Part II Chapter 1: The Traditional Family

June 8, 2023

Let us first look at some of the characteristics of a traditional family unit.

In former times, when a rural tone of life prevailed, many conditions existed that favoured the harmonic development of the child until it reached adulthood. The crisis of adolescence was almost non-existent. In those days, society was guided by stable and coherent principles. The family was numerous, patriarchal, and hierarchical. It also encompassed collateral branches and frequently included three generations. Here the child felt secure. He could resolve any problem arising between him and his parents without necessarily confronting them directly, since he had recourse to the intercession of many relatives such as older siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc. These could act as intermediaries in any conflict. In this way, problems could fade away, rarely reaching acute emotional stages.

According to Hans Sebald, in his book Adolescence: A Social Psychological Analysis, in this type of family the child can also more easily find its role models and companions:

The traditional family was able to provide a number of adults who could serve as significant models. This was possible not only because there were more individuals in the family but also because their work performance was more visible…. In the large, traditional family the child usually grew up with peers who were of his or her family group. They were playmates with whom they shared the same sentiments.10

Problems were resolved within the family itself amidst an ambience of comprehension and respect. In his book The Guidance of the Adolescent and the Guidance of North American Youth, José Llopis says:

When a family is united, understanding, loving, self-sacrificing, sharing, where one’s needs are looked after, etc., this family has the strength of an institution that is welcoming and helpful. There is no need to try to find a solution outside the home. Any conflicts that may arise are discussed within the bosom of the family. Until the adolescent reaches an age when he can intervene in every family matter, he tries to resolve his personal problems himself under the watchful eye of the father who, from family tradition, knows how to prohibit what is not convenient.… The influence of a family thus constituted has a great strength and creates an ambience of respect that, as a moderator, avoids many pitfalls.11


10. Hans Sebald, Adolescence: A Social Psychological Analysis, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1992, pp. 159-160.
11. José Llopis, The guidance of the adolescent and the Guidance of North American Youth, Editora Herder, Barcelona, 1965, p. 34.

The Christian Institution of the Family: A Dynamic Force to Regenerate Society, by Tradition, Family, Property Association. Part II, Chapter 1, Pgs. 92-94.


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