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1. Introduction

Generally family is a community of two or more people where parents try to bring up their children as best as they can. The main mission of the family is to stay together forever in good and bad times and support each other in all ways of their lives.

But for me family means a place where I can always come to search for help, understanding and loving care. It is a place where no matter what happened before I will be always welcomed and where I will always find home and feel safe. Everything begins when two young people decide to get married. At first they get engaged and become a fiancé and fiancée. The wedding day means for families the start of the new relationships. First two young people become a husband and a wife. This is the base for a new family but of course these young people suddenly face their new in-laws. Parents-in-law are the closest relatives. They are always ready to help to newlyweds but they also might be a disaster for them. Then there are siblings from both sides of the couple – sisters and brothers-in-law. Their children are nephews and nieces who always like visiting their uncle and auntie especially when there’s a new-born baby. It becomes a habit to have the godparents for a baby. It is usually a couple but not necessarily from among the closest family. Also good friends can be asked. These two people should be reliable and responsible people because if anything happens to parents and children become orphans they might be the ones who will bring them up. This only happens in the worst case. Normally godparents spoil their godchildren with sweets and nice things. And as the children grow and settle down in their own families their parents become grandparents. They help to keep an eye on their grandchildren, take them for a holiday and turn back their memories when they had children and were bringing them up. 2. Family status

As I said at the beginning family is a big community where we can find many different people and their life stories. So it’s natural that all these people have different marital status.

A person who isn’t married or engaged is single. That means that he/she doesn’t have any commitments. They can enjoy their freedom. Before two people get married they get engaged. Then we can talk about fiancé and fiancée. These two are expected to become husband and wife. After the wedding day two people become husband and wife.

They have common surnames and commitments.

When they become older, naturally one person dies. This could happen accidentally as well. The woman becomes a widow and man is a widower.

In the different case when two married people don’t share the same ideas about the way of life they can divorce each other. Then their marital status is divorced.

After the death of a wife or a husband or divorce - people can get married again. Then they are remarried.

And those who are not lucky in a searching the life partner and they’ve crossed the age about 27 – 30 years we called a spinster or a bachelor.

In all these statues you have a different position. But there are some disadvantages and advantages of being single or married. It depends on every person which position he/she prefers best.

On one hand if you are single you have a lot of spare time and you don’t have to cook for anybody. You can keep your money for yourself if you don’t support your parents or someone else. You are independent and you can carry out your things on your own. You don’t have to care for other members of family.

On the other hand you still look for your future partner which becomes harder and harder as you turn older. The main problem of being single is that your parents try to organize your spare time. They think that if you are still single you still belong to them. Sometimes it’s also hard when you have to deal your housework on your own. And you often feel sad or empty because you don’t have anybody round to talk to or to look after. But if you are married you feel quite contented and happy. Partners help each other to solve various problems. They have common interests and hobbies and they spend a lot of time together. They bring up children together which is always easier than to bring up children on her/his own. You don’t feel alone because there’s always something going on in the family. And at last you have a feeling that someone needs you. On the other hand you have almost no free time for yourself. You’ve got to take care of eating, washing and many different things in your household what can drive you mad from time to time. The most important thing in the marriage is to adjust to your life partner and to your children and to their needs. But whole life is about giving and getting simply about sharing. 3. Important events

Among important events, which happen in the family, we can consider birth as one of the most important ones.

Giving someone a new life is a wonderful thing and it is also a beginning of a new experience. There is always a big rush in the family and parents of a new-born baby start to prepare themselves for Christening.

Christening is important from a religious point of view. Godparents should educate their godchildren and they should be able to look after them at any time or to become their foster parents.

As years go by and child grows up there comes another big break for her/him. It’s the first day at school. When I was about six years old my parents gave me my first proper school bag and a lot of coloured pencils and ink pen as well. It was a big moment for me. In the opening ceremony older school mates gave us some flowers and sweets and we went to our new classrooms and after all my mum took me and my sister to a confectionery were I could choose anything I wanted to.

Before students take their leaving exams they organize a green ribbon party. It takes part in November or December. Students send the greetings to their friends and family members. Together with their headteacher book a hall in a hotel or a restaurant and invite the teachers, headmaster, parents and friends to enjoy this moment with them. Nowadays it’s quite popular to go abroad and students receive their green ribbons somewhere in a fancy place. But if they don’t go anywhere first there’s an official ceremony where students sing student’s anthem Gaudeamus Igitur and receive a green ribbons from their headteacher. Green ribbon is a symbol of hope that leaving exams will be successfully passed. They wear it on coats to show that they’ll take their leaving exams. After an official part students show off themselves in an entertaining program. People dance a lot, has a nice supper and a lots of cakes. This party usually finishes on the other day early in the morning.

A few months after a green ribbon party, becomes another big day for the students and their parents. Students take their leaving exams. After two weeks of torture students have an official ceremony and they can decide whether they want to continue with their studies or they want to get employed. Families usually organize a small party with a lot of food and only close relatives are invited. Students normally receive the presents from parents and grandparents sometimes from godparents, too.

After the graduating the university, school organizes an official graduation ceremony where successful students get a degree in a subject they’ve studied.

After this official ceremony where teachers, students and their close family take part, relatives with their student go to the restaurant for a big dinner which was booked a few days before. From the students point of view this means a big relieve but for their parents it means a spending a fortune for the food, flowers, presents and other things.

Among other important events becomes birthday. This is usually an organized party
where friends and relatives are invited. They congratulate you on your birthday,
give you a personal presents and of course a delicious birthday cake with candles in it. We usually have some wine and a lot of food and have a good time together. Parents take
a lot of photos to immortalize such an important moment in their family. When someone
can’t come for some reason they simply send a birthday card with a birthday wish in it. I could mention other important events, which happen in family but the most
important ones are wedding and birth of a child as I’ve said at the beginning.

4. Birth

Before baby born there’s always a big rush around in the family. Looking after a new-born baby is considered as full time job where both parents have their own roles. Two months before childbirth mother stays on a maternity leave. For first six months she is paid 90 % of her salary and then up to three years she gets only a part which is about 3,000,- Sk. After three years she gets only social benefits.

At the beginning of a maternity leave partners make sure that almost everything is ready for a new arrival. They have to buy a lots of new equipment such as cot, pram, pushchair or buggy and the carrycot. Then when the child is bigger she/he needs a high chair to sit in. Then there are various things for feeding and soothing the baby such as dummies, feeding bottles, special bowls and dinner set and toys, too.

After the birth mother stays in a hospital for several days. When she gets home with a new-born baby, she stuck in one circle for a long time. First she has to face all those visitors who want to congratulate her and see the baby. These are the first days. But after all the haste calms down the main thing for mother is to breastfeed the baby later she can slowly start with the bottle-feeding. She has to change the nappies and if she uses the cotton ones she has to launder it, too. Soothing the baby is the most difficult thing so mother can take the baby in her arms or put him/her to the pram or dummy can be very useful or she can try singing the lullabies.

There are many different ways to soothe the baby and it depends on mother how is she able to reach the best effect.

Despite all these things mother has to find some spare time to go out for a walk, to play with the baby, to educate her/him and look after the baby’s health.

So if you imagine doing all these things twenty-four hours a day including running the household you can see that it’s quite difficult and tiring. But there are some mothers who don’t want to stay at home with their new-born baby but they want to pursue their own career. In this case the families which can afford it have an au-pair. But there’s a big danger that mother can easily loose the touch with her own child. In Slovakia this isn’t so common and mothers try to spend as much time as it’s possible with their own children. 5. Wedding

Wedding is a big day for two people who decided to get married. Before the wedding day a lot of preparations have to be done. First of all young couple should get this resolution to know to all their family and friends so they choose the form of wedding announcement and wedding invitation and get them printed. Then they have to book a hotel or a restaurant where the wedding reception will take a part then flowers, the bouquet for the bride has to be done, DJ or live band, photographer and the bus and cars should be booked, cakes can be ordered or home-made. Bride can book her wedding dress or she can have it done or simply she can borrow it.

The future husband should buy a wedding rings. Before the wedding day bride and bridegroom have the separate parties to farewell with their freedom. The bride’s friends organize a hen party only for women and bridegroom’s friends organize a stag party just for the men. The official part is organized in a registry office and it can continue in a church. There are many people who take part in this official ceremony such as bride’s maids who are usually small girls carrying bride’s trail then the best man and wedding guests and friends. The unofficial ceremony is a wedding reception where wedding guests as well as bride and bridegroom have a nice meal and drinks and they enjoy themselves. This wedding reception lasts to the late morning hours. After the wedding day young married couple goes on a honeymoon. 6. Married couples

Starting one’s family is a very serious thing. When two people decide to join their lives together they should know each other well in any way. The best age for to get married is in the twenties, but nowadays this age has increased. Everything depends on two persons whether they feel mature enough for such a big step in their lives. It’s more common that two young people prefer to live together for couple of months or even years so they can leave each other at any time.

Marriage isn’t so important for them and the idea of living with one person for good isn’t very popular between young people. That’s why the number of marriages has dropped.

Of course that starting a family isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean only fun but usually at the beginning parents support and help their children because they feel responsible for them. But newlyweds should be strong enough to pass over their own problems alone because they’ll have to definitely face a lot of troubles. They will have some sunny days such as a birth of their child, success in career and many others but there’ll be some rainy ones as well. Those can come when they won’t know each other well but on the other side life can bring some unexpected situations. The main problems solved among the married couples are a jealousy, infidelity, alcoholism or drugs, violence, gambling or serious and sometimes fatal diseases and life accidents. But if partners take their marriage seriously their sunny days should overweight the rainy ones.

Another important decision solves the question whether to have children or not. Average Slovak family has two or three children. But it has started to be normal in young families to have one or no children at all. The economic situation is so bad that young people can hardly afford to pay for the basic things not to support also the baby.

But it’s a dream of every woman to have a child. Not all of us want a big family but if you have one, you can be sure that your children will never stay alone after the death of their parents. They will never feel lonely because there’s always someone around, but on the other side they’ll become more independent because they have to do many things on their own or with a little help of their parents. Children won’t be so selfish because they have to share a lot among themselves and older ones can look after the younger siblings. And from parents´ point of view they don’t have to buy so many clothes to younger children because older siblings can pass the clothes to younger ones. On the other side the big family means the big costs of living. Members of the family don’t have much privacy and it’s hard for you to find a private nook. From time to time it’s hard for parents to find a free time for their children and sometimes they don’t listen to them. And older children won’t always have the will to look after their younger siblings. Another thing is that older children sometimes can’t continue their studies at university but they have to start their jobs in young age to help their parents to support the family.

So if somebody wants to have a small family they won’t have any financial problems and they should be able to give their child whatever she/he wants. They don’t have to work long hours to keep their household running so they can give every second of their spare time to their only child. And if we take it in global, a small family cuts down a world population.

There are also some disadvantages of having a small family. It can easily happen that the only child can have a bad behaviour and he/she won’t care about the money. It can be harder for the child to get on well with people or to get knows someone new. She/he can depend on the parents a lot and after the death of both parents, mainly child stays on his/her own. Sometimes without any relatives.

Single parent family is a family where is one parent missing. There are many reasons why do couples split up. Sometimes the partner can be involved in an accident and died or could have fatal disease. But partners often split up because one of them is a heavy drinker or gambler or is violent or very jealousy.

Well as the matter of fact it’s always hard to face the problems on your own with children and it is a tragedy when the family splits up and only one parent takes over the responsibility for everything.

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