ABU(Senior group) Fine Work
Separate housing or living within the family
Masoud Al-Ismaili Oman (30, Male)

Achieving individual and family independence of all kinds is one of the basic needs for man advocated by the social and educational studies. Its importance is emphasized by human rights organizations and endeavor to secure it in a way that guarantee rights and freedom for the individual and the society. When you ask a different group of people which do you prefer to have a independent  housing separate from family or living within the family. It is obvious that answers would be different according to different meanings of independence for people and according to the difference in cultures and customs as well as their different political and economic circumstances. Therefor we should define first the meaning of independence we are dealing with here to shed light on the phenomenon specifically and hence explain its reasons and social impact on people. Social literature define self-dependence as a desire to be free from the restrictions of family and to depend on oneself in managing life affairs. For example there are ones who wants to be separate from his family's accommodation, to live alone or with his nuclear family in a dwelling separate from the extended family which includes parents and siblings. We can then distinguish between two kinds of independence, it be individual or familial. There are similarities and overlapping between both emerging from the philosophy it is based on. As they are similar in reason we will consider them as one kind on one hand and as two different kinds on the other specially when we speak of their impact.
A review of the phenomenon of desire for independent housing would find that it varies according to its different motives and reasons. There are people who desire self-independence forced by the economic circumstance they are subject to while others have to because of travel to study to threatened by persecution for political reasons. There are also self-motives that make some young people to seek freedom from the restrictions and authority of the larger family. This is common among teenagers who want to spring out in this life to experience it without restrictions and authority of their families. Some societies my favor such independence without any objection. Also in respect of the kind of familial independence the motives are similar to those of self-independence. There are economic motives such as the distance to the place of work, small family housing, or social motives such as married couple's desire to have a family away from the authority of parent's family. The motive may be a social culture in some environment which force the maries couple to be independent in housing right from the beginning. Whatever the reasons and motives for both kinds, their spread in certain communities depends on many factors controlled by different conditions which may be similar or different in some scarcities. However the phenomenon exists in all communities at different rates. There are many who oppose the idea of independent housing specially self-independence may be not for suppression of freedom but for fear of its negative impact. They view that self-independence makes a young man separate from his family, customs and traditions and may lead to a cut-off. They also see that premature independence for young people may lead them to misconduct and misbehavior as unmarried young man may need guidance towards good conduct and facing the burdens of life. They consider that as a reason for divorce and spread of prostitution, drugs and theft which would not have happened if young men had been under the supervision and guidance of parents. A publication in UAE made a report on the divorce phenomenon where the findings indicate that 60% of divorce case happened in families which have separate housing while 10% happened in families which live with spouse's family.
Advocates of the independent housing phenomenon see that it has positive side and several advantages; self-independence makes a young man proceeds in life and face its difficulties at an early age, exploring a world different from the one he was brought up in his village or family. Through this independence he meets new people and experience situations and encounters which give him lessons in enduring responsibilities and self-dependence  in managing his family affairs and provide needs and requirements. This their view is also concerned with the kind of self-independence which allow spouses to establish their family aims independently without interference or influence of traditions and concepts of the families they were brought up in. They are also away from problems that happen as a result of parents' and siblings' interference in their life. Advocates of this trend affirms that the shift from the family structure form the large to small scale does not necessarily mean a change in the roles of family or disruption of its functions. Of course these views and trends vary according to difference in environment and religion. For example in the west they consider independent housing as a legitimate right for every individual and family and as a kind of freedom they advocate. Family in modern western culture is based on contractual basis thus the concepts of family cohesion and sympathy diminished specially when a young man reaches sixteen when his family begins to abandon it social and economic role towards him. To be fair we should point out that the family system in the west does not entirely fall within this scheme. There are people who advocate the return of the legitimacy of family institution according to Christian values. This was pointed out by Laceltte Peter, an American social researcher, in his book " The world we lost ". Whereas in the oriental societies there are many families that are still committed to extended family system as result of their observance of their religious teachings such as Islam for the Arabs, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism in East Asia. There are historical and religious changes behind the spread and diminish of this phenomenon. The demographic divisions also have their impact in the increase of this phenomenon. In rural and remote areas people are still committed to their larger families and live within its principles and authority. This is coming down as we approach to cities and industrial areas. Even when taking the decision for independence is right, we should admit the conditions and reality of the world. We cannot deny the stage which humanity is going through including intermingling of different dissimilar environments which results in breaking the isolation that prevailed among peoples. This stage provided a great amount of advanced experiencer to achieve stability in communities. Today countries acknowledge that challenging difficulties and obstacles at an early age avails intellectual, professional and social maturity for individuals before they face the reality of such challenges at a later time. However this lead to payment of a social tax, i.e. breakdown of family. Social studies indicate that the world today is full of loneliness, aversion and self-independence. All these religious, cultural, economic and demographic changes make some people confused in taking his family decision to achieve individual and family independence. He cannot make balance between these factors. They either look scornfully and rebelliously upon their family traditions and customs or commit to them fanatically. The fact is that every issue has two extremes with a middle ground in between to achieve family and individual balance. We cannot offer such independence on a gold plate without controls, principles or values. One may lose balance if he takes the decision for independence without being armed in his childhood with values and ethics that protect him from falling in the gap of family fragmentation. Although the desire for independent housing is a human and psychological one which both the individual and family need to assert himself and his freedom and to establish his future aims, it is controlled by factors of the environment and culture he is brought up in. we have to realize that the real development in its essence is spiritual and social one rather than urban or material. This would make us exert more efforts towards development of our social ties and stability required.


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