How to discuss your family members in Spanish - from tíos to tatara tatarabuelas

They say family is everything, so will learning how to talk about your family members in Spanish give you full mastery of the language?

Erm… not quite. But it can get you close! While families are incredibly important across cultures all over the world, the concept of family takes on a whole new meaning in Spanish-speaking cultures.

Not only do Spanish speakers tend to have more siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles, but they also tend to be a lot closer with their extended family. If you come from the United States–or any other country that speaks a Germanic language–you’ll likely have a very different perspective on all things family.

Learning to talk about family members in Spanish can help you:

  • Describe your family more easily.
  • Make deeper connections with people you meet by asking them about their families.
  • Give people more details about your background.
  • Understand more Spanish phrases and idioms.
  • Earn a deeper appreciation for Spanish family culture.

As you can see, learning to talk about family in Spanish has many benefits that go beyond just you and your family. There’s a lot to cover with this blog, so let’s get started!


Family in Spanish

No matter how large or complicated your family may be, we’ll provide you with a full family members in Spanish list. So, whether you come from a traditional family or a modern family, we promise we’ve got you covered!

But first things first: let’s talk about how to actually say family in Spanish. Luckily, you probably won’t have to spend more than a couple of minutes learning it!

FamilyLa familiafaˈmiljafa-me-lee-ah
FamiliesLas familiasfaˈmiljasfa-me-lee-ahs

Interested in your family history?

Free downloadable Spanish family relationship chart.

Immediate family members in Spanish

If all you really care about is how to say mom in Spanish, then this section’s for you. If you’re very close with your nuclear family, you’ll want to know how to talk about your parents and siblings in Spanish as you make your way through the Spanish-speaking countries.

Immediate family members in Spanish, enjoying a bike ride in the country.

Parents (less formal)Papáspaˈpaspah-pas
ChildNiño / Niñaˈniɲo / ˈniɲanee-nyo / nee-nya
Older brotherHermano mayorɛɾˈmano maˈʝoɾair-ma-no ma-yor
Younger brotherHermano menorɛɾˈmano meˈnoɾair-ma-no meh-nor
Older sisterHermana mayorɛɾˈmana maˈʝoɾair-ma-na ma-yor
Younger sisterHermana menorɛɾˈmana meˈnoɾair-ma-na meh-nor
Half-brotherMedio-hermanomeðjoɛɾˈmanomeh-de-oh air-ma-no
Half-sisterMedia-hermanameðjaɛɾˈmanameh-de-ah air-ma-na

Extended family in Spanish

As you may have heard, Hispanic cultures tend to be much closer with their extended family. A recent study on Mexicans and Puerto Ricans living in the United States concluded that Latinos have a higher incidence of coresidence with and involvement in the lives of extended family members.

As you’ll see later on in this article, big families are a big part of Hispanic cultures. So, even if you’re not super close with all your relatives, learning how to talk about your extended family in Spanish is definitely a great idea!

Grandparents in Spanish, taking care of their grandchildren.

Female cousinPrimaˈpɾimapree-ma
Male cousinPrimoˈpɾimopree-mo
Aunts and unclesTíosˈtiostee-os
Great-auntTía abuelaˈtia aˈβwelatee-ah ah-boo-eh-la
Great-uncleTío abueloˈtio aˈβwelotee-oh ah-boo-eh-lo
Great-great-great-grandfatherTatara Tatarabuelotaˈtaɾa tataɾaˈβwelota-ta-ra ta-ta-ra-ah-boo-eh-lo
Great-great-great-grandmotherTatara Tatarabuelataˈtaɾa tataɾaˈβwelata-ta-ra ta-ta-ra-ah-boo-eh-la
First cousinPrimo hermano / Prima hermanaˈpɾimo ɛɾˈmano / ˈpɾima ɛɾˈmanapree-mo air-ma-no / pree-ma air-ma-na
Second cousinPrimo segundo / Prima segundaˈpɾimo seˈɣũndo / ˈpɾima seˈɣũndapree-mo seh-goon-doh / pree-ma seh-goon-da
Third cousinPrimo tercero / Prima terceraˈpɾimo tɛɾˈsɛɾo / ˈpɾima tɛɾˈsɛɾapree-mo ter-seh-ro / pree-ma ter-seh-ra

Family members by marriage - Step and in-laws

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you can make in your life. And, as they say, you don’t just marry the person–you marry their whole family. So, whether you’re about to tie the knot, or just can’t help but picture yourself living your best married life, here is what you should call your in-laws in Spanish.

Family members in Spanish, enjoying cooking together.


Other family-related terms in Spanish

Beyond just family members, there are plenty of family-related words that you should learn when talking about families in Spanish. These words will help you express yourself more naturally and accurately when discussing anything related to your or anyone else’s family!

Family names in Spanish come in all different shapes and sizes.

Family treeÁrbol genealógicoˈaɾβol xeneaˈloxikoAr-bol heh-neh-ah-lo-he-co
Nuclear familyLa familia nuclearfaˈmilja nukleˈaɾfa-me-lee-ah noo-cleh-ar
Surrogate motherMadre subrogadaˈmaðɾe suβɾoˈɣaðama-dre soob-ro-ga-da
TwinsGemelos / Mellizosxeˈmelos / meˈʝisosheh-meh-los / meh-yee-zos
Twins (non-identical)Cuatesˈkwatescoo-ah-tes
WidowViudo / viudaˈbjuðo / ˈbjuðavee-ooh-doh / vee-ooh-da
Foster momMamá adoptivamaˈma aðop̚ˈtiβamah-ma ah-dop-tee-va
Foster dadPapá adoptivopaˈpa aðop̚ˈtiβopah-pa ah-dop-tee-voh
Foster childHijo adoptivo / hija adoptivaˈixo aðop̚ˈtiβo / ˈixa aðop̚ˈtiβaee-ho ah-dop-tee-voh / ee-ha ah-dop-tee-va
Only childHijo únicoˈixo ˈunikoe-ho ooh-nee-co
A teenager going through pubertyPubertopuˈβɛɾtopoo-bear-toh
Youngest childHijo menorˈixo meˈnoɾe-ho meh-nor
Eldest childPrimogénitopɾimoˈxenitopree-mo-heh-nee-toh
Middle childHijo de en medioˈixo ðɛ ɛ̃m ˈmeðjoee-ho deh en meh-dee-oh

Nicknames for family members in Spanish

If you’ve been studying Spanish for a while or have spent any time in a Spanish-speaking country, you probably already know that Spanish speakers love using nicknames. From terms of endearment to Spanish slang words, informal speech is a quick way to show closeness and affection with your family and friends.

Family members laughing at their nicknames for family in Spanish.

Younger brotherManitomaˈnitoma-nee-toh
Younger sisterManitamaˈnitama-nee-ta

Talking about family in day to day situations

Learning all the family members in Spanish can take a while, especially if you’re just starting to learn. However, there’s no reason not to start using a few words right away. Here are some sample questions and answers that you can use, whether you want to learn more about someone’s family or want to share details about your fam!

Oh, and since many of us love our furry family just like the rest of our family, we’ve included a Q&A on how to talk about your pets in Spanish! Check out our blog on animals in Spanish to learn about over 200 different animals!

Q:Do you have any siblings?¿Tienes hermanos?ˈtjenes ɛɾˈmanos ‖tee-eh-nes air-ma-nos
A:I have three brothers.Tengo tres hermanos.ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈtɾes ɛɾˈmanos ‖ten-go trehs air-ma-nos
Q:How are your parents?¿Cómo están tus papás?ˈkomo ɛsˈtãn tus paˈpas ‖koh-mo es-tahn toos pah-pas
A:They’re doing great! What about yours?¡Están muy bien! ¿Qué tal los tuyos?ɛsˈtãm mwi ˈβjɛ̃n ‖ ˈke ˈtal los ˈtuʝos ‖es-tahn moo-ey bee-ehn keh tal los too-yos
Q:How long have you been married?¿Cuánto tiempo llevan casados?ˈkwãnto ˈtjɛ̃mpo ˈʝeβãn kaˈsaðos ‖coo-an-toh tee-em-po yeh-van cah-sa-dos
A:We have been married for three years now!¡Ya llevamos tres años de casados!ɟʝa ʝeˈβamos ˈtɾes ˈaɲos̬ ðe kaˈsaðos ‖ya yeh-va-mos trehs ah-nyos deh cah-sa-dos
Q:Do you plan on having any kids?¿Planean tener hijos?plaˈneãn teˈnɛɾ ˈixos ‖pla-neh-an teh-ner ee-hos
A:Yes, we want to have two kids.Si, queremos tener dos | kɛˈɾemos teˈnɛɾ ˈðos ˈixos ‖see keh-reh-mos teh-ner dos ee-hos
Q:Do you have any pets?¿Tienen alguna mascota?ˈtjenɛn alˈɣuna masˈkota ‖tee-eh-nen al-goo-nah mas-coh-ta
A:No, but we really want to adopt a kitty.No, pero queremos adoptar a un gatito.ˈno | ˈpɛɾo kɛˈɾemos aðop̚ˈtaɾ a ũ̯n ɡaˈtito ‖no peh-ro keh-reh-mos ah-dop-tar oon ga-tee-to

Common conversation

The questions and answers above weren’t a part of a full conversation. If you’re itching to see what a typical conversation about family could be like, here’s a sample. This would be an appropriate conversation between two people who just met and are starting to get to know each other, whether in a romantic way or just as friends!

Friend:Are you an only child?¿Eres hijo único?ˈɛɾes ˈixo ˈuniko ‖
You:No, I have two brothers and one sister. What about you?No, tengo dos hermanos y una hermana. ¿Y tú?ˈno | ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈðos ɛɾˈmanos j ˈuna ɛɾˈmana ‖ i ˈtu ‖
Friend:Oh, I see. I only have a younger sister. Are you the elder brother?Ah, ya veo. Yo solo tengo una hermana menor. ¿Eres el hermano mayor?ˈa | ɟʝa ˈβeo ‖ ˈɟʝo ˈsolo ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈuna ɛɾˈmana meˈnoɾ ‖ ˈɛɾes ɛl ɛɾˈmano maˈʝoɾ ‖
You:No, I am the middle child. I have an older brother, an older sister, and a younger brother.No, soy el de en medio. Tengo un hermano mayor, una hermana mayor y un hermano menor.ˈno | ˈsoj ɛl dɛ ɛ̃m ˈmeðjo ‖ ˈtɛ̃nɡo u̯n ɛɾˈmano maˈʝoɾ | ˈuna ɛɾˈmana maˈʝoɾ j un ɛɾˈmano meˈnoɾ ‖
Friend:Oh, I see. And do you have any cousins?Ah, ya veo. ¿Y tienes primos?ˈa | ɟʝa ˈβeo ‖ i ˈtjenes ˈpɾimos ‖
You:No, my dad is an only child and my maternal aunts and uncles don’t have any children. What about you?No, mi papá es hijo único y mis tíos del lado materno no tienen hijos. ¿Qué hay de ti?ˈno | mi paˈpa ˈɛs ˈixo ˈuniko i̯ mis ˈtios̬ ðɛl ˈlaðo maˈtɛɾno ˈno ˈtjenɛn ˈixos ‖ ˈke ˈai̯ ðe ˈti ‖
Friend:I have many cousins! My dad is Colombian and my mom is Mexican, and they both come from big families. I have many cousins and even first cousins twice removed!¡Yo tengo muchos primos! Mi papá es colombiano y mi mamá es mexicana, y los dos vienen de familias muy grandes. Tengo muchos primos ¡e incluso tíos segundos!ˈɟʝo ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈmuʧos ˈpɾimos ‖ mi paˈpa ˈɛs kolõmˈbjano i̯ mi maˈma ˈɛs̬ mexiˈkana | i los̬ ˈðos̬ ˈβjenɛ̃n de faˈmiljas̬ mwi ˈɣɾãndes ‖ ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈmuʧos ˈpɾimos ˈe ĩ̯nˈkluso ˈtios seˈɣũndos ‖
You:Oh, how cool! What do you mean by first cousins twice removed?Ah, ¡qué padre! ¿A qué te refieres con tíos segundos?ˈa | ˈke ˈpaðɾe ‖ a ˈke te reˈfjɛɾes kõn ˈtios seˈɣũndos ‖
Friend:Oh, that is my mom and dad’s cousins! My parents are very close with their cousins, so they are almost like extra aunts and uncles to me.Ah, ¡me refiero a los primos de mis papás! Mis papás son muy cercanos con sus primos, así que ellos son como tíos para mí.ˈa | me reˈfjɛɾo a los ˈpɾimos̬ ðe mis paˈpas ‖ mis paˈpas ˈsõm mwi sɛɾˈkanos kõn sus ˈpɾimos | aˈsi ˈke ˈeʝos ˈsõn ˈkomo ˈtios ˈpaɾa ˈmi ‖
You:That’s very cool! Your family parties must be fun!¡Qué padre! ¡Tus reuniones familiares deben ser muy divertidas!ˈke ˈpaðɾe ‖ tus̬ reu̯ˈnjones famiˈljaɾes̬ ˈðeβɛ̃n ˈsɛɾ mwi ðiβɛɾˈtiðas ‖
Friend:Yes! It’s always a great time when the whole family gets together. Sometimes I even get to meet relatives I’d never seen before!¡Sí! Siempre es muy divertido cuando se reúne toda la familia. ¡A veces hasta me toca conocer a parientes que no conocía!ˈsi ‖ ˈsjɛ̃mpɾe ˈɛs̬ mwi ðiβɛɾˈtiðo ˈkwãndo se reˈune ˈtoða la faˈmilja ‖ a ˈβeses ˈasta me ˈtoka konoˈsɛɾ a paˈɾjɛ̃ntes ˈke ˈno konoˈsia ‖


Age is one of the most common things to mention when talking about your family. Of course, knowing the numbers in Spanish is a prerequisite to talking about age in Spanish. If you’re not feeling confident about your counting abilities in Spanish, head over to our numbers blog first to get a refresher!

My older sister is 27 years old.Mi hermana mayor tiene 27 años.mj ɛɾˈmana maˈʝoɾ ˈtjene βei̯ntiˈsjɛte ˈaɲos ‖
My younger brother just turned five and is starting school this year.Mi hermano menor acaba de cumplir cinco y va a empezar a ir a la escuela este año.mj ɛɾˈmano meˈnoɾ aˈkaβa ðe kũmˈpliɾ ˈsĩnko i̯ ˈβa a ɛ̃mpeˈsaɾ a ˈiɾ a la ɛsˈkwela ˈɛste ˈaɲo ‖
My puppy is one year old and my bunny is two years old.Mi cachorrito tiene un año y mi conejito tiene dos años.mi kaʧoˈrito ˈtjene u̯n ˈaɲo i̯ mi koneˈxito ˈtjene ˈðos ˈaɲos ‖
My older brother is only two years older than me.Mi hermano es solo dos años mayor que yo.mj ɛɾˈmano ˈɛs ˈsolo ˈðos ˈaɲos̬ maˈʝoɾ ˈke ˈʝo ‖
My parents got married 25 years ago.Mis papás se casaron hace 25 años. mis paˈpas se kaˈsaɾon ˈase βei̯ntiˈsĩnko ˈaɲos ‖

Describing your family in Spanish

Once you’ve established the introductory facts such as the number of relatives and their age, the next step is to get even more descriptive. What are they like? Do they look like you? Is your family growing still? Here are a few examples of how to describe your family in Spanish, but feel free to get as creative as you’d like!

My mom and dad have brown eyes but my grandpa has blue eyes.Mis papás tienen los ojos cafés pero mi abuelo los tiene azules.mis paˈpas ˈtjenɛ̃n los ˈoxos kaˈfes ˈpɛɾo mj aˈβwelo los ˈtjene aˈsules ‖
I get my curly hair from my mom’s side of the family. My brother has curly hair too, but my sister’s hair is straight.Mi cabello chino viene del lado materno de la familia. Mi hermano también tiene el pelo chino, pero mi hermana lo tiene lacio.mi kaˈβeʝo ˈʧino ˈβjene ðɛl ˈlaðo maˈtɛɾno ðe la faˈmilja ‖ mj ɛɾˈmano tãmˈbjɛ̃n ˈtjenɛ ɛl ˈpelo ˈʧino | ˈpɛɾo mj ɛɾˈmana lo ˈtjene ˈlasjo ‖
I have a twin brother, and my aunt had triplets!Tengo un hermano gemelo, y ¡mi tía tuvo trillizos!ˈtɛ̃nɡo u̯n ɛɾˈmano xeˈmelo | i mi ˈtia ˈtuβo tɾiˈʝisos ‖
My family tree is quite extensive. I have many relatives on both sides of the family!Mi árbol genealógico es bastante grande. ¡Tengo muchos parientes en ambos lados de la familia!mj ˈaɾβol xeneaˈloxiko ˈɛs̬ βasˈtãnte ˈɣɾãnde ‖ ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈmuʧos paˈɾjɛ̃ntes ɛn ˈãmbos̬ ˈlaðos̬ ðe la faˈmilja ‖
My family got a lot bigger when my dad remarried. Now I have four half-brothers!Mi familia creció mucho cuando mi papá se volvió a casar. ¡Ahora tengo cuatro medios hermanos!mi faˈmilja kɾeˈsjo ˈmuʧo ˈkwãndo mi paˈpa se βolˈβjo a kaˈsaɾ ‖ aˈoɾa ˈtɛ̃nɡo ˈkwatɾo ˈmeðjos ɛɾˈmanos ‖

Family-related Spanish idioms

One of the most fun parts of learning a new language is acquiring all the wisdom and cultural tidbits that come from phrases and idioms. There are hundreds of popular family-related Spanish idioms, and we’ve included some of our favorites in the table below.

A splinter off the same stick.De tal palo tal ˈtal ˈpalo ˈtal asˈtiʝa ‖Like father like son
Son of a tiger, striped.Hijo de tigre, pintito. ˈixo ðe ˈtiɣɾe | pĩnˈtito ‖Like father like son
It’s not stolen, it’s inherited.No se hurta, se hereda. ˈno se ˈuɾta | sɛ ɛˈɾeða ‖All personal traits must come from someone else in the family.
You can recognize each other from the way that you speak.Por la tonada se conocen.poɾ la toˈnaða se koˈnosɛ̃n ‖All family members tend to have the same traits or behaviors.
Don’t trust family members that start with “cu.”De los familiares con “cu” no te fíes tú.de los famiˈljaɾes kõn ˈku ˈno te ˈfies ˈtu ‖Don’t trust your sister-in-law (cuñada) or brother-in-law (cuñado).
Like a hug from your mother-in-law.Como abrazo de suegra.ˈkomo aˈβɾaso ðe ˈsweɣɾa ‖Refers to something extremely cold, most commonly a beer!
A childless house is like a fig tree with no figs.Casa sin hijos, higuera sin higos.ˈkasa sin ˈixos | iˈɣɛɾa sin ˈiɣos ‖Houses aren’t complete without kids, just as fig trees aren’t complete without figs.
What you do with your parents you will pay for with your kids.Lo que con tus padres hagas, con tus hijos lo pagas.lo ˈke kõn tus ˈpaðɾes ˈaɣas | kõn tus ˈixos̬ lo ˈpaɣas ‖You should be kind to your parents because your kids will treat you the same way you treat them.
Eat and drink with your family but don’t buy and sell.Con la familia comer y beber pero no comprar y vender.kõn la faˈmilja koˈmɛɾ i βeˈβɛɾ ˈpɛɾo ˈno kõmˈpɾaɾ i βɛ̃nˈdɛɾ ‖Caution against going into business with your family.
Dirty laundry should be washed at home.La ropa sucia se lava en ˈropa ˈsusja se ˈlaβa ɛ̃n ˈkasa ‖You shouldn’t air your family’s dirty laundry!
Raise crows and they’ll peck your eyes out.Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos.ˈkɾia ˈkwɛɾβos i te sakaˈɾãn los ˈoxos ‖You shouldn’t raise your kids to be anything other than kind, else they’ll be unkind to you!
Relatives and junk should be kept at a minimum and far away.Parientes y trastos viejos, pocos y lejos.paˈɾjɛ̃ntes i ˈtɾastos̬ ˈβjexos | ˈpokos i ˈlexos ‖Cautions against being unnecessarily close with your extended family.
There’s but one mother.Madre no hay más que una.ˈmaðɾe ˈno ˈai̯ ˈmas ˈke ˈuna ‖Cherish your mom as you’ve only got one!
Don’t have any debts with people who aren’t physically present, and don’t have running accounts with relatives.No tengas deudas con ausentes, ni cuentas con parientes.ˈno ˈtɛ̃nɡas̬ ˈðeu̯ðas kon au̯ˈsɛ̃ntes | ni ˈkwɛ̃ntas kõm paˈɾjɛ̃ntes ‖Pay your debts and avoid doing business with your relatives.
A deaf daughter will always be understood by her mother.A la hija muda su madre la entiende.a la ˈixa ˈmuða su ˈmaðɾe la ɛ̃nˈtjɛ̃nde ‖Even if you don’t understand someone, their family probably does.
Visit your aunt, but not every day.Visita a tu tía, más no cada día.biˈsita a tu ˈtia | ˈmas̬ ˈno ˈkaða ˈðia ‖You should be close with your extended family, but not too close.
Don’t get in the middle of parents and siblings.Entre padres y hermanos, no metas las manos.ˈɛ̃ntɾe ˈpaðɾes j ɛɾˈmanos | ˈno ˈmɛtas̬ las̬ ˈmanos ‖Don’t get involved in drama between parents or siblings.
Don’t get married, set sail, or stay far from your family on Tuesdays.Martes, ni te cases ni te embarques ni de tu familia te apartes.ˈmaɾtes | ni te ˈkases̬ ni tɛ ɛ̃mˈbaɾkes̬ ni ðe tu faˈmilja te aˈpaɾtes ‖Tuesday used to be considered a very unlucky day, so you should avoid making big decisions, traveling, or staying apart from your family!
A well-set table equals a happy family.Mesa bien puesta, familia contenta.ˈmesa ˈβjɛ̃m ˈpwɛsta | faˈmilja kõnˈtɛ̃nta ‖Having large family meals will keep your family happy!
Blissful are the branches that come from such a trunk.Dichosa la rama que al tronco sale.diˈʧosa la ˈrama ˈke al ˈtɾõnko ˈsale ‖You should be proud of your ancestors.
Good friendship is better than mean kinship.Más vale buena amistad, que ruin parentesco.ˈmas̬ ˈβale ˈβwena amisˈtað | ˈke ˈrwĩm paɾɛ̃nˈtɛsko ‖Sometimes, a good friendship is better than a bad relationship with a relative.
No parent considers their kids to be ugly.No hay padre ni madre a quien sus hijos parezcan feos.ˈno ˈai̯ ˈpaðɾe ni ˈmaðɾe a ˈkjɛ̃n sus ˈixos paˈɾɛskãm ˈfeos ‖Parents always think highly of their children, even when it comes to looks!
Mother-in-law, lawyer, and doctor, the further away, the better.Suegra, abogado y doctor, cuanto más lejos mejor.ˈsweɣɾa | aβoˈɣaðo i̯ ðok̚ˈtoɾ | ˈkwãnto ˈmas̬ ˈlexos̬ meˈxoɾ ‖The less you need to deal with doctors, lawyers, and your mother-in-law, the better!
Opulent people have hundreds of relatives.El opulento, tiene de parientes un ciento.ɛl opuˈlɛ̃nto | ˈtjene ðe paˈɾjɛ̃ntes ũn ˈsjɛ̃nto ‖If you’re wealthy, you’ll have hundreds of people claiming to be your relatives!

Videos to learn how to talk about family in Spanish

Meet my Familia! Speaking About Your Family In Spanish

If this is your very first time learning about family in Spanish, then you will surely need to spend some time covering the basics. In addition to reviewing our vocabulary sheets above, you should watch a few introductory videos to help you nail down the pronunciation!

The following video goes over the most common family members and Spanish. Make sure to participate when requested so that you start getting comfortable with speaking about the family in Spanish!

Asking and Answering Family Questions in Spanish

If you’re at an intermediate Spanish level, you’re probably looking for something more intricate. You’re probably already having conversations and are perhaps even meeting people in Spanish. And what better way to get to know someone than by asking them about their family?

The following video covers some very helpful family questions you can ask someone. It also goes over how to answer some of these questions. Now you don’t have an excuse to get flustered next time someone asks about your family!

Learn Spanish Conversation | Family Members

If you’re a more advanced Spanish learner, then this is the video for you. Talking about your family members is a great way to practice indirect speech, and this casual conversation between two friends shows exactly that.

Put your listening skills to the test with the following conversation!

Cultural considerations when it comes to family in Spanish

1. Families are much bigger

It may be a stereotype, but it’s one that’s been proven true by many studies. According to Pew Research, Hispanic families in the US are the biggest of all race groups, on average.

So, don’t be surprised by the average size of a family in Latin America!

2. Gender roles are more defined

Although this has been changing in recent years, traditional gender roles are still very prevalent in Latin America. You’ll find that boys are often encouraged to go to college and start businesses while girls aren’t.

Thanks to feminist movements across Latin America, the importance of traditional gender roles is slowly fading. These days, it’s not uncommon for women to be successful in business and hold important corporate positions. However, there’s still a long way to go for gender equality, as only 4.2% of CEOs in Latin America were female as of 2019.

3. Children can live with parents until marriage

If you come from the United States, you’re probably used to the notion that children are supposed to move out of their parent's house when they go to college or when they turn 18. However, this is very different in Hispanic cultures.

Not only do many people in Latin America live with their parents through college, but many actually stay or move back in after graduation. Of course, this varies from family to family, but the expectation is that children are allowed to live with their parents until they get married.

4. Children are expected to care for their parents

In the United States, most adults are expected to plan for their retirement. Choosing when and how to retire is everyone’s personal decision, so you’re expected to save enough money to sustain the retirement lifestyle you envision for yourself.

In Latin America, this isn’t often the case. While children are usually allowed to live with their parents until they’re much older, they’re also expected to have a bigger role in caring for their parents once they reach retirement age.

Again, every family is different, so caring for parents can be anywhere from providing minor financial assistance, to having your mom live with you! It’s also worth noting that daughters share a larger responsibility–again, likely due to traditional gender norms.

Keep practicing to avoid losing your familiarity with Spanish!

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all the family members in Spanish! We know that our list is quite extensive, so don’t try to rush your way through our family members in Spanish list. Just keep practicing the Spanish terms for family in your daily life and you’ll arrive at mastery in no time!
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our Spanish blog for even more free Spanish study resources!

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