Structure, composition and roles in a Vietnamese traditional Family

Vietnamese Family

Vietnamese Family

Traditional Vietnamese Family

Vietnamese familyThere are a lot of differences between Vietnamese family to the European family: From the family size to the role of each member of the family and it's also different from the past to now.

Vietnamese family in the past

More than 30 years ago, Vietnamese family was very big. A couple could have about 5 to 10 children!!! Five kids were not really big. Eight kids were very normal. Take an example, my parents (more than 60 years old) have 10 children. And most of my aunts and uncles also have from 5 to 10 children. Moreover, some of my parents' neighbors have even 12 children. Especially, in the center of Vietnam the family's size is bigger than the other places. In a typical family,there were three generations: grand parents - parents - children. The roles of family's members were also different. Still keeping the tradition: the man had the main role, the family didn't have the balance. Any decision just could be made by the grandfather or father. The children didn't have the power to make their own decision. The women always listened to the men.

Vietnam had independence in 1975. We were invaded by the Chinese for a very long time. After that the French and then the American. In the war, we couldn't develop our country. When the war finished, Vietnam was a very poor country. In addition, Vietnam had to build the country from nothing. The country faced with hunger, illiteracy and poverty. With all the difficulties, we didn't have a good health care or pregnancy care. The government had some strategies to reduce the amount of children in a family. However, it wasn't popular to all the villages or countryside areas.
One more reason was people's thinking. Most of old people thought that having more kid was having more happiness. And another thinking was: "every kid was a child of God. God gave birth, so God would take care of the kid." In addition, they preferred boys to girls.

Vietnamese family
Vietnamese family at Saigon

The country was not developed, so the family couldn't have enough condition for a big family. The economic at that time was agriculture. Most people were farmers or the husband could work something else and the wife was housewife. The income that a couple made weren't enough to raise 5 to 10 kids. The clearly result was the living condition was really bad. Serious result was the children couldn't go to school. The children didn't come to school, or they went to school for the primary and stopped. There were not a lot of people could come to high school or university. Preferring boys to girls made some family have many kids. Women didn't have any voice. Therefore, the men in the past used to drink, smoke a lot and behave badly.

Vietnamese family in present day

With a lot of campaigns and changes in the social life after the war until now,Vietnamese family has changed.
Modern Vietnamese family size
Unlike a big family as in the past 30 years. Now, the family just has 4 to 5 members including parents. A couple has about 2 or 3 kids. They don't even care too much if they only have all boys, or all girls. Rarely, we can see a family with 3 generations.
Modern Vietnamese family member's role
Women have their own voice. They had fought for their equality. Women can make their decision together with men. They also find jobs to work. The husband will try to help his wife with housework or taking care of the baby. It's equal in the family's life. The wife tries to balance her work and her family.
However, there is still violence in family. The man drinks and hits his wife sometimes. Some couples end with divorce but some try to keep the family, even they are not happy. The excuse is: because of the kids. They don't want the kids don't have father, or mother.

Vietnamese girls at school with Ao Dai

Modern Vietnamese family: Better result
More and more children can go to school and finish university or college. The family's life is better. It makes the country develop because each family is a cell of the society.