Family life in Micronesian islands – Marianas Variety

IN the islands of Micronesia, the most common way of showing affection to children is by talking to them, providing them treats and allowing them to play with other kids.

A Palauan native, Francesca Wong Alfonso, said in her island nation, mothers spend time with their daughters doing household chores. Other islanders believe that taking part in church events can also strengthen family relationship.

In the Marshalls, society frowns upon the public display of affection, with the exception of babies who are showered with it, according to the findings of research conducted by Julie Walsh Koreker of Parents and Children Together at the University of Hawaii.

She said Marshallese children are still held and comforted, but as they age, physical displays of affection diminish.

“Much affection is expressed through gifts and storytelling. Marshallese society is oriented toward the oral. At night, grandparents traditionally tell bedtime stories (inon) to their grandchildren who rest in their arms. Sitting and storytelling are common pastimes and families bond through this. ‘Bwebwenato’ is the term used for stories, or ‘talk story,’ when people sit and laugh together. Marshallese play with their babies and children. And verbal interaction is the most common type of ‘play’ between adults and children. Children are expected to learn to behave appropriately in an adult world, or to interact with other children.”

A new study by the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences describes how interaction with natural environments can reduce mental fatigue and restore attention on the part of an individual, and how it can also work for families and result in more positive family interactions and cohesion.

University of Illinois family study researchers Dina Izenstark and Aaron Ebata tested this theory by looking at sets of moms and daughters who were asked to take a walk together in nature and in a mall.

The researchers tested the mothers and daughters’ attention and their family interactions after each walk. After analyzing the videotaped interactions, the researchers found that after taking a nature walk, moms and daughters displayed greater cohesion, a sense of unity, closeness, and the ability to get along — compared to moms and daughters who walked in a mall.

Researchers hope this finding will encourage families to find ways to spend time outside together. For example, taking 20-minute walks around the neighborhood before or after eating dinner or finding other pockets of time when they can reconnect.

Source: Google News :

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