by Gayane Simonyan
From today Gayane Simonyan, Armenian, who lives and works in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she studies journalism and serves her apprenticeship began working with ISTITUTO EUROPEO’s blogs.
She begins with an article that explores the evolution of the Italian family and Armenian.
But later, on 90s things changed a little bit, father was still in the role of the head of the family but he let his wife manage some issues concerning children. Besides, mother could work outside the family so that she could also contribute to the income of the family.
The objective of getting married was to be independent from the original family. The family was formed based on respect to one another and sharing daily routine by uniting.
Now both sexes are equal: both work and contribute to supporting the entire family. Sometimes it happens so that women both make decisions in the economic aspect, care for the budget management and make decisions concerning their children.
Nowadays the value of love, peaceful family and mutual respect is still in the core of importance. Marriage is only a formality, a simple contract signed by both sides, and the important thing is living together and sharing everyday routines with one another.
Most unmarried children still live with their parents. In Italy parents help their children a lot: the young might work outside their house and their parents or grandparents, especially women, would often help them by watching the children, caring for them, cleaning and cooking.
In this sense, jumping to the typical Armenian family, we can see the similarities and the differences of these two nations. Old Armenian families liked to have many children; each home usually had from 5 to 9 children. The whole tribe of several families could live together in the same house. Most marriages last very long and divorce, separation are new phenomenon and still more or less taboo.
The head of the family was and still somehow is the father. Major economic decisions like buying a car or an apartment, earning money, household repairs and taking out the garbage were his main duties. The mother of the family had a prior responsibility of daily cooking, cleaning, and raising the children. These tasks were strictly followed by the families, even if the woman was actively pursuing a career or trying to some kind of business.
The goal of every Armenian people was to get married and procreate or give birth to many children. No dating, even no agreement from the girl who was getting married. The parents would decide everything and the girl could see her future husband on the wedding ceremony.
The mother or aunt of a young man could see a young lady who would fit her criteria- beautiful, respectful and not too modern- she then manages a visit to the girl's house. The girl's family would guess the goal of the visit, then the girl would be asked to serve coffee and be “judged” on her grace and favor. The young man would talk about his future projects for work, the properties he owned, the sum of money he earned and he would be judged by girl’s family on his potential to be a breadwinner, and then the visitors would leave. If the guy liked the girl, he would call her father and ask for a permission to marry her. Typically the girl’s father was the one to decide whether to marry her that boy or not.
Now changes are quite noticeable: young couples are dating for a while. In many families, the old tradition of the parents looking for a wife for their son still prevails but only in “deaf villages”. The average number of having children is 1-3. The head of the family can be a woman as well but generally it’s men’s role. The other duties they share: women can run their own business and make more money that men do, women can also have a car, buy an apartment, work and make career. A man's elderly parents can live in the household. In this case grandparents usually take care of the babies; take them to kindergarten, to school and grandmother usually helps the wife with cleaning and cooking. In old times it was typical for the mother-in-law to criticize their bride's services and abilities and the woman had to shut up. Now such cases are rare, even vice versa- mother-in-laws are afraid of doing something wrong in front of their bride.
Like Armenian families, in Italian families today are made up of one or two children. Changes are substantial: reduction in the number of new births which has led to an increase in the number of couples who don’t have children; a decrease in the number of marriages, and a growth in the number of divorces.
Additionally, another type of family is now widespread all over Italy and Armenia, the so-called reconstituted family, where a member of the family, usually the man, lives in other parts of the country or in another country because of work.
Italy has gone through an important revolution in the types of family models: the social revolution has affected mostly women being independent and focused on their own careers rather than thinking of family formation. This brought to new types of families: families made up of singles, unmarried couples, single-parent families and couples without children.
Now boys leave their paternal home later as compared with that of the past. However, in an Italian family (in an Armenian family as well) it’s common to find boys living with their parents before getting married, and continue living under the same roof with their parents even after marriage and be economically dependent on them.
Analyzing the family model of these two countries, Italy and Armenia, we can see that there are numerous similarities and slight differences. And next to the old, traditional model of the family which has dominated for ages, there now coexist new family models that express the economic and social changes the countries has gone through.
As the entire world and the norms it contains continue to change, the family structures change simultaneously, thus, new models of families continue to emerge.