Family life is quite important in Germany, not only for parents but for every
single member. Families mostly consist of four persons. Relatives live in different
places and they only come around because of important reasons like birthdays,
christmas, easter etc.
German teenagers spend their life living with their family until about the
age of 19 - because of that they often aren't as independent as they should
be facing the 20th birthday. But most parents aren't very strict concerning
going out in the evenings, meeting friends or the amount of their pocket-money.
Usually it's the mother who allows and forbids them to do something, while
the father is at work and competent for earning money. Because of that it is
obvious that children often have to help in the household after school in the
afternoon or on weekends. For example they help by washing up the dishes, preparing
meals, cleaning the rooms or just please their mother by doing regularly their
homeworks or cleaning their own rooms.
Until the age of 12, german children depend a lot on their siblings, then they
are often separated by reasons like different schools, for example. They don't
know each other anymore and go their own way. During the childhood, families
do a lot of excursions for the weekends but later the time they spend together
becomes less. Youngsters are often of the opinion that their parents don't
understand their thoughts and feelings anymore. That's why they don't even
take the opportunity to tell them about the problems they need to cope with.
Sometimes they also think it's embarassing to talk and discuss with them about
topics like the other sex, parties, fashion and so on. While they used to go
on holiday with the whole family before, they start to even go abroad alone
with youth organisations for a few weeks when they are approximately 16. Growing
up is always a difficult process for children and also for their parents. But
in spite of all, they try to keep up the family traditions and to stick to
At first - when the sons and daughters have found their own home, they think
it's a great feeling being selfcontained and not having to obey anyone. However,
within the next month they begin to realize they seem to miss the warmth of
the family somehow - which could be the meals their mother always used to cook
for them, the crying little brother or sister, the sound of the doorbell when
their father returns from work in the evening and so on.
Then they sometimes start to build up their own family, the next generation.
The parents, earlier known as "Mama" and "Papa", now become "Oma" and "Opa" but
they still have an important role: The babies and infants love to visit and
play with them. Furthermore, grandparents always have sweets and extra-money
When german grandparents have to rely on the new "Mama" and "Papa" (=
their children), they can nearly always count on their financial, psychial
and physical help and trust in them. Now "Mama" and "Papa" somehow
have four persons to look after, which also means they have a big family and
that's what they have always wanted.