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Caribbean Family Structures
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Caribbean Family Structures

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Three main family structures in the Caribbean

Three main family structures in the Caribbean

Published in: Self Improvement, Education

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

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