During two weeks of being in Ohio University, I was able to notice that there aren’t as much family bonds as one would expect. Maybe it is because I was comparing it to Lebanese people, and Lebanon as other Arab countries is known for its family bonds and strong relationships.
Perhaps the reason is the moving out part. As it is knows, when an American reaches the age of 18, he/she moves out of their parent’s home, and live independently. They have a separate life at that point, concentrating on college, work, and friends. They tend to be pulled away from emotions towards their families.
During our stay at Ohio, Dr.Greg Emery explained to us that the reason for such a thing to be very common is that parents want their kids to gain their independence. They want them to rely on themselves and be responsible enough to be able to pull through in their lives alone.
The huge difference between Americans and Lebanese, is that a Lebanese students stays with his parents at most times even when he is at college level, and the only time he moves out is at marriage. Other reason for a Lebanese student to move out is in pursue of education. The university he wishes to attend might be far from his parent’s home and for that he decides to live in a dorm. Yet there is constant communication between him and his parents, and he is expected to visit them on every weekend or holiday. They are also expected to visit him very often.
The thing is not that Lebanese parents don’t want their children to be independent and learn responsibility; it is only because emotional bonds in this country and many of the surrounding countries are much greater. A Lebanese mother would feel her son/daughter are being pulled away if they move out, whereas a typical American mother would encourage her child to leave the house and move on.
The other difference that is present as well is university tuition. A lot of Lebanese students have a job, but most of them have their parents pay for their university fees. They might contribute a little, but some rely completely on their parents for college tuition. However, in America, it is least common to meet a student that his/her parents pay for their college. It is mostly common that a student asks for a loan, pays for college, and spend the few upcoming years paying off the loan from the part-time job he has.
As I previously mentioned, Lebanese people are at a lot of times carried away by their emotions, and cannot bail out on their children. They feel responsible for the child even during college. And the time that a person gets her real independence is when he/she gets married.