What Are the Roles of Each Family Member?

Erik Isakson/Blend Images/Getty Images

In traditional patriarchal society, the father takes on the role of the provider and ultimate decision maker, while the mother cares for the children and handles the family’s daily domestic affairs according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The responsibilities of children change as they grow older, with older siblings generally being expected to take on leadership roles over their younger siblings. These roles are constantly changing and evolving, however.

Ultimately the decision about each member’s role within the family hierarchy and how it best serves the unit is decided by the family. In some families, the mother is the primary provider while the father takes on the role of caring for the children and running the household. In other families, parents share all of the family leadership equally. This means that they both have careers, take equal care of the children and split the domestic responsibilities of maintaining the household. Children exercise varying levels of influence over their parents as well. In some families, parents take great care to cater to their children’s wishes. In such a family structure, children often have more power, because many of the decisions parents make are in consideration of what the children express. In other families, parents are more utilitarian, and the wishes of children are less important in the decision making process.