In traditional Portuguese families, members' individual roles were
clearly outlined. The father used to be considered superior to his wife and children.
While the father was the breadwinner, the mother cared for the children and the home.
Today Portuguese gender roles are less defined as women challenge cultural norms and
children have increased opportunities to make their own choices. Children have a lot
of freedom outside the home. Due to financial constraints, however, most children do
not leave their homes until they marry and have their own families.
Extended family ties are strong and communication with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents is encouraged. Often, grandmothers become involved in child rearing. The elderly are highly respected. It is unusual for a family to place an elderly member in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home. The aged are cared for within the household by the daughter or daughter-in-law.
Divorce was once forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal. During the 1960s divorce became more frequent. After the Revolution in 1974, divorce was finally allowed even when the marriage had been performed by a priest or minister in a church.
Although most Portuguese wear modern clothes, some rural people dress in a style similar to that of their ancestors. The men wear berets, baggy shirts and trousers. The women might wear long dresses and shawls. In some parts of Portugal people dress entirely in black or other dark colours for everyday activity, wearing brightly coloured costumes only for special occasions.