help when needed. When a child falls ill, they take him to the doctor. In poor countries or so called developing nations the average parents are not educated. They trust in centuries old practice of taking care of kids. There is hardly any role of emotional well being of a child. Instead the father or the father figure in the family is supposed to be the strict-at-all-times while the mother is the giver of everything from food to well being of the child.
In most of the poor countries religion and ritualistic practices are all the stuff parents are equipped with. When a young ones falls ill, there is no health care facility near them. So they are forced to depend on the local hakim (a quack who has been trained in the field of medicine through ages of accumulated knowledge) or a 10th grade so-called doctor who only knows the names of Aspirin and a few antibiotics. Steroids are given in every minor illness even. Its a miracle that children in these countries survive. Please note that the infant and maternal mortality rates are highest in these countries.
In Asian and other countries parents provide a very strong financial and emotional hard shell to their young ones. No matter what age they reach, they know they have parents at home and family around them which will always take their side. When Aslam was 18 he took admission in a university for his masters class. After post graduation he got a decent job and then they married him. Not for a single day he thought he can live without them. Nor his parents ever wish that their son live separately. Here is a very prominent difference between the two child rearing customs. We can argue that in developed countries children are given freedom but we should not forget that children in the West later develop depression frequently and suicide rate is much higher than in the poor countries.
Not only the children live with their parents for their lifetime but they in turn take care of them when they grow old and its not considered an unpleasant or forced duty. They do it with all their heart. Perhaps that is the reason that there are hardly any old people homes or nursing homes in these cultures.