Relationships among family members in Vietnam

Relationships in Vietnamese family are more complicated than those of Western countries. The majority of families in Vietnam are extended families as many generations co-live to take care of each other. Family in Vietnam looks similar to a system of mini society with the most elderly having the strongest voice and taking charge of most activities in house.

Each family has its own rules and values that members are supposed to conform with. The younger generation shows respect for the older generation and vice versa, the old generation tolerates the young. In the relationships between parents and children, and between husband and wife as well, traditional Vietnamese retain much of their long established customs and values.

Family Meals in Vietnam

Traditional Vietnamese meal - dining on the floor with the whole extended family

Although influenced by Chinese culture and Confucianism, in the eyes of children, Vietnamese mothers still have the same status as their counterparts. They are the embodiments of love, of self-denial and of sacrifice. For Vietnamese parents, their children are their most valuable assets; therefore, within their financial capacity, most of them are eager to have as many children as they can.

Yet, most of them have tendency to apply strict parenting to educate their beloved ones. As an old saying in Vietnam, “Blood is thicker than water”. That is to say, family relationship has been given higher prominence compared to other kinds of relationships. The concept of blood relationship is always engraved in the mind of Vietnamese.

It means that as a member of family, you are expected to receive moral support and material assistance from other members, especially when you are in trouble. Vice versa, you also are expected to help other members in your family when they are in need. It is true that family ties are not only reflected in the emotional support but also when it comes to materials and financial issues.

To illustrate, when you lack money for something, what will you do? You would certainly ask your bank or credit card company. However, in Vietnam, we will ask our parents, our siblings and our relatives first and so do our relatives. To conclude, with family ties getting closer and closer, values of family relationships in Vietnam would certainly survive through time and change.

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