25 Indonesian Family Values – Attitudes

All around the world, every family has their own values that have been instilled into their lives for generations.Values are important to a family’s structure since it sets the foundation for moral codes and ethics. A family from a country might have different values with a family that comes from an entirely different country.

Indonesian families are no exception to that idea. Below are 25 Indonesian Family Values. Reading these might help you understand what family means to Indonesians.

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1. Give Family Good Name

One must always try to carry on the good name of the family. The name here means the perception of other people about the entire family. It is an act of showing face to the public. Nobody wants to have a bad family reputation. Nobody wants their good reputation to be tarnished either. Each family member must act appropriately so that the family name will always be good.

2. Honour the Parents

Parents are highly respected family members. Parents are the very first people who give the children life and fulfil their livelihood. Since they fill in an important role in the family structure, the children are expected to always honour their parents. It is seen as a way of thanking them for everything that they have done.

3. Loyal to Family Members

Indonesians highly value loyalty. Each family member is expected to be loyal with each other. This loyalty to family must always comes first before being loyal to anyone else. The value of loyalty builds trust and strengthen connection with each family member. Any kinds of disloyalty could result in a severe estrangement.

Read: Wedding Etiquette in Indonesia

4. Look After the Older Family Members

Sometimes the older family members still live in the same house with the other members of the family. The reason behind this is the culture of looking after the older members. They should not be forgotten, left alone or discarded in any way. The young ones must try their best to accommodate the older members and fulfil their needs.

5. Provide Financial Assistance

Although the adults are able to have financial stability on their own, they are still expected to provide financial assistance to the older members. This financial aid will help the older members to carry on with their lives. This could somehow put pressure on some people but most are okay with it. They don’t usually mind the extra hard work they have to do. They see it as a gesture of giving back to those who have cared for them before.

6. Help Raise Siblings

The young adults in the family who have successfully secured a job or who have a stable income usually contribute to the wellbeing of their siblings. They are expected to help the parents or their elders in the case of raising their siblings. This could mean sparing some of their time to give attention to the siblings. Other than that, they can also help to pay for their education or give allowance money.

7. Strong Contact with Extended Family Relatives

Although the core family members should keep close contact with each other, that does not mean alienating the extended family members. Strong contact must still be maintained with the extended family relatives no matter how far away they are. Extended family members still share the same blood and are still a part of the bigger family.

Read more: Dining Etiquette in Indonesia

8. Calling Older Family Members with Appropriate Titles 

Another thing about the Indonesian family value is how each family call one another. Since the younger ones must always respect the older members, they are not allowed to casually call the elders with their first name. They must either use the appropriate titles when addressing the family members. These titles include bapak which means Sir and ibu which means madam. Another term used is kakak for older sibling or relative and adik for younger ones.

9. Advice from the Elders Must be Respected

There is another form of the respect value in Indonesian family. That involves listening patiently to what the older family members are telling them. Sometimes the elders like to tell stories about their young years or particular experiences. These stories are meant to be some sort of advice or moral value for the young ones. As a way of respect, the young ones must listen to what they have to say.

Also read: Social Etiquette in Indonesia

10. Older Members of the Family Become Role Models 

The family value usually places a certain pressure on the young ones since they have to respect and obey. However, the older members must also face the pressure of becoming role models to the young ones. Whether they want to or not, they have to set good examples to the young ones. They might not like the spotlight but it is always clear that the young ones do look up to everything they do.

11. Family Often Determine Status and Identity

In Indonesia, family often determine the status and identity of everyone in the family as a whole. In that case, it is important for everyone to uphold that status and identity. A misstep might cause losing a certain status or identity that the family have gained from years of generation. The status and identity of a family is important in Indonesia because it can give certain advantages or a sense of belonging.

12. Infants are Kept Close to the Mothers

When there is an infant in an Indonesian family, then it is important for that infant to be kept at a close range with the mother. The mother is certainly expected to cater to every needs of the infant. Also, the mother usually carry the infant everywhere she goes. The reason for this is to build a connection between the mother and the infant. When the infant grows into a child, it is hoped that the connection between them will become stronger.

Read more: Children Labour in Indonesia

13. Family Must Support Each Other

Even though each of the family member has his or her own personality, they must always come together and support one another. Conflict may arise but that should not cause a major rift in the relationship that the family has built. Each family member must put aside their egos so that they continue to help each other no matter what happens.

14. Working Adults Still Live with the Parents

Most of the time, a fully working adult may still be allowed to live with the parents. There are various reasons for this. One of them is that they might not have the financial means to own their own house. Another reason could be that they still want to live with the parents and look after them. Some might find it hard to leave their parents behind out of love or respect.

15. Young Ones Should Not Talk Back to the Elders

In an Indonesian family, it is very rude when there is a younger family member who talks back to the elders. The young ones should know his or her manners. They are expected to behave with respect to the elders. Talking back or provoking a fight with the older family members is seen as an inacceptable behaviour.

16. The Oldest Male Becomes the Head of the Family

In Indonesia, the traditional way of family is that the male becomes the head of the family. This means that he is hugely responsible for the financial needs of the family. He is also responsible for keeping a harmonious relationship between family members.

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17. The Female Member Holds a Special Role

Usually, the female members of the family is expected to know how to cook, clean and cook. This role is put upon the female member since the male is the head of the family and he is expected to be busy with work. Since the male member is away, the female must be able to keep the house tidy and in order.

18. Obedient to Older Family Members

Most of the time, age is a very important factor in a family structure. The young ones must be obedient to the older family members. When the older family tells the young one to do something then he or she must do it without asking too much questions.

19. Young Ones are Pampered

The young ones in the family are usually pampered. The reason for this is mostly out of love. However, sometimes the child could become spoilt and the parents will have to draw a line or a limit to the child’s behaviour.

20. Parents Give Allowance to Teenagers

In Indonesian family, the parents still actively provide allowance for the teenagers. The teenager may already have a job but the parents still want the kid to focus on school and provide money for his or her needs.

Also read: Gift Giving Etiquette in Indonesia

Other Indonesian Family Values (21-25)

There are also more Indonesian Family Values than the ones mentioned already. Continue to read the values below to find out more:

  • Young Sibling Must Respect the Older Sibling: The young sibling is expected to respect the older sibling in the family. The siblings might still have banters or fight every now and then. However, the young one is still expected to show respect to the older one.
  • Passing Down Belongings: Most of the time, the belongings of the older family member will be passed down to the young ones. This happens a lot between siblings. The passing down of belongings usually help to save money.
  • Communal Belonging: Other than passing down belongings, all the materials inside the household usually belongs to everyone. Indonesian family is big on sharing things. Family members are free to borrow things from each other as long as they respectfully ask for permission first.
  • Give Greetings: Family members are expected to give greetings when they arrive or leave the house. Most family also greet each other by putting the hands of the older ones briefly to their face, the cheek or forehead.
  • Keeping Contact: When a family member is away, he or she must always keep in touch with the other family member. This is to avoid losing the strong family bond.

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All these values show how much a family means to Indonesians. There are certainly rules and boundaries that are not to be crossed but everyone still loves each other.