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- Category: Philippine Culture
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It is believed that young people should not marry before they have completed some kind of educational preparation for a career so that they will be economically self-sufficient. They also should be sufficiently mature to assume the responsibilities of raising a family. The typical age for marriage is thus 20-25 years for Filipino women and 25-30 years for men. Once married, Filipinos are expected to start their families within a year or so. The birth of a child fixes the ties between the married couple's respective families. The bond of marriage also is considered permanent; Catholicism and Philippine law prohibit divorce except among Muslims and some unassimilated groups (PAPEP, 1982).
Although the father may be ostensibly perceived as the main authority figure in the nuclear family, the mother has considerable authority and influence. She generally controls the finances, may work full time (even with many children at home), and earns as much as or more than half the family income. Women enjoy high status in the family and in the society at large. Bilateral lineage attests to this higher status of Filipinas compared with women in more patriarchal Asian countries. The long accepted phenomenon of the working mother in the Philippines thus does not pose a drastic role change as it does for other recent Asian immigrant families in the United States. The roles and relationships between men and women are further reflected in family decision making processes. Family authority is based on respect for age, regardless of sex. Family decisions are made only after a consensus has been reached to ensure that the ultimate decision will be representative of and acted on by all family members. Family disagreements are avoided, if possible; when disagreements do occur, they are kept strictly within the family (PAPEP, 1982). Children are the center of the parent's concerns. They are viewed as an extension of the family and recipients of the family's good fortune. Many adults may assume responsibility for a child within a family but do not strictly adhere to the Confucian expectation of unquestioning child obedience. Parents are expected to persuade a child to accept their point of view, rather than impose their authority on the child without consideration for the child's preferences or wishes. The child, in turn, is expected to show proper respect and obedience, to compromise, and to maintain good relationships with all other family members.