Latin American Family Values

Topics: Family, Latin American culture, Latin America Pages: 6 (2071 words) Published: August 19, 2013
Latin American Family Values

Latin Americans seem to value the family above everything else. In fact, many spend all their lives just trying to improve the situation for their families. From experience, when speaking with a Latin American, the majority of the time they will say that their family is what brings them the most joy or what they are most proud of. Not only do Latin Americans work to care for their families but they also work to keep their families united. They pride themselves on maintaining family values of love, affection, hard work, and respect. These values have not only shaped how families live but also shape other aspects of their culture such as meals, government policies and pop culture. Traditionally, the latin American family is a close-knit group that usually goes beyond just the parents and children. Many times aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents all live under the same roof. In most families, the father is usually at the head of the household, and the mother is responsible for taking care of the home. Individuals within a family have a moral responsibility to aid other members of the family that have financial problems, unemployed, are sick, or have other issues. In Latino families, the family needs usually override individual needs. In fact, this is true to the extent that “An individual’s self-confidence, worth, security, and identity are determined by his relationship to other family members” (Ho, 1987, p. 124). This sense of belonging and care creates family ties that are very strong. They often gather together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, baptisms, weddings, and every other special occasions. These activities usually include a lot of food, music, and enjoying the company. Another important aspect of the Latino family is their desire to instill in their children principles of love, affection, hard work, and respect. This can be seen in how the parents care and teach their children. An important cultural action is to give kiss every time someone enters and leaves a room. This instills a closeness and love within the family unit. Also they spend a lot of time together , helping each other which shows a love and affection. The father and sometimes the mother even are out all day working. Sometimes the days are long but the father is working to provide for his children. This promotes the value of hard work. The father is teaching by example. Even when it comes to school work the parents sit down with the children to help them finish their tareas. Very rarely have I seen parents sit down with their kids and do every single problem together, but in South America this was a common practice for parents. Lastly, children are taught to respect and honor the elderly. They are taught to have good manners and respect for authority. Although like any family sometimes all of this is not always achieved but this is the end goal. Now these are the family values that exist but why are they that way? Why do they seem to be different from the values found in other parts of the world? A big part of the reason lies in the catholic church. The majority of latin families come from a catholic heritage. The catholic church has strong beliefs concerning the family. One of the main beliefs is that family should consist of a husband and wife. They also believe that every child is important and special. Not only are they a blessing to the family but to the community as a whole. I think this belief is where the four traditional values of love, affection, hard work, and respect come into play. Although not all families still follow a lot of the Catholic traditions those family values have remained. These family values not only have had an effect in cultural practices such as festivals, but they also affect the government and different legislation that has been passed. Naturally a country and its inhabitants would pass legislation that they believe in and the family has a huge role in society and everyday...
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