Family & Relationships

The basis of the family is a mother, a father, and a child. People have close or distant relatives. There is a grandfather, a grandmother, in-laws, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, uncles, aunts, cousins, a niece, a nephew, godparents – a godfather, a godmother, godchild, stepmother – your father´s new wife = not your mother, stepbrother, etc. 

Family structures

  • The nuclear family/ immediate family is very close: mother, father, siblings: brothers and sisters. They live together in one home and share specific goals and values. Many people get divorced, and later they remarry. Therefore many children live with step-parents and have half-brothers or half- sisters or stepbrothers and stepsisters. 
  • The extended family is a nuclear family together with grandparents.
  • Single – parent family consists of a single person and a dependent child. We usually call it „a broken family. “
  • Foster parents/families – orphans and abandoned children grow up in orphanages and foster homes.

Functions of the family

  • provide children food and education 
  • develop their emotions, talent, and knowledge
  • provide them social stability and protection
  • bring them up
  • teach them real moral values e.g.:

How to behave: 

  • to greet people, to be friendly and polite, care about others
  • to differentiate between right and wrong
  • to communicate, to keep secrets,
  • to solve problems in life, become independent
  • to work honestly

A good family relationship means that parents and children get on well. They don’t argue much and can discuss problems. Parents are tolerant, and children respect them. A good and strong relationship is very important for everyone.  A true/real family has a lot in common.

Family members:

  • share the same values
  • support and help each other
  • spend a lot of time together
  • laugh together
  • speak about everything
  • keep secrets
  • accept each other
  • respect each other
  • share happiness, memories, and sad moments too
  • are people who are always there for you

“A friend in need is a friend indeed“– this saying shows the full value of friendship.

„ In time of test, family is best. “ – a proverb

Duties and responsibilities

All members have specific social roles with various duties and responsibilities.
Everyone in our family has their daily or weekly tasks or duties.

We:

  • make the beds          
  • do the ironing                         
  • make breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • do the washing–up      
  • do the washing                     
  • water houseplants 
  • do the shopping            
  • do the hoovering/vacuuming           
  • empty the rubbish bin
  • mop the floor           
  • to sweep the floor with a broom    
  • dry the dishes 
  • set the table             
  • clean the windows                         
  • tidy up my room 
  • dust the furniture                                                  
  • fold laundry after washing

Generation gap

There is a generation gap in our families because older and young people don’t understand each other. It is the difference in opinions between parents and their children of everyday life. The most common conflicts between generations are:

  • way of dressing
  • hairstyle
  • behaviour
  • smoking and drinking alcohol
  • going out too often
  • coming home late
  • school results
  • housework
  • spending a lot of money
  • different opinions

Causes of divorce

Unfortunately, there are many divorced couples in our society. The most common causes of divorce are:

  • addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling
  • lack of money
  • lack of trust
  • more generations under one roof
  • immaturity of parents
  • different opinions on bringing up children
  • intolerance, not knowing each other
  • unemployment

Important family celebrations and anniversaries

Families get together for various occasions and anniversaries such as:

  • birthday parties
  • names day party
  • anniversaries
  • passing an exam
  • graduation
  • retirement party
  • holidays (Christmas, Easter)
  • religious celebrations (All Saints Day, weddings, christening/baptism, confirmation, first communion, funerals, etc. 

Birth – before a baby is born, its mother is pregnant /expecting a baby/. Then she gives birth in hospital. Parents give a name to the child and baptise their baby in church –christening.

Wedding – at a wedding, two people who are getting married are the bride and the groom. The bride has the bridesmaids, and the groom has his best man.
A few days before the wedding ceremony, the husband-to-be gives a party for his male friends. It is called a stag party /a stag night. The wife-to-be provides a party for her female friends, called a hen party / hen night.
A wedding ceremony is a formal act that can be religious – in a church. It is a church wedding/white wedding with a priest. It can also be a civil wedding – in the town hall at a registry office with the mayor. The engaged couple exchanges their wedding rings and promises to live together in good and bad times. After the wedding, friends and relatives are invited to a wedding reception with a layered wedding cake. Then the newlyweds go on honeymoon. 

Death – when someone dies, the body is put into a coffin. At the funeral, the body may be cremated or buried in a cemetery/graveyard. The grave is marked with a gravestone. The widow or the widower, together with close relatives, are mourning for their beloved, who R.I.P. 

Marital status: single, engaged, married, divorced, widowed

Family in the past and now

  • In the past, mother was at home. Parents had many children and enough time. Father earned money to support the family = breadwinner.
  • Now – mother works too. Women are emancipated. Parents often have an only child. 

Family life in English speaking countries

People in English-speaking countries usually have only one or two children. Mothers take care of their children or employ an au-pair from abroad who helps in the household, plays with children, or takes them to or from a school. There are many au-pairs in these countries because they want to earn some money and improve their language skills. Parents lead their kids to independence, and after they get to university, they leave home and begin their own life. 

Family life in Slovakia

A typical family has two or three children but to have four or five children isn’t unusual. Mothers usually stay on maternity leave until their children turn 3. The children are often very dependent on their parents. When young people go to university, parents support them financially. Young Slovak couples usually prefer living near their parents. It is common for three generations to live together in one house or the same town. They often have a perfect and strong relationship.

Questions:

  1. How would you define the word „family“ ?
  2. What does family mean for you?
  3. What makes a happy functional family?
  4. When do you, as a family, meet up?
  5. What are the main reasons for divorce?
  6. Introduce your nuclear family and describe your family relationship.
  7. What are the main functions of a family?
  8. Which household chores/ domestic chores can you name?
  9. What happens after a man and a woman decide to get married?
  10. Explain the proverb „ In time of test, family is best.“
  11. Choose a member of your family and describe him/her. (A Role Model)
  12. Talk about differences between typical Slovak and English-speaking families.
  13. Do you keep any family holidays? Describe one family celebration

Vocabulary

Family members/relatives
grandparents
Family status/arrangements
twins
Family celebrations and gathering
baptism
Wedding

primátor / starosta

mať / ísť na medové týždne

pánska jazda / rozlúčka so slobodou

dámska jazda / rozlúčka so slobodou

wedding
Birth
to be pregnant
Funeral
grave
Friends and acquaintances
best friends
Duties and responsibilities
walk the dog

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