Spain culture

Xenophobe's® Guides: The Spanish family influence

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Grown men live with their parents, and children rule the restaurants? Family plays an important role in understanding Spanish behaviour.

Xenophobe's® Guides: A book series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations with insight and humour.

It could be said that the family governs the Spanish outlook on life. Family and home are much more important than material gain, and moving away from the bosom of comfort and security is not considered a priority. In fact, mothers do not understand why their sons should want to leave home for any other purpose than to start one of their own. Even then it is the wife who is expected to move away from her family, not him.

The Spanish woman is devoted to her boy child. Mothers carry on looking after their boy till the child is in his forties, invariably scheming behind his back to make sure that he never leaves home without feeling unbearable guilt, except if he marries a girl of his mother's choice. When this new wife produces a baby boy, the new grandmother will plague her with advice on how to bring up the baby... and so the whole process repeats. Because of this, most Spanish men are brazenly spoilt mama's boys all their lives, although as a taboo subject, this should not be pointed out.

To the Spanish, children, to whomsoever they belong, come first, and the banning of them from bars or places of adult entertainment, as sometimes practised in Britain, is not only unthinkable but looked upon as barbaric.

Children should not only be seen but encouraged to be heard, loudly, for they are evidence of life and continuity, which must be heralded with joy. They are pandered to and rarely corrected. They are never sent to bed as a punishment; indeed, they are never sent to bed at all. Many a toddler will be seen playing with a toy under a crowded café table at two in the morning, while the proud parents and friends admire the olive-shaped eyes, the curly locks or the latest in designer rompers.

For more, read The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish.

Reproduced from Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish by kind permission of Xenophobe's® Guides.

Photo credit: Arie Westerduin

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2 Comments To This Article

  • polypogon99 posted:

    on 11th August 2015, 23:23:46 - Reply

    It's all absolutely true, but it makes it very hard indeed if you do not intend in any way, shape or form to get married!
    In 2005, Zapatero's government legalised same-sex marriage, what a hoot! The take up has been relatively low key to say the least! This is due in no small part to the way that the Spanish family is able to squeeze out alternative sexualities, so that if they do occur (and they do) there is no room nor space left to let the individual flourish.
    For these reasons, I have found it extremely difficult to live in Spain as I do not have any family support to speak of, and, in any case, wouldn't expect it from my own in the UK, as these things have sell-by dates on them in the 'Isla Maldita' (this little take of mine on my own country is rarely reciprocated, and hardly ever understood by the Spanish).
  • Ja Ja Binks posted:

    on 26th June 2013, 22:51:20 - Reply

    A lot in this article is actually true, even though it's tongue in cheek. Without the support of my Spanish wife, children and parents in law, I would have had some very tough moments living here though. Long live the Spanish Family! Banning children from restaurants and weddings IS barbaric. "Children should be seen but not heard"? Bull!