Traditions, Values and Young People

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The Italian Family Then and Now

We are childcare high school students from Pontedera in Italy and we have analysed the Italian family with regard to the social, psychological and pedagogical point of view. To understand the changes inside families we have made use of the method of interviews at three different age ranges: seniors, adults and young people Each of us has chosen  three people and has asked them about their own family experiences.

The questions asked were designed to find out the changes wich have taken place inside the Italian family about education and the handed-down traditional values.

This is the result of the questions.


family c. 1930


The family from the seniors' point of view

In 1950, the typical Italian family was composed of a big number of people. Father was the head and he had an authoritarian role. Also he was occupied in the financial management of the family and in cultivating the fields.

The woman, instead, spent lots of her time at home, dedicating herself to the children's’ education and to the house work.

Education in the past was very severe and authoritarian. It was based on religion and on the respect for the rules, values and family traditions which were handed down to the children who, in turn, handed them down to the future generations.

"We never learn about being parents. It is the most difficult job of the world."
I.’s Grandmother, aged 67

Marriage, in the family of the 50s, had a sacred and inviolable value, a union for life based on love and on the existence of a big family with lots of relatives and sons. Many women accepted the tradition of wearing a white dress, a symbol of purity.

The family from the parents' point of view

The family of about twenty years ago appears to be composed of fewer people than in the past.

The father’s role continues to be that of the head of the family but he lets his partner manage the choices regarding children. Mother works outside the family to contribute to the income, too.

The purpose of marriage is considered to be independence from the original family. It is a union for life based on respect and sharing daily things. It is a very important value.

"Marriage is the maximum achievement of love. It’s FOREVER."
I.'s Mother, aged 45


family c. 1970


The family from the young generation's point of view

Over the last generations the parents' roles have become the same. Both parents work and contribute to sopporting the family. Sometimes the woman has the say both in the economic aspect and in the decisions about children.

Education is permissive and open to dialogue. The young of the last decade are almost free. The values of love, family and respect are still important.

Marriage is only a formality, a simple contract. Nowadays the living together and the sharing of every-day routines with the lover are very important.