Americans, lack of filial piety?

Hello, I got a really, really interesting question that popped into my head today. Why do Americans lack filial piety? At the international level, filial piety is very common, it is basically being respectful, polite, considerate, loyal, helpful, dutiful, and obedient toward your parents. I've always wondered why do Americans view that one living with one's parent(s) are seen as a laughable situation? People often assume that the person lack the ability to earn what is needed to live alone or too dependent on their parents. But then again, statistically (I'm a nerd, I know), such situation does not necessary mean it is the way most of us American view it as -- correlation does not equal causation. By having filial piety toward your parents does not necessary mean you must always be under the shadow of your parents, but having basic qualities (shown above) to maintain a strong relationship. After all, parents definitely would care and protect their children unquestionably --ideal condition--, but why can't adult Americans have filial piety toward their aging parents in exchange?

I want to know what you guys think regarding this. Sorry for the painful read!

Thanks in Advance,



I'm not ignorant, but I am sure generalizing. Sorry if my question offended any one who reads this. Personally, I wouldn't consider a well thought out question any close to being naive. Thank-you.

Update 2:

To some extend, I have to agree that filial piety usually only applies to people of Asian descent. However, I wouldn't look at it as a religious quality because I know some Chinese people that aren't religious assumes filial piety toward their parents.

Update 3:

Thank-you for your input Fred, I have to agree with you. I'm a Chinese American, but I was raised in both Chinese and American culture. Today, I was watching a Chinese show regarding filial piety, but never really know the word of what it is actually is in English until I found the translation to it using google translator. Personally, filial piety comes naturally to me, and I was just curious to the opinion of Americans raised in 100% American culture. What really got me is that such relationship is natural in many species of apes, humans included, and I just find it weird to why Americans, in general, lacks this quality.

6 Answers

  • Fred
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    And to Pooh Bear up there . . your derisive entrance to the board makes you look mean spirited and intellectually snobbish . . . Yes we are talking of generalizations, so your dismissal of it is not valued. You cannot talk of a society as a whole without generalizing. And Genxi's question is not assumptive either.

    to answer some of the question . . Americans are taught to go out on their own and seek their fortunes and establish themselves in society and get married and prosper and provide.

    (this is a generalization . . (don't want to offend Poo Bear's sensitivities) So when you have adults living at home who have not launched . . . it carries a stigma. Usually that vision is of the son who has not grown up and just languishes and bides his time living the life of the grasshopper.

    However, if the son were industrious and moving ahead in life, except still living at home . . he would appear to be possibly anti-social, or socially stunted in some form . . mama's boy etc.

    again a generalization.

    I think a lot can be said for retaining a strong relationship with one's parents.

    My perception of filial piety as it relates to the Asian culture, is possibly cast in the reality of rural and old world tradition, where people had less and families stayed together for strength as well as economics and it was tightly indoctrinated in the psyche, to a religious standard. Certainly in the cities where many people are living a more middle class life . . this system must be falling to the side like it has in Japan.

    It is quite possible when the scriptures were written, they were done so by the elders . . and as a result . . some of it may be self serving in attempts to keep a controlled hierarchy. Not a bad thing . . just a thought.

    And as civilizations change and modernize and religion is sometimes not in the equation . . . .still strong historic societal norms prevail in order to maintain a working structure. You of course do not need to be religious to have beliefs or be conservative in your conduct.

    And a final note on the Americanism of this phenominon . . For the most part . . the Americas were built on European culture. I have never heard of Europeans having this quality or virtue we speak of.

    And when I look back at reading the classics . . I don't recall this strong family sense as it relates to this subject. So I think this is quite possibly more an Asian attribute as opposed to the European cultures.

    What say you . . Genxi?

    And I have to say . . Great Question!

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  • loung
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Filial Piety In America

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  • 4 years ago

    I think it has an important place but people have steered it awry to the point that people feel they must exercise individualism as the other extreme. Individualism is great and all, but there could be more -viability- in filial relationship that is often lost when those relationships prove to be unhealthy. Just as religious beliefs go into decline, warranted or not, the filial relations within them can do the same. Honestly, I think that religions that try to make a population homogeneous are the ones that end up separating families because they neglect the inherent diversity of families and ancestry.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Well, philial piety is traditionally an Asian virtue. . . That being said . . .Americans are by-and-large not of Asian dissent or raised by Asians. However, those of religious backgrounds tend to be more this way and respectful of elders etc.

    Perhaps since America is made up of people who have come here to seek their fortunes, or from hardships, or were rogues and acallawags . . it's a bit more of everyone for themself.

    I'm just postulating here

    However . . families tend to be more close knit when they are religious or from a farming environment, where traditions endure. imo

    I'm not certain that Europeans are all that philial pious either.

    I have really only heard about this virtue to the extent you know it in Asian society.

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  • 9 years ago

    Generalizations and assumptions just make you look naive and ignorant.

    Yes, Americans lack filial piety, while the Japanese are abandoning their elderly.

    Living with your parents, or not, is not an indication of filial piety, or a sign of its absence.

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  • Evelyn
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    it is unfortunate but it is not a part of our culture as it once was. I can try to teach it to my kids but if the guy down the street doesn't, my child could lose the values i have instilled by witnessing that child showing disrespect to his elders. it is learned and unlearned. Basically, we can try but we are not going to succeed unless we all teach our children the importance of respect for ones elders and respect for each other.

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