Do you come from a large or a small family?
I come from a small family because my parents are divorced and I grew up as an only child.
Who do you live together with? What is your relationship with them like?
I live with my mum. She is a librarian in a school. I don’t get on very well with her, we often quarrel about unimportant things. She is caring but not very tolerant.
Are you in close contact with those members of your immediate family who don’t live with you?
I haven’t a close contact with them, for example with my father and grandmother. Occasionally I have lunch with them.
How important to you is your extended family?
I don’t have very strong family ties and I am not in close contact with many of my relatives. I haven’t seen some of my cousins for ages. At times I bump into (összeakad) them in the street and then we talk about what has happened to us since we last meet.
What is your picture of an ideal husband and father like?
An ideal husband should feel responsible for his wife and dependants (eltartottak). He should be clever and active as well as practical in his knowledge of affairs and money. He should be good with his hands and should have a good head for business. At the same time he should be tall, strong, handsome and brave.
Is the mother’s place in the home?
No, I don’t think so. If woman were involved (lefoglalja vmi) only in domestic affairs (házi teendők), it would mean their leading separate lives from their husbands. But when they too have a job, they have more to share (megoszt) with their husbands in other ways and can expect (elvár) help from them in the home and with the children. You can’t deprive (megfoszt) a woman of her right to earn her own living, find pleasure in her work and keep in touch (kapcsolatot tart) with real life.
Should housewives be paid in the same way as other people are?
There is no way (nincs rá mód) you could pay a housewife now. She is doing about 10 jobs. Families should have a woman (bejárónője van) in for some hours every day to do the housework.
How many jobs are women responsible for?
If a woman goes out to work (eljár dolgozni), she is responsible for at least three jobs. Some women hold high positions (magas beosztása van) and are good mothers and housewives at the same time.
Can a woman fulfil (teljesít) the duty (kötelesség) of a wife, a mother and a career woman?
It all depends on the husband’s attitude (viselkedés). If he shares the responsibility of bringing up a child and caring for (törődik vele) the family with his wife, which should ideally happen in every family, women will be less exhausted and more efficient both at work and at home.
Who wears the trousers in your family?
My mother does as my parents are divorced so decisions are always made by her.
What jobs are typically the husband’s responsibility?
Men are usually good at decorating the flat and repairing household devices (háztartási eszközök). A handyman (ezermester) can fix a dripping (csöpögő) tap, replace a burnt-out light bulb, stick on wallpaper, repair a leaking waterpipe (folyó vízvezeték).
Who can stay at home on child care leave?
According to an act passed some years ago, it is either the mother or the father who can stay at home with the new-born baby. In practise, however, it is still the mother who goes on maternity leave (születési szabadság) for one, two or sometimes three years.
Is it worth staying at home until the child is three years old?
Yes. Definitely. The first few years of a child’s life are crucially (létfontosságúan) important. This is the time creating contact between parent and child. There can’t be anything more important for a mother than attending to (gondoz) a child during the first few years of its life.
On what occasions do the member of the wider family meet?
The members of the wider family only meet at weddings, funerals and on christmas.
How does a couple get married in Hungary?
People can get married either in a church or in a registry office. In the latter (utóbbi) case there must be two witnesses. Most people however, prefer to have a church wedding too, with the bride in white attended (kísér) by her bridesmaid and the bridegroom in black attended by his best men. After the wedding ceremony there is a large reception (fogadás) where an enormous meal is eaten, the wedding cake is cut and toasts are drunk in whisky or sherry. The guests are dressed in their best clothes and dance to accordion (harmonika) music. Old traditions such as dancing with the bride at midnight and the bride leaving to change clothes after the dance are still kept at most wedding parties.
What is the greatest family festival for you?
I think in this part of the world Christmas is the greatest family festival for everybody. It is very solemnly (komolyan) celebrated with ancient customs and traditions.
What is you relationship like with your parents?
I am very fond of my mum, but I don’t always get on very well with her. She try to control me too much and quite often she treat me like 3-year-old child. My friends are given much more freedom while I am always told what is right and what is wrong. They expect me to regard (tekint) them as friends but at the same time they just give instructions and hardly ever ask me about my feelings. In fact I would never admit (megenged) them least of all to my parents.
Are parents too permissive (engedékeny) to their children nowadays?
No, I don’t think so. I suppose there are more strict parents than permissive ones. They know that being permissive often does more harm than good. On the other hand, There are quite a few parents who try to protect their children from the pitfalls (csapda) of life, which is just natural.
Should children have pocket money?
Yes. Why not let them learn how to manage a certain amount of money and how to spin it out (elhúz) for a week or a month. The amount should not be too much.
What is your attitude to corporal punishment?
Corporal punishment is ineffective as beating can hardly make an unmanageable (kezelhetetlen) child obey his elders. It only frightens the child and makes both the child and the parent feel unhappy. It also degrading (megalázó) for it appeals (fordul) to cruelty. It ruins the child’s self-respect and does more harm than good.
How would you behave if you found your child had gone out of control?
Dealing with a naughty child is no easy matter. The only wise (bölcs) attitude the parents adopt towards (alkalmaz) their children’s behaviour is to sit down with them about their problems and explain to them what is right and what is wrong.
Would you give your children everything they want?
It’s only natural for parents to try to do so. Children, however, must realise that money is earned by hard work. So parents should try and convince them not to want everything that money can buy.
What are the most important things about educating a child?
It’s very important to direct a child’s energy into the right channels. A child often has more energy than he knows what to do with. Later, youngsters should be taught respect for other people and the respect for the law. They should also be taught patriotism (hazafiasság) and the need for hard work. They must know what is morally right or wrong.
Do you think schools are able to meet these requirements?
Schools are obsessed (megszállott) with training the child rather than giving him an overall (általános) moral education. Many youngsters are reaching maturity without learning the hard lessons of life. Parents are inclide to (hajlamos) leave the child’s education up to the school, which it fails to do properly (megfelelően) owing to (vmi miatt) many different factors. Some of these are high pupil-teacher ratios, lack of time, negligence (hanyagság) of teacher…etc.
Are children overburdened (túlterhelt) at school?
Yes, in most secondary schools in Hungary students have to cope with an enormous workload. Teachers force them to do a lot of homework and take oral tests in class, which puts a unrelenting (szüntelen) pressure on them. Student are required to make an even more intense effort (erőkifejtés) in the third and fourth years of grammar school so they can get admission to university.
Have you or your friends ever had any experience of the generation gap?
Yes, I suppose everybody has. The generation gap is by no means a modern phenomenon (jelenség). The young have always reacted against the accepted beliefs of their elders. I mostly had a difference of opinion with my mother. I am very critical of my mum and the world around me but never of myself. To tell the truth I don’t know why my mother is against me going steady (jár vkivel) with a boy at the age of 16. I think is just natural.
What are some of the problems teenagers have?
By the time they are 16 they almost certainly experienced some disillusionment (csalódás) with the adult society, being very much sensitive to social injustice (igazságtalanság). They would like to unrestricted freedom at the moment and would like to be told what to do next. They feel that their parents don’t understand them, which leads them to ignore (semmibe vesz) parental counsel (tanács). That’s why they often feel frustrated about their own affairs. Teenagers need extra attention voth from parents and teachers otherwise they may easily turn to drugs or violence.
How would you get your children study?
You can always cajole (levesz a lábáról) a child into studying. I would just tell him that he’ll get a bike if he studies hard and this always does the trick.
What are the job and career prospects (lehetőség) for young people today?
Not very promising. There are far fewer jobs than even before and the unemployment rate is rising. It is difficult to youngsters to join in this rat race where efficiency (hatékonyság) has priority over human values.
Can you explain why many school leavers with good resulta cannot enter universities?
Unfortunately there are fewer university places in Hungary than are needed. At certain universities there are 3 or 4 applicants (jelentkező) for every place while admission to (felvétel) others is quite easy to get. Understandably there is a lot of competition at the entrance exams and sometimes even the best students fail to stand the strain (erőfeszítés) and give up.
How much freedom should children have in the choice of their careers?
Parents should have a say but the final decision should be left up to the child. After all it is his life. He should know what he wants to do with.
Should parents still support their children once they have grown up?
Yes, I think so. Otherwise they would not be able to set up their own homes and raise 2 or 3 children. Only with the help of a grandmother or a grandfather can a mother go out to work .
What are the effects of television on family life?
I accept that television is part of modern life but it can do a lot of harm if it is not used selectively. Fortunately I and my mum rarely watch tv so it’s not a problem for us and we can talk to each other in the evenings.
Do you think family life is different today from what it was like 30-50 years ago?
Yes. I think people lived in a happy family and had lots of friends. Now there are fewer opportunities for enjoying the company of other people because everybody is busy and they don’t have time for each other. People used to know all of their neighbours but now people are isolated from each other and, what is even worse, from the members of their own family. Also families used to be much larger. My grandmother was one of 5 children. Very few people nowadays care to have such large families.
Are you against or in favour of large families? Why?
It would be nice to have a large family and a lot of children but i am afraid I couldn’t afford it. I think I would be too busy because of my job and it’s possible that financial things would be problems too.
Generációk kapcsolata, együttélése
Can you imagine having 3 or 4 generations living under the same roof?
In today’s world it is almost unimaginable to have 3 or even 4 generations living under the same roof in Hungary. A century ago it was normal to do so but not anymore. Today the gap between the generations is so wide that it would be unbearable (tűrhetetlen) to live together. I cannot imagine living together with my grandparents. I think everybody needs some privacy and it cannot be achieved if the older ones always think that they know everything better. Obviously, they are more experienced but everyone should have the possibility to live through whatever they need to go through. The elderly are always full of advice; they consider themselves the wisest of all. They don’t want to admit that the world has changed, and there are different problems to tackle (megold) nowadays. They tend to live in the past and look at the world from an other angle.
Do you think a prenuptial agreement should be signed between a man and woman?
In my opinion, a prenuptial agreement ruins (lerombol) the romance of a marriage. It shows that the groom and the bride don’t trust each other and think about what if something goes wrong. I think marriage is sacred (szent). It’s when two people agree to live together in good and bad no matter what will happen.
What is your opinion about pre-arranged marriages?
Pre-arranged marriages are very popular in some other cultures, for example in India. It’s when the parents of the couple agree on the marriage of their children. I don’t think that I would be able to live with someone who is not chosen by me. I believe it’s very important to get to know and cohabit (együtt él) with the person you want to establish a family with. The period of courtship (udvarlás) before one gets married is vital (alapvető). That is the time when you get familiar with your girl or boyfriend. You have time to decide whether she/he is the person you can imagine your whole life with. In a pre-arranged marriage, you have no chance to decide about it and it can also happen that a very young girl is given to an elderly man, which would probably not happen under normal circumstances.
Is cohabiting before marriage important?
I firmly believe that people should not get married without living together for at least a year. This is the only way you can get familiar with your spouse’s habits, let them be good or bad. It can be quite shocking to realise after the honeymoon that your husband snores and his feet smell, or your wife cannot even prepare the most basic dish for you. I think that cohabitation reduces the risks of a bad marriage and this way the number of divorces will also decrease.
What can be the pros and cons of getting married at an early age?
I believe that getting married early is not very fashionable nowadays. Young people want to go on to higher education instead of starting a family. They think that they should enjoy life until they can and it is enough to find a future husband or wife at the age of 30.
The advantage of an early marriage is that the generation gap between the parents and the children would be not so large.
However, most early marriages ends in divorce. In most cases, these people are not mature enough to bring up children and to provide them with the necessary financial background. It is very difficult to make ends meet (kijön a fizetéséből) without the support of the whole family.
What do you know of polygamy and polyandry?
In order to make judgements (ítélet) about polygamy (többnejűség) and polyandry (többférjűség), we have to have a clear picture about what the two words derive from (ered). Polygamy is a form of marriage in which a man has more than one wife at the same time. It has been widely practised at various times in many societies throughout the world, and it is still common (gyakori) in Muslim countries and in some parts of Africa where it is legal under Islamic law. In the United States it is also common in some Mormon communities in Utah. Although laws prohibit (megtilt) polygamy, thousands of people practise it. It can have several advantages and disadvantages. As far as the husband is concerned (érdekelt), polygamy is an attractive form of marriage for several reasons: it means greate economic contributions (hozzájárulás) from the wives to the household income; it provides increased sexual availability and companionship; and it attracts greater social status and prestige to be able to afford to look after more than one wife. Polygamy may also prove (bizonyul) attractive to women because it provides a role for women in societies in which there is no accepted social role ascribed (tulajdonít) to unmarried women; and it means shared child-rearing (gyereknevelés) and domestic labour (házimunka).
Can you imagine having more spouses?
I don’t think I could live with more than one spouse at the same time. However, a lot of people have partners or mistresses (szerető) who they cheat on their spouse with. Unfortunately, adultery (házasságtörés) is a very common issue in our world. People might think that it is normal as they see it on television all the time. Being faithful does not mean too much for young people. All they want is sexual satisfaction and not a normal relationship.
What is the ideal age to start a family?
I don’t think that there is an ideal age to start a family. It depends on the person, his/her maturity and way of thinking. Nowadays, as more and more people go to university, an ideal period can be after graduating from higher education. There are, however, plenty of issues to consider (fontolóra vesz) when founding a family: Are you ready for a serious relationship or do you want to enjoy life a little more? Most people would say that enjoying life a bit is a good choice. They believe that having a child is a burden (teher) on them. Also, whether you are ready to support a family or not is the most important question to answer. If you don’t have a good, well-paid job, it is almost impossible for one person to earn the money for the whole family. Another issue is the age difference between the husband and the wife. Today it is a trend among young women to choose a man who has already achieved something in life. They need someone they can rely on, someone who would be faithful and a caring husband.
What was the situation a hundred years ago?
Even in the middle of the twentieth century, most people got married right after high school. Young couples struggled (igyekezett) together to make end meet and to bring up their children. It was considered abnormal if a girl who was over 20 was still single. Women wanted to avoid remaining spinsters (hajadon) and they thought it was a shame if no one choose them. Another important factor was the social status of the young. It was obvious (nyilvánvaló) that two people from different levels of society do not match each other. It was quite rare for people with different backgrounds to get married. If it happened, there were usually family feuds (családi viszály), young men were sometimes disinherited (kitagadták) by their fathers if they dared (merészelt) to marry someone inferior (alsóbbrendű) to their ranks (rang).
Why do people get divorced?
There are several reasons why people get divorced. Most people don’t know each other at the time of their marriage. It is vital that young couples cohabit before getting married. That is the only way you get to know your partner. If people live together, all the bad habits might come up and then you can decide whether you still want to be bound (összekötött) to the same person or not.
What is the reason for the high number of divorces nowadays?
In my opinion there can be several reasons for the high number of divorces. These can be infidelity (hűtlenség), infertility (terméketlenség), criminality or insanity (elmezavar). To me it is shocking that the number of divorces is much higher in in the developed than in the undeveloped countries. When a couple get divorced, it is still not the end of their relationship. For some of them it is the beginning. The beginning of a very unpleasant relationship.
Are divorced parents judged fairly in Hungary?
Divorced parents are not judged in the same way. It is usually that the mother who gets the chance to bring up their children. For some reason the Hungarian legal system regards mothers better caregivers than fathers.
What problems can come up after a divorce?
I think that during a divorce it is very difficult to come to an agreement considering common property. It sometimes takes years until a final agreement is settled. By the time both the man and the woman have spent an enormous amount of money to pay the divorce lawyers.
What do you think a child experiences when the parents get divorced?
In my opinion it is the children who lose the most in a divorce. They cannot be split (feloszt) and it is usually not them who decide which parent will have the right to continue the upbringing. If the child is a baby, she/he cannot understand what is happening around him/her. When children are adolescents the divorce of the parents can damage their soul really badly. I think that a big problem is that the parents very often don’t see how much their children suffer and just use them for their selfish games.
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