The fading charm of traditional Ukrainian values
From birth until death, human life is usually associated with the family. We are getting our personal fulfillment in the everyday family life. The family has such important functions in human life like protection, care, as well as social and psychological defense. The atmosphere of the family is important to each of us.
Modern Ukrainian family and its functions are characterized by contradictory trends that affect the changes and development of relations in the society as a whole. What is it today, the “cell” of the Ukrainian society? What is the modern view of Ukrainian society on traditional family values?
Over the past decade, the word “family” finally lost its original meaning in the Ukrainian society. Since the early 60’s, the average Ukrainian family consisted of four members, namely: father, mother and two children. In the 90’s, the Ukrainian family started to steadily fall. The average number of births per 1,000 inhabitants decreased from 13.3 in 1989 to 8.3 in 1998. And although in the last two or three years the birth rate has increased slightly, Ukraine is still called as “a country of one-child families.” Statistics of recent years presents that the number of marriages decreased and the number of divorces, on the contrary, increases. In 1990, the number of Ukrainian marriages per 1000 inhabitants was 9.3, in 1998 – 6.2% (i.e. 36.5% less), and divorce, respectively – 3.7 and 4.2%.
Delaying marriage and childbearing distorts the traditional model of the Ukrainian family. In particular, the new fact for the Ukrainian culture is that some Ukrainian women prefer to give birth before they marry. Modern women in Ukraine often postpone having the first child before her thirtieth birthday because they live according to the rule: “first education and career and then children.”
Economic difficulties and uncertainty about the future are one of the main reasons for the spread of non-traditional Ukrainian marriage and family relations. Unfortunately, most young Ukrainian couples today are completely unprepared for marriage, not only in financial terms.
Having lost Ukrainian traditional values, the future Ukrainian couple is trying to copy the American way of life with its pragmatic constraints and complete financial independence of its members. It is difficult to say how a classic Ukrainian family will change in future. But while the traditional type of Ukrainian family is no longer valid, the new rules of “modern values” have not yet emerged. Today, many modern Ukrainian women do not imagine their life as a wife and a good mother. They see themselves as a beautiful woman created for luxury. They dream of a successful career. Originally natural functions of women have erased.
I hope much that the eternal family values such as “harmony”, “love”, “happiness”, “mother”, “father”, “child”, “husband”, and “wife” remain in the Ukrainian culture. Obviously, many modern Ukrainian girls have a deep emotional trauma resulting from childhood in dysfunctional families. However, despite the fact that the Ukrainian society has become more rigid and the approach to the family has become more pragmatic (many Ukrainian women do not believe in family happiness if they are not sure about your financial future), feelings have become more valued. Family is still very important to most Ukrainians.
Case study “Young Families of Ukraine“ holding by the Ukrainian Institute of Social Research shows that a “good family” is the most important thing in the scale of human values for the majority of young Ukrainian families (89.8% of respondents). Moreover, young married couples call the values of health, children, love, financial security, sexual harmony, and confidence which are important to them. Thus, we can suggest that love, personal happiness and emotional comfort seem to be the dominant values in the modern Ukrainian family.
The only question is how long these values will stay relevant in our society?
Questions? Feel free to ask Krystyna, your Ukrainian dating expert 🙂 (s. here: Contact Krystyna)