acceptance, help, tolerance, love
brothers, mom
close loving
Father, mother
father, mother
father, mother, sons
home, children
home, love,
home, mom
love, laughing, games
Mom, dad, brothers
mom, dad, relatives
mother father love
Parents, Children
parents, siblings, cousins
sister, nuclear
support, conflict
warm, love, care

Abris, Réconfort, Energie
amour, parents, réconfort
enfants, amis, chaleureux
enfants, parents, amour
équilibre, berceau, amour
foyer, soutient,
fragile, désuet
important, amour, vital
indispensable, amour, soutien
indispensable, réconfort, cool
liens, ennui
Maman, Loin, importante
parents, belle-soeur, oncle
Parents, éducation, maison
parents, enfants, confort
parents, frère
parents, frères et soeurs
parents, lien, frères et soeurs
père, mère, appui
réconfort, noël, réunion
réconfort, stabilité, bonheur
réunions, parents
sécurité, mariage, calme
soutien, souvenirs, frères
très importante, groupe soudé
unie, se réfugier, fêtes
unité, refuge, nombreuse


J'ai decouvert le mot "nuclear" a propos de la famille, quel sens lui donnez-vous ?

Although we generally view family as something positive, people in America see family as a tangible structure:for example, mother, brother, father. People in France however see it as a more emotional thing: love, support, etc - the things that we can not really grasp. The answers from the American students are more obvious and concrete whereas the answers from the French students are more reliant on how one feels when one is a part of a family. Why the difference? Perhaps it is becuase of our societies? or the formation of our countries in terms of family infrastructure? America is not a place where expression is really important and maybe that is why there is such a difference in answers.

Je suis d'accord avec Alison pour dire que notre vision de al famille est davantage abstraite que la votre. Je pense que cela tient avant tout aux traditions françaises où la famille est la structure sociale de base. Elle est pour nous une entité indispensable, c'est d'abord par elle que nous accèdons à la vie sociale. Pour nous, la famille est plus large que les parents et les frères et soeurs, elle s'étend à tous les parents qui nous sont chers. Je pense que votre définition de la famille serait en général différente, n'est-ce pas ?

Pour compléter ce qui a été déjà dit, il me semble que l'on peut noter la séparation du "love" américain par le couple "amour", "réconfort", distinction ou plutôt mise en avant d'une fonction de base de la famille. Le rappel paraissait peut-être nécessaire aux français. Il me semble d'autre part que face à l'énumération de liens de parenté par les américains, les français insistent d'abord sur l'importance de la structure. Réaction aux problèmes qu'elle rencontre en ce moment? Pour finir, je remarque que les références aux aspects négatifs de la famille sont très rares, ce que l'on peut relier sans doute à la tranche d'âge et au niveau social des étudiants. Mais cela n'explique pas tout.

I do not think that American family is just a structural object. However, many American families fall apart after children grow up and start their own lives. I think this, in part, is due to the great distances of the US: i.e. a child living in California and parents living in Boston. Some children in the states prefer to talk to guidance counselors when they have problems (since those are available in schools) as opposed to their parents. DO you ahve counselors in French schools? Also, "family time" is practically absent in American families, especially when both parents work. I guess it is true more and more in France too, but do you have dinners together and how often? Also, there is a question of grand parents: most American grand parents live by themselves or in special homes? Is that true in France too?

I think part of the difference in time spent together as a family comes from a difference in the pace of life. In the US, we make no attempt to slow our lives down to fit in family dinners and time to talk together. It is so much easier to grab dinner on the way out the door to the next meeting or activity. Maybe we take our families for granted since they will always be around.
In my family, as we have grown up, we have gained a lot of independence and respect from my parents. I wondered if the parents as a superior figure disappears as you grow older, or if there is always that separtation between children and parents.

The word nuclear, as I understand it, refers to the definition of the immidiate family. The nuclear family is, typically, your mother, father and brothers or sisters, in other words, people that live with you. On the other hand, extended family would be your uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, people that you don't get to see everyday.

I do agree that the pace of living in the US is uncomparable with that of Europe. However, there might be also a historical explanation to the fact that the French view the family as a whole. Probably in the early days the origin was very important in France, so that the whole 'noble tree' of relatives was equally vital, rather than the particular parent/member of the family in the US. What do you think?

Family very much seems to be a structure in the american point of view, a structure that was placed in the society, which people feel obliged to comply and identify with. On the other hand, the french point of view seems to regard the family structure as the source of "good life", "success" and existence as a whole. I am interested to know how early on do children move out of their homes and how early on are they actually expected to move out by their families?

I spoke with my French post-doc Friday afternoon about the difference he noticed between family lives in the States and in France. He told me that one of the biggest difference is the fact that French families get together regularly whereas American families don't except on special occasions such as Thanksgiving. He reasoned that it's because 1) American families are more sread apart geographically. 2) Divorce rate is much much higher here. Another interesting thing he mentioned is that American families are more likely to travel a great distance to spend time with family during Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. It's kind of strange since Christmas vacation is longer..

I noticed that you wrote "La famille...par elle que nous accedons a la vie sociale". I was just wondering what you meant by that. In the U.S., students generally tend to have a social life outside the family because of the fact that they live far away from their parents. Do you mean that family serves a significant role in a student's social life where you get to meet new individuals through your uncle, cousin, etc?

Je pense qu'en France les repas en famille, les occasions de se retrouver sont assez nombreux, par exemple à l'occasion des vacances(afin que toute la famille soit présente), de fêtes religieuses...Personnellement, quand je suis chez moi, les repas se passent toujours en famille (même si mes 2 parents travaillent). En france aussi, les grands-parents vivent, dans la plupart des cas, dans leur propre maison ou dans des "maisons de retraite".

When I got to MIT, I was surprised to find how many of my new friends disliked their families. Especially now that I live away from home, I have no trouble interacting with my family, but this is apparently rather unusual here. Do you feel that college students are glad to escape from their families and go to school? I think that may be a common feeling here, though not exactly my opinion. Still, I am glad that I can live on my own now and visit home whenever I want to.

I disagree with Liana: although some people do consider moving to college to be an escape from family difficulties, I think generally, good relations are prevalent. However, those relations are rather distant.

I think that a lot of the times, students go away to college thinking "Yes! I'm finally independent and can do what I want to do!".. yet it takes them a relatively short amount of time to realize how nice it is to have parents around to take care of the little problems in life for you. Also, coming to college, I think that a lot of students get closer to their families.