Marriage. Infant betrothal, marriage of bilateral cross cousins living in separate hamlets, and exchange of siblings are customary although not always practiced. After a variable period of uxorilocal residence with bride-service and marriage gifts of valuable tools, the groom takes his bride back to a house he has built in his father's community. Men sometimes take an immature girl as wife, but marriage is not consummated before her menarche. If the father of the desired woman refuses to give his daughter, he may be killed and the couple elope. Polygyny, especially sororal, is not uncommon, and both levirate and sororate are encouraged. Amahuaca limit family size with contraceptives, abortion, infanticide, and fosterage. Older siblings and orphans are often adopted or fostered by relatives, but foster children are sometimes treated as slaves.
Domestic Unit. The basic unit of residence, production, and consumption is the nuclear family. Co-wives usually occupy separate houses.
Inheritance. With the exception of a few irreplaceable metal tools and weapons, scarcely any property is inherited.
Socialization. Small children are allowed extreme freedom in play, even with machetes and fire. Discipline is limited to neglect, ridicule, threats, brusquely pushing one who is a nuisance, and brushing with a needlelike plant, immediately followed by cuddling and comforting. Much is learned by watching adults and listening to men repeat myths and legends, but puberty signals a period of formal instruction in hunting skills for boys and household duties for girls. Before being considered adult, a boy is encouraged to dream of being instructed by the spirit of an animal alter ego. He must also build a house, clear a garden plot, and succeed in hunting.