Caribbean Family Structures

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Three main family structures in the Caribbean

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Caribbean Family Structures

  1. 1. Family Structures in the Caribbean
  2. 2. African-Caribbean Families <ul><li>Approximately 80 to 90 percent of families in the Caribbean are from an African background (greatest effect on culture) </li></ul><ul><li>Absent fathers </li></ul><ul><li>Grandmother-dominated households </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage and Divorce </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Child-shifting, where children are sent to live with relatives because the parents have migrated or have started a family with another spouse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four kinds of relationships within family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>marital union </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>common-law union (the parents live together, but are not legally married) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>visiting union (the mother still lives in the parents' home) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the single parent family (mother raises children alone) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Chinese-Caribbean Families <ul><li>Try to keep much of the traditions and customs of China </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Especially try to preserve their language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They often identify with the areas in China from which they came, and keep close associations with people from areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide education for all their children, but sons are still favored </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Family problems usually kept private and only talked about within the family/household. Not a lot of emotional expression, public demonstrations of love are rare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese families appear more stable. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stay true to Chinese family structure and tradition of rather introverted family life </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese families will sometimes migrate to areas where other Chinese families are, isolated from others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Family traditions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many families may change religions, they still practice Buddhist traditions like lighting incense and, sometimes, keep Buddhist shrines in the home. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many use/trust herbal medicine as opposed to modern. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are still often perceived by many as higher class families because of their lighter skin color </li></ul>
  4. 4. Indian-Caribbean Families <ul><li>Roles of Family Members </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Father – head of family, authority figure, provider. Final disiplianarian and decisionmaker. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mother – caretaker, household chores. Major role of women is to get married and contribute to the family. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Women are seen as inferior to men (traditional Hindu perspective) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children - bring honor to their families through achievements and good behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Valued traits in chilren - conformity, generational interdependence, obligation, and shame </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Children are seen as products of their parents hard work. One of the primary goals of marriage in Hindu families is to have children. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Children must take care of their parents when they grow old (traditional Indian way) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Girls groomed for marriage from childhood </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Several generations live in same house </li></ul><ul><li>Role of women starting to improve </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More women are going to high school and universities, and hold prestigious jobs </li></ul></ul>

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