Thursday, November 4, 2010

China's Changing Families

China’s Changing Families
By a junior English major

Families are quite different now in China from those decades ago, due to China’s changing economy, policies, and culture.

In 1980s or early 1990s, family members usually lived together in the same big yard. They shared the kitchen, the bathroom, and the dinning-room, and when it was time for meals, all the family members would sit at the same table, eating and chating. Often, there were more than ten people in a family, including grandparents, parents, and grandchildren. So dinner time could be a good chance for families to get together and communicate. It was probably the liveliest time of the day, with children playing games together happily.

All the family members living together has its advantages, but at the same time, there are many inconvenience. As the values and life styles of elder people and young people are different, sometimes even opposite, an increasing number of families choose to live separately. Young couples prefer to live in apartment with their children. Because of the Family Policy in China, most couples can only have one child. As a result, children become lonely without friends playing together after dinner. However, they can enjoy the quiet time to read or do their own things. What’s more, parents can make flexible plans with fewer family members living together.

With the development of the various aspects of Chinese people’s life, families have been changing in the past and will go on changing in the future.

China’s Changing Families
By a junior English major

China’s families have been changing since the open policy in 1978. We Chinese people witness the big change during the past 30 years.

Our parents’ generation had a big family. Just take my father as an example, my dad had five younger brothers. It’s unbelieveable for us that my grandparents had 6 sons to raise. It was a tradition that if you had more children you would lead a happier life when you were old. But it was not true. Children didn’t have enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear What’s worse, children couldn’t go to school because their parents can’t afford the food let alone the education. Going to school is every child’s dream. Most of them would become peasants and worked in the fields the whole life.

It is different now. As our economy develops rapidly, our families have been changing a lot. Due to the one-child policy, most of China’s families are nuclear family. Only father, mother and child. Since parents have only one child to raise, so they can give their kid a happier and better life. Parents will try their best to make money to meet children’s need. Better and healthier food, fancy and good-quality clothes. The happiest thing is that every child can go to school. It is such a big progress.

Although different generations have different problems, we are leading a better life now. We should treasure this happiness.

In a word, China’s families have had big changes.


  1. Interesting to read their views. I know from my Chinese friend that the 'one' child can also carry great burdens. The obligation to succeed in education, work and life can be overwhelming, not to mention the responsibility of caring for aging parents, by themselves. Like everything, there is always a up and down side, isn't there?

  2. My students sometimes talk about the "4-2-1" phenomenon, where 1 person has to support 2 parents and 4 grandparents. It's a big burden.