Family Patterns In The Caribbean

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Families are identified in every society. Murdock (1949) defines the family as a social

group characterize by common residence, economic corporation, and reproduction (Tischler,

2014). These families are differentiated and is classified into types. The family types differ in

other parts of the world due to historical, social and economic influences. Therefore, a family

type maybe predominant in one area and may not be the same in another area. They exist due to

the needs of a given family. The aim of this essay is to describe some of the main family patterns

that exist in the Caribbean and to provide explanation for these patterns. It is to also state the

type of family best suited for the proper functioning of my society and
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Edith Clarke presented a thesis that supported that it is due

to a country’s economic instability that impacts family structure (Otterbein, 2009). The

instability of the economy is one the reason why there are female headed household. In an effort

to sustain livelihood, the men leaves the family in order to gain income to provide for family.

Education level has been a rising factor resulting in female headed household.

Education has been and is the key to success. Women have been drawn to this and has claimed

the world once known to men. Hence, many chase these dreams. It is as a result that women

educated at a secondary or tertiary level would delay child rearing and relationships in order to

advance their career (Bernard, 2003). The Female has become sole breadwinners and have not

been restricted to the duties usually done by women (domestic chores). Also, being the head of

household women barely has time to do these duties and sometimes cause them to hire help in

carrying out certain chores. However, this is subject to a social status/level of the women.

Also, The sexual irresponsibility of men in the Caribbean is also another reason
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An alternative pattern for Caribbean family that exists is the extended family. Extended

families are very popular within the Caribbean. An extended family consist of Grandparents,

aunt, uncle, parents, children etc. It includes three or more generation living together. Stuart

stated they share a home and the responsibility of the home (Sweetman, 1996). These families

tend to provide both emotional and economic support to its member.

Extended family in the Caribbean has its roots from Africa, where majority of the

inhabitants originated (Arawak, 2008). In Africa, many of the members of the family lives

together. It will consist of more than wives etc. In the Caribbean, especially in countries like

Jamaica, where the main religious background is out is Christianity. However, the Christian life

does not practice polygamous lifestyle, but mainly monogamous. It is as a result that the

concubine lifestyle isn’t the main practice or the norm of the society. Klein (1989) argued that

during slavery in the Caribbean, several generations deep lived in Extended family. With the

role of the extended family even today was to share the workload with individual in the

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