Kinship. Kinship is cognatic, with the nuclear family (or less frequently the stem family) as the coresidential group. Residence patterns in rural areas tend to virilocality, whereas in larger towns and urban areas uxorilocality or neolocality are more frequent. Social ties with other cognatic kin living in close physical proximity are significant, but friendship networks and ties of voluntary association also structure everyday interaction in important ways. In modern Norway, no kin-based corporate group exists beyond the nuclear family.
Marriage. After confirmation at about age 14, young Norwegians begin to engage in sexual relations in their mid-to late teens. At formal engagement, sexual relations are openly sanctioned and accompanied by partial or complete cohabitation. Pregnancy is the most common stimulus for marriage. Men are typically 25-30 years of age at marriage and women are typically 20-25 years of age. The divorce rate is relatively low, but it is rising. Personal friction and alcoholism are the most frequently cited reasons for divorce.
Domestic Unit. The nuclear or stem family is the prevalent domestic unit. The stem family consists of a married pair and their unmarried children, plus the parent or parents of one of the spouses. These grandparents often live in a small separate apartment in the same house or in a small separate building near the main house.
Inheritance. Traditional Norwegian inheritance patterns were based on both odelsrett (a principle of primogeniture and patriliny) and asetesrett (a principle of equal inheritance of all children). In practice in rural areas, eldest sons inherited farms, together with an obligation to pay monetary compensation to other siblings.
Socialization. Norwegian adults consider children as independent individuals who will not be very much influenced by adults, and thus they have a correspondingly democratic approach to child rearing. Harsh discipline, especially corporal punishment, is discouraged, with discussion used as a substitute. Early physical independence is not especially encouraged, but it is welcomed. Avoidance of direct confrontation characterizes relationships. Children construct role models on the behavior of adults rather than on the instructions adults give them for behavior.