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The Role of Daughters in the Latino Culture

by Jaime Vargas-Benitez

The role of daughters in the family is very important in the Latino culture. Latina daughters are expected to learn the domestic tasks of their mothers, grandmothers and aunts. They are also expected to adhere to a stringent system of traditional values reflective of their culture. While there is typically a great deal of pressure on the Latina daughter, she will likely have the love and support of her family as the family unit is top priority in the Latino community.

Obedience

In the Latino culture, there is a high expectation for obedience placed upon daughters. According to the "Journal of Family Psychology," Latin families in general have a deep sense of respect for their elders. This respect is demanded more so from daughters, as sons are given more leeway in their behavior. Latin daughters are raised with the belief that arguing with parents is considered disrespectful and completely unacceptable. Meanwhile, Latin sons are given more freedom to choose what they want to do and when.

Moral Compass

The "Marriage and Family Encyclopedia" discusses the role of the Latin daughter as far as modesty is concerned. The article, "Hispanic-American Families, Latin Family Roles," cites a term used in Latin culture -- "marianismo" -- which means to "be like Mary," as in the Virgin Mary. While sons are expected to have "machismo," which means "macho," daughters are expected to be chaste and virginal.

Caretaker

The article "Gender Socialization in Latino/a Families" says that Latin daughters do not typically leave home until they get married. Traditionally, daughters live with their parents until they are ready to begin their own family. It is the role of the Latin daughter to play caretaker to her parents, then her own family. The family is the top priority to Latin people, and the females in the family are the ones who are raised to keep that priority going strong. In contrast, Latin males may move out and live with friends or other male family members.

Domesticity

In Latin families, tradition dictates women take care of domestic tasks. According to, "Hispanic-American Families, Latino Family Roles," daughters are taught to cook, clean and manage a household. Often in a Latin household, the elders come to live with the family once they cannot live on their own, and it is the elders who help mold daughters into proper Latin women. Grandmothers, mothers and aunts all work together to teach daughters the proper homemaking ways so she can successfully run her household someday. This is how Latin daughters help their families and exhibit respect for their elders.

About the Author

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.

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