Family is the basic unit of the society. It plays a big role to bind and build strong nation. Philippines is known for having a strong and close family ties, a Filipino value passed by our ancestors for many generations. A typical family basically consists of a father, mother and children living in one roof. But what makes a Filipino family unique? It’s the extended family structure which is common in most Filipino households. Sometimes, children are still living with their parents even after their marriage and will continue until they have their own children. So this will come up with more than one family living together in the same house with their parents. Another set-up for some family is, the married children will build their own house within the compound where their parents live. This practice is commonly seen in provinces and some rural areas.
For many, this set-up helps to retain the closeness of each family member, building a strong bond between siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws. It’s also easy to gather together when there’s a special occasion or there’s an emergency situation. Sharing anything to other family members and helping each other are much easy in this practice as they are living together or very close with each other. Grandparents can also get the chance to see their grandchildren growing. Emotional and financial support from family members is beyond the reach in times of crisis with this set-up.
But at some point, it is also disadvantageous when extended family are living together or living in the same compound. Married children sometimes still dependent on their parents financially and in raising their own children. Conflict might arise when one interfere on another’s business or in many things. Rival between sibling’s family is also observed as one problem of this practice. In an extended family, sometimes, burden and financial pressure goes only to one family member, leading to the rest of the members to become lazy and too dependent. And most of all, there’ll be no more or lack of privacy on each member. I personally observed and experienced these situations as my married siblings are living within our compound.
Though this practice of extended family structure gives some negative results, it still depends on how each family members handle to live in more advantageous way. For me, being a family doesn’t mean you need to stick together literally all your lives. That’s why being prepared before getting married is very important to avoid being too dependent with our parents. We could still opt to stay close and build a strong tie with our family even living far away with each other. Being independent when you get married doesn’t mean you are forgetting your parents or family. It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the way how members of the family treat each other fairly and with love and respect.