THE FAMILY CULTURE OF THE YOUNG VIETNAMESE GENERATION AND THEIR SELF-RELIANCE
Filial piety is one of the most highly upheld traditional values of every Vietnamese household. How does it fare against the rise of self-dependence in the young generation?
1.The definition of youth
According to UNESCO, “youth” or the young generation is understood as a phase between childhood and adulthood. They are no longer children but instead are teenagers or adolescents. They are still in the period of development and may not have fully matured. In accordance with FAO (2018), there are certain characteristics of youth, such as: harboring many desires and needs, being very keen on academic activities, wanting and needing a powerful voice in planning their own activities.
2. Distinctive characteristics of Vietnamese family culture
As specified by Lê Ngọc Văn, the traditional value of the Vietnamese family is a family structure associated with rural - agricultural society. Therefore, Vietnamese people have long since had to rely on the strength of the community - the family community as first and foremost - in order to survive. Vietnamese people are not used to living by their lonesome. They like to live with families, live in villages and then work. The individuality of community particularly manifests in family life, governing familial relations and also the way adults educate the youth. In the traditional Vietnamese family, the individual rarely exists as an independent person. Young Vietnamese are extremely attached to their family. As reported by the nationwide survey conducted by the British Council, three-quarters of the respondents (75%) stated that family is the fundamental aspect that defines who they are; as such, filial piety is still an essential value for Vietnamese youth and they highly respect their parents.
3. Distinctive characteristics of the independence of Vietnamese youth
An article on VnExpress (2013) tells a story about a 12 year old girl who had no knowledge of how to do skills relating to self-sufficiency such as cooking, cleaning, etc. The story becomes more complicated for this girl when her mother falls ill and can no longer take care of her daughter. On the other hand, Việt - a person who was interviewed in the results of research comparing the independence of Vietnamese and German youth generations. Việt talked about self-reliance and the process of how her independence developed. “My self-reliance was actually formed when I was 10, owing to the fact that I always had to do housework.” Overall, though, a child’s self-sufficiency will depend on external factors such as family circumstances and financial stability. However, we can see that children who live in rural areas and the countryside form a sense of independence much earlier on than those who live in cities. Moreover, almost all young Vietnamese people (under the age of 18) live together with their parents. Not many youths “leave the nest” so to speak, and if they do, the most common reason is for study and work purposes. Another point that needs to be noted is that although the majority of many Vietnamese people’s lives are predetermined by their parents, their levels of honesty in asserting what they do is quite high.
4. Comparison between the independence of Vietnamese youth and other countries (German youth)
Based on the research results about the young generations of Vietnam and Germany, we will summarize some highlights of the independence of young Vietnamese compared to young Germans. From a career perspective, for both cultures, parents play a vital role in the choosing of their children’s future professions. Be that as it may, the collected numbers are not definitive enough to say in which culture parents have more impact on their children’s career paths.
There was a similar result regarding the question: “If you had to make an important decision, what would it be?”. German youths said that they would first ask their best friend (36%), then their parents (35%) and then think for themselves (24%). Young Vietnamese people said that they would first ask their parents (41%), then think for themselves (34%) and then ask their best friend (24%).
In the matter of the question about how independent young people felt, the answers varied depending on who was asked. Although 35% of Vietnamese said they felt quite self-reliant, 23% said that they relied on their parents. On the contrary, 60% of Germans said they felt quite self-reliant and the next 29% said that they felt entirely self-sufficient. In Vietnam, this answer was only given by 3% of the young population.
In short, we can opine that the relationship between parents and the young generation in Vietnam is much more close-knit in many ways, in comparison with the families in Germany. German parents readily supply their young children with the necessary skills to become independent, believing the sooner the better. On the flipside, young Vietnamese truly hold a lot more trust in their parents.
Through this article, we want to point out some distinctives of Vietnamese family culture as well as the independence of Vietnamese youth, and compare these qualities with the international young generation, specifically the German youth. Overall, Vietnamese families are still more interconnected, they will have more responsibilities to uphold but also provide more support for each other in the family. In recent years, the lifestyle of young Vietnamese is becoming more liberal and independent than their parents' generation. Nevertheless, they are still governed by traditional values and are still under the influence of their parents.