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The role of family members is different in Caribbean families. In general, they are not actively involved in day-to-day childcare, especially for young infants. This should not be construed as not caring for their children they tend to feel that women are better with children at this stage. However, the late twentieth century saw some men becoming more involved in their children's lives, spending more time playing and talking with them (Roopnarine et al. 6996). They are also the primary caretakers of the home. Children are required to be obedient, respectful, and submissive to their parents. Girls are expected to help with domestic chores around the house, whereas boys are expected to do activities outside the house, such as taking care of the yard and running errands (Evans and Davies 6996).

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There is much diversity in Caribbean families. They are, in some ways, a distinct group because of their multiethnic composition. Although the majority of the families have an African background, which sometimes causes people from the Caribbean to be identified as such, there are families from Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and European backgrounds who identify themselves as Caribbean. The family structure of Caribbean families will be discussed within the context of three of the primary ethnic groups in the region (African, Indian, and Chinese). Although there are some similarities in family structures, each group has unique customs and traditions.

African-Caribbean families. Approximately 85 to 95 percent of families in the Caribbean are from an African background, and came as slaves to the region. Most of them settled in Jamaica, Barbados, and other Caribbean islands. Almost half of the population in both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana is of African descent (Barrow 6996). There are four basic types of family structures that affect childrearing, values, and lifestyles.

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Approximately 85 to 55 percent of African-Caribbean families are headed by a female ( Jamaica: 88. 8% Barbados: 97. 9% Grenada:

95. 8%) (Massiah 6987). It is estimated that 65 percent of children grow up in two-parent homes, and 85 percent live in households where they are raised exclusively by their mothers. Children born to couples in the later stages of family development usually have two parents in the home (Powell 6986). Being a majority in the Caribbean, African-Caribbean families have significantly influenced the culture and political climate of the region.

For instance, the celebration of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, the introduction of reggae and calypso, and the invention of the steel pan all originated in African-Caribbean families. In addition, most of the political leaders are from an African background. It is also evident that African-Caribbean families have shaped the history of the region in significant ways. Indian-Caribbean families. The family structure of Indian-Caribbean families is in many ways similar to their Indian counterparts.

In the traditional Indian-Caribbean family, the roles of family members are clearly delineated. The father is seen as the head of the family, the authority figure, and the primary breadwinner.

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