Functions of Italian Families

Family is a very crucial aspect in the lives of Italians. In addition to providing emotional and economic support, it forms the basis of their social circles. Over the years, the size of Italian families in terms of the number of children per family has continuously reduced. The constant reduction in the size of families can be attributed to declining fertility rates in the country. Despite maintaining closer family relationships ties, the changing economic times of the 21st century have significantly affected the time spent by Italian family members together. 

Different members of a family perform distinct roles.

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In a family, the oldest couple is the most authoritative member in a family setting and thus has to approve of all decisions made by any members. The couple decides what is considered suitable for the family, makes rules of the house, and enforce the laws. The second couple in the family, often a son and a daughter-in-law of the oldest couple, fall second in the chain of responsibilities and power.  They ensure that other family members adhere to everyday activities. They oversee the education of the children while taking care of the oldest couple regardless of whether they live in the same household.

Children of the second couple come third in the hierarchy but have limited power in the household. They are assigned tasks to perform within the family, which include running errands, especially for families in rural areas.  Other relatives, who may have responsibilities in the family setting include the daughter-in-law and the son-in-law of the oldest couple and thus contribute to the decision-making process. Gender roles have changed significantly in Italy compared to other countries, and women are more liberated and have shifted from traditional roles. Men are also less patriarchal in a family (Bianco, Ciavarella & Signoretti, 131).

Work citedBianco, M., Ciavarella, A., & Signoretti, R. (2015). Women on Corporate Boards in I Italy: The Role of Family Connections. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 23(2), 129-144.

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