The Chilean family continues to be rather traditional in its values and customs. The father is generally the primary breadwinner of the family, and although many women work, their income is considered supplementary. Because fathers spend much of their time at work, the children are usually closer to, and less formal with, their mother. Chilean families are some of the smallest in Latin America, with most parents having one or two children. Chilean culture tends to be very family-focused, and children are taught to have a strong respect for their parents.
Chile is not the typical Latin machista society. Most men want their wives to work and are proud of their accomplishments. In fact, statistics show that women have made great strides in Chilean society. However, a closer look reveals that even though women are taking advantage of higher education opportunities, and are becoming professionals, there are many women who continue to assume traditional roles. There is a great deal of pressure for women to marry, to have children, and to continue the concept of “family.”
Young people are not encouraged to be as independent as in other cultures. They depend more on their parents for permission to go out, or to participate in after-school activities. Parents expect to be an authority over their children for a longer period of time than in other countries. Another aspect of family life that is important to note is that boys and girls are sometimes treated differently. Boys are generally given more freedom, while their sisters are more protected.