Family on Focus: Lebanon

Mrs Jocelyne Majdalani gives an account of family life in her hometown of Rawda.

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Mrs Jocelyne Majdalani pictured with her family in Rawda, Lebanon.

Family life is very important in the Lebanese culture. Family functioning is associated with the values of collectivism in the Lebanese society. The Lebanese family is seen as the basic unit of society.

The act of an individual can impact on the perception of their entire family by others.

In a Lebanese family, children live in their parents’ house until they are married or ready to have children of their own. Therefore, parental control extends beyond the age of 18 (the typical western age of independence) and continues to influence a person’s decision-making well into adulthood.

The dynamic of parental discipline entails strict reprimand and correction by the father and overprotection by the mother.

The Lebanese families are extended and bigger than the western families and closer-knit. For example, almost all the family members can meet easily for a Sunday family lunch, or attend a wedding,  birthday party, funeral etc.

Above I used the word 'extended'. By this I mean brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents and grandchildren. Consequently, it isn’t difficult for a mother to raise children until it’s time to go to school (at 3 years of age). This is what makes the Lebanese family so different and distinguished.

However, the economic crisis in Lebanon makes life difficult. The parents have both to work to support their family.

Universities and schools need a lot of money. Life in Lebanon isn’t cheap.




Nowadays, family members communicate much less than before and this is the consequence of the new technology that is invading all the countries. So this is an international issue!

They can be sitting in the same room without talking to each other!

Religion in the Lebanese family is a central part of life. Christian children have religion classes each week and attend mass too. Christianity isn’t the only religion. There are also Muslims and Druzes.

Education is very important too. Children learn to respect others, learn precious values like honesty, loyalty, sharing and caring. In general, when somebody has a problem, we try to listen and help. One cannot remain indifferent. A lot of families, if not all families, have members abroad. There are more Lebanese living outside Lebanon (8-14 million), than within (4 million). There’s always a mother who misses her children who leave for studying or working. The fact that the family unit is still very cohesive in Lebanon, is a treasure in itself.

Child psychology tells you how important a tightly-knit family is for the development of a human being. But this isn’t about psychological theories. It’s about the Lebanese family life that makes it so distinguished because the family unit is not restricted to the parents and siblings. It transcends them to anyone who shares your family name. Living in a Lebanese family sets you up to be a great individual when given the framework to allow such greatness to unfold.

It makes you more aware of the world. It gives you a rich cultural experience to start from. It gives you a strong educational package to build a life upon and gives you a sense of belonging that means you will find an anchor wherever life throws you.

Being Lebanese is something that makes us proud. It is something that I believe has offered us the essential that makes human beings shine and make a life for themselves.


- Mrs Jocelyne Majdalani


Mrs Majdalani is an English teacher at Our Lady of Apostles’ [OLA] College in Rawda, Lebanon


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