4 minute read

Mexico

Mexican Family Historic Sociocultural Premises

The norms that regulate the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors within the Mexican culture, as well as the formation of national character, have been deeply researched and described by Rogelio Díaz Guerrero (1986). His analyses suggest that inter-personal behavior is directed and determined, in part, by the extent to which each subject addresses and believes the cultural dictates. To assess the adherence to the Mexican sociocultural norms, Díaz Guerrero (1982) extracted the historic-sociocultural premises from sayings, proverbs, and other forms of popular communication. Content analysis showed that these proverbs depicted the central position that family plays within this culture. Two basic propositions describe the Mexican family: (a) the power and supremacy of the father, and (b) the love and absolute and necessary sacrifice of the mother. More than 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that these premises were correct and guided their life. Analyses of the responses to the statements yielded a central traditionalism factor called affiliative obedience versus active self-affirmation, stressing that "children and people in general should always obey their parents," and that "everyone should love their mother and respect their father," which means children should never disobey parents and should show respect in exchange for security and love from them. From this point of view, Mexico is built on a strict hierarchical structure, where respect for a person reflects the power offered to people with higher social status. In contrast, in the United States, respect was found to be what a person who is on equal terms deserves (Díaz Guerrero and Peck 1963).

The changes related to gender in contemporary Mexican families and the sense of traditionalism are both evident in the machismo versus virginity-abnegation factor, which refers to the degree of agreement with statements such as "men are more intelligent than women," "docile women are better," "the father should always be the head of the home," and "women should remain virgins until marriage." This attitude of abnegation reflected that both men and women believed that it was important to first satisfy the needs of others and then of themselves. That is, self-modification is preferred over self-affirmation as a coping style in relationships.

Finally, the importance of family status quo and cultural rigidity in relation to the roles played by men and women in the family appears in such proverbs as "women always have to be faithful to their husbands," "most girls would prefer to be like their mothers," "women should always be protected," "married women should be faithful to the relationship," "young women should not be out alone at night," and "when parents are strict, children grow up correctly."

Factors that form the sociocultural premises of the Mexican family include not only the rules and norms that specify the relationship patterns, but also the expectations and stereotypes formed by people outside the group. Premises and stereo-types are tendencies in particular groups; they give a general idea of the character of a group, but there are also individual differences. Not all Mexicans defend and live by the sociocultural premises; some rebel against the traditional culture. Mexican students expressed countercultural beliefs when they called for liberty and equality in a culture based on interdependence and respect.


Bibliography

Beltrán, U.; Castaños, F.; Flores, J.; and Meyenberg, Y. (1994). Los Mexicanos de los noventa: Una encuesta de actitudes y valores. Parte I, México (mimeograph).

Bermúdez, Ma. E. (1955). La Vida Familiar del Mexicano. México: Antigua Librería Robredo.

Consejo Nacional de Población (1995). Informe preliminar. México.

Díaz Guerrero, R. (1982). "The Psychology of the Historic- Sociocultural Premises." Spanish Language Psychology 2:383–410.

Díaz Guerrero, R. (1986). "Historio-sociocultura y person-alidad. Definición y características de los factores en la familia mexicana." Revista de psicología social y personalidad 2(1):15-42.

Díaz Guerrero, R. (1994). La psicología del mexicano: Descubrimiento de la etnopsicología. México, D.F.: Trillas.

Díaz Guerrero, R., and Peck, R. F. (1963). Respeto y posición social en dos culturas. Proceedings of the VII Inter-American Psychology Congress, Mexico City.

Espinoza Gómez, M. M. (2000). "Exploración de los problemas familiares." La psicología social en México 8:217–224.

González Gamio, M. de los A. (1997). "Aspectos históricos de la familia en la ciudad de México." In La familia en la ciudad de México: Presente, pasado y devenir, ed. L. Solís Pantón. México, D.F.: Miguel Ángel Porrúa.

González Pineda, F. (1970). El Mexicano: Psicologia de su destructividad. México, D.F.: Pax México.

Lafarga, J. (1975). "Religiosidad y familia." In La familia: medio propiciador o inhibidor del desarrollo humano, ed. E. Dulanto Gutiérrez. México, D.F.: Ediciones Médicas del Hospital Infantil de México.

Leñero Otero, L. (1982). "Familia, sociedad, y cultura." In El niño y la familia, ed. F. Nava Saavedra. Compendio del XI Congreso Mundial de la Federación Internacional para la Educación de los Padres organizado por la Asociación Científica de Profesionales para el Estudio Integral del Niño, A. C. México.

Molina, S. (1994). "La historia de la familia como novela". In Estampas de la familia Mexicana, ed. Ma. L. Sabau García and Ana Jovane. México, D.F: Impresora Formal, S. A. de C. V.

Ramos, S. (1951). El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México. Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe.

Sabau García, M. L., and Jovane, A. (1994). Estampas de la familia Mexicana. México: Impresora Formal, S. A. de C. V.

Salles, V., and Tuirán, R. (1997). "Mitos y creencias sobre la vida familiar." In La familia en la ciudad de México: Presente, pasado, y devenir, ed. L. Solis Panton. México, D.F.: Miguel Ángel Porrúa.


Other Resources

Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI) (1998, 1999, 2000). Censo Nacional de Población. Available from http://www.inegi.gob.mx.


ROZZANA SÁNCHEZ-ARAGÓN

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsMexico - History Of The Mexican Family, The Contemporary Family, Stereotypes And Myths About The Mexican Family