Vietnamese - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Although free choice in marriage is now the law and is quite common, arranged marriages and the use of matchmakers persist, and parents and important elders wield much influence. In the northern and central regions, village endogamy and patrilocal residence have been the norm and are still common. Polygynous marriage, once common, is now illegal; but it has not disappeared.

Domestic Unit. Households average from five to seven persons, but they vary greatly in size. Most consist of a nuclear family, often supplemented with one or more other close relatives, and function as a single economic unit, sharing the work and resources.

Inheritance. In general, all children inherit equally, although sons, especially eldest sons, are sometimes favored. The oldest, or sometimes the youngest, son (or even the youngest daughter) may stay at home to care for aging parents and inherit the house.

Socialization. The attitude toward young children is very permissive, but older children are much more strictly controlled and disciplined. Boys have somewhat more freedom than girls and, although the tendency is weakening, are likely to get more education. Family solidarity is emphasized over independence, and nurturance/dependency relationships over self-reliance.

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