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Caribbean Families

Extended Family

The role of extended family is significant in Caribbean families. For many, family does not mean only the nuclear family, but includes aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. Childcare is often provided by extended family when parents work or are away from home, and they sometimes assume as much responsibility for raising the children as the parents. Families also get considerable support and assistance from their relatives. In the case where adult children live away from their parents, it is not unusual for parents to visit them for extended periods of time. Often siblings may also visit for long periods. Relatives also help each other financially.

Extended family may not only include biological relatives, but other adults in the community. Rita Dudley-Grant (2001) cites the case of a single, elderly grandmother who might take care of seven to ten children. She commands respect from the children, not necessarily by her discipline of the children, but by the cultural value that children should respect older adults, even calling her "granny." In the Caribbean, community involvement plays a major role in childrearing.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsCaribbean Families - Family Structure, Extended Family, Mate Selection And Marriage, Role Of Religion, Parent-child Relationships