The Taiwanese concept of family includes children, parents, extended family, elders and ancestors. Taiwanese often live in small and crowded conditions. As a result they are comfortable sitting or standing close together.

In urban areas, most people have small families. Parents leave their children with grandparents in smaller towns or villages while they live and work in the city. In rural areas, it is common to find two or three generations living together.

In a traditional Taiwanese family, age, gender and generation determine the role that each family member plays. For example, the father is the breadwinner and his authority is unquestioned. His primary duty is to be a good son. His roles as husband and father are secondary.

Traditionally, women identified with their husband's family. Wives were expected to be obedient to both their husbands and mothers-in-law. Mothers were expected to take primary responsibility for the care of the children, although the extended family played an important role in child care. Women's increased participation in the work force, rapid economic development and western ideas are challenging many traditional Taiwanese practices.

Did you know?

Taiwan has the second highest population density in the world. In downtown Taichung City, the population density is as high as 32,000 persons per square kilometre.

Taiwanese expect obedience, devotion and respect towards elders. Parents use a combination of gentle persuasion and encouragement for discipline. Showing anger in public is considered a weakness for the Taiwanese. The family's reputation is important in Taiwanese life. The behaviour of each member reflects on the entire family. It is important not to lose face. Taiwanese are uncomfortable seeking help from outside the family. When differences of opinion exist, family members tend to hide their feelings so that they will not offend others.
Did you know?

Taiwanese people put their family name or last name first. For example, everyone's name in the family would start with Chang. The only exception might be the mother, who can choose to keep her maiden name or combine it with her husband's.