Q:

What are the structural characteristics of the Filipino family?

A:

The typical Filipino family consists of a husband, wife and children, extending to include grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. This circle is often enlarged with the selection of a child's godparents.

Filipino families are close and form the foundation of Philippine society. Devotion to kin is primary, and members assist each other when necessary. In rural areas, extended family members live together in a cluster of households known as a sitio. In such a close-knit structure, there is no need for orphanages and retirement homes. It isn't uncommon to see several generations living in the same house. Members sponsor each other in seeking employment, and several members of a family may work at a single company. Filipinos believe the entire family is shamed if a member fails to meet an expected social standard or obligation.

Filipino men and women are generally equal in social status, and there is a bilateral kinship system. Family names may be inherited through both the father's and the mother's line. A daughter's right to property and inheritance is equal to that of a son. In the home, women typically oversee the household finances and serve as caretakers for the children. However, women also educate themselves and assume vital roles in areas of government and business.

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