A recent online community study among Millenials highlighted the importance of family among Asian Youth. Page upon page talked about the love of family, the reliance on family and its ‘super importance’.
Not surprising in cultures where people live with their parents till they marry (often in their early 30s). Asian families are close knit even if they are nuclear families. Respect is accorded to parents and grandparents for all the sacrifices they have made in bringing up children. At least one day of the weekend is devoted to family gatherings as part of filial piety.
Families are heavily relied on for emotional, financial and mental support. They are the only ones trusted without question. Besides material acquisitions, work achievement, having a ‘happy family’ is a big barometer of success.
Therein lies a fundamental difference in the role of families in Asia vs. those in other parts of the world. Families in other parts of the world are a means to developing strong adults who will contribute to society. In Asia, the family is an end in itself. Parents focus on building a family and success is measured on this.
There are many reasons why the Asian family is the focus, the end in itself. One reason for the focus on the family is that Asian countries are often developing markets. They are characterized with poor infrastructure and social infrastructure is not as reliable. In the absence of trust in social amenities, people develop a reliance on family as the final port of trust and reliability. Social connectedness through family and friends provides a safety net to people that social infrastructure is unable to provide e.g. being able to call a family member or family friend at the hospital to get a doctor’s appointment faster rather than waiting for hours through the public system.
This reliance on family appears to be taking on a different and even more intense turn in Asia, especially developed Asia. Millenials are relying on family even more. Raised in families with rising incomes, Millenials have been well taken care of. They have become accustomed to a carefree life. Family is taking precedence over other parts of Millennial life. So it seems that the Asian Millennial is likely to adhere to, even strengthen the belief that family in itself is a goal to achieve.