Family Life

Family is the oldest and the most fundamental social institution of human civilization. Without a family, we won’t be leading a satisfying life as there won’t be anyone with whom we can share our success and failure. A family gives us the strength we need during our difficult times and enjoys the achievements or successes with us. Family relationships are rarely as easy as we would like, and very often we have to work hard at keeping them peaceful.

Level B1 / B2

Family Relationships Word List

father / dad / daddy; mother mum / mom / mummy / mommy; parents; husband; wife

son; daughter; child; children; first born; childhood; an only child

brother; sister; younger brother; kid brother; older sister; elder sister; brotherhood; sisterhood

twins; twin brother/ twin brothers; twin sister/ twin sisters

a birth mother – a biological mother; a woman who has given birth to a child, as opposed to an adoptive mother

spouse – подружжя;
She agreed readily with her spouse.

offspring – a person’s child or children
She’s the offspring of a scientist and a musician. Their offspring are all very clever. Tom’s sister came round on Saturday with her numerous offspring.

a sibling – a brother or sister
I have four siblings: three brothers and a sister. Have you got any siblings?

identical twin – однояйцевий близнюк
Julia and Lydia are identical twins.

fraternal twin – різнояйцевий близнюк
Candy and Jeff are fraternal twins.

triplets – трійнята
His wife gave birth to triplets. I was amazed when my doctor told me I was going to have triplets.

quadruplets/quads – четвернята
quintuplets/quints – п’ятеро близнят

to bring up children – виховувати дітей
Many women still take career breaks to bring up children. He had old-fashioned ideas on how to bring up children. The growing trend is for single mothers to bring up children by themselves.

to raise children – виховувати дітей
A smaller number of families may raise children. It takes a huge amount of time, effort, and love to raise children.

childcare – догляд за дітьми
Many working women rely on relatives for childcare. Problems with childcare remain the biggest barrier to women succeeding at work. People earning low wages will find it difficult to pay for childcare.

nurture – виховувати, плекати
Parents want to know the best way to nurture and raise their child to adulthood. She wants to stay at home and nurture her children. The study seems to show that nurture is more important than nature in shaping a child’s character and future prospects.

grandfather/grandpa/granddad; grandmother/granny/grandma; grandparent/grandparents; maternal grandfather (дідусь по материнській лінії); paternal grandfather (дід по батьковій лінії)

grandson; granddaughter; grandchild; grandchildren

great-grandfather; great-grandmother; great-grandchild; great-grandson; great-granddaughter; great-grandparent/great-grandparents

extended family – велика родина
My extended family usually gets together at holidays. The role of the extended family has been decaying for some time.

nuclear family – нуклеарна сім’я
A nuclear family is a family consisting of two parents and their children, but not including aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.  The modern nuclear family is a vulnerable and fragile institution.

single-parent family – неповна сім’я
Today we see all sorts of single parent families: headed by mothers, fathers, and even by a grandparent raising their grandchildren. Today single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children.

close-knit family – дружна родина
We are a very close-knit family and support each other through any crises.

lawnmower parents – parents who try to remove all the difficulties that their children might have to deal with
She criticized lawnmower  parents, whotry to come in and smooth out an obstacle in a child’s path.

loving family – любляча сім’я
A loving family environment gives children that sense of stability and permanence which they need. I come from a good and loving family.

biological family – a family and its members who are related by blood
A biological family member is someone to whom you are biologically related, meaning you share genes with them.

childless family – бездітна сім’я
There is an increasing trend towards single-child and childless families.


adoption – усиновлення

adopted son; adopted daughter; adopted child; adoptive father; adoptive mother; to adopt a child

half-brother (half brother); half-sister (half sister)

Half-borther is a brother who is the son of only one of your parents

stepfather – вітчим

stepmother – мачуха
Fortune to one is mother, to another is stepmother. Her stepmother showed her nothing but cruelty.

stepbrother – зведений брат
stepsister – зведена сестра
She’s got a stepbrother and a stepsister.

foster family – прийомна сім’я
The girl has been temporarily placed with a foster family until she can be reunited with her mother. At the age of five, Matthew was placed with a foster family.

foster father; foster mother; foster parents; foster home; foster son; foster daughter; foster child; foster brother; foster sister; to foster a child

orphan – сирота
He has been an orphan since he was five. He was an orphan and lived with his uncle. They adopted an orphan as an heir.

orphanage / orphan house – дитячий будинок
She was brought up in an orphanage.  He donated a large sum of money to the orphanage.

orphanhood – сирітство
Childhood orphanhood is considered a major risk factor for poverty in adulthood.


uncle; aunt; nephew; niece; great-aunt (an aunt of your father or mother); great-uncle

cousin; first cousin; second cousin (a child of a cousin of your mother or father); first cousin once removed (a child of a cousin);

close relatives; distant relatives; blood relatives; on mother’s side/father’s side

closest relatives; nearest relatives; family members; members of the family

my family; my relatives; my folks

next of kin – найближчий родич
The form must be signed by next of kin. Who is your next of kin? May I have your name, address and next of kin, please?

immediate family – найближчі родичі
My immediate family consists of my son and my wife. Her husband and her immediate family live in London.

head of the household – голова домогосподарства; голова сім’ї
The father is the head of the household. Families are classified by the occupation of the head of the household.

kin – родич
All his kin were at the wedding. What kin is he to you? Marriage between close kin is prohibited.

kinfolk – родичі
I sent my other son to the country to stay with kinfolk.

kindred – родич, рід; споріднений
Most of his kindred still live in Ireland. She recognised him as a kindred spirit, with the same happy-go-lucky, questing attitude to life which she herself possessed. The same kindred spirit flows in their veins.

kinship – спорідненість
We tend to feel kinship with those who share the same values. The ties of kinship may have helped the young man find his way in life.

kith and kin – родичі
Kith and kin are people you are connected with, especially by family relationships. Better be blamed by our kith and kin, than be kissed by the enemy. All John’s kith and kin came to his wedding.

Relatives by Marriage

in-law (a parent of your husband or wife or a member of his or her family); father-in-law; mother-in-law

son-in-law; daughter-in-law; brother-in-law; sister-in-law

Note the plural: two sons-in-law; three daughters-in-law; brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law

Note the possessive case: my father-in-law’s house; my sister-in-law’s car

Marital Status and Related Words

single; married; unmarried; engaged; separated; divorced; widowed;

to marry; to get married; marriage; marriage contract; registered partership; tie the knot; start a family

husband; wife; helpmate; married couple; husband and wife; spouse/spouses; significant other; well-matched couple; same-sex couple

married man; unmarried man; bachelor (холостяк)

married woman; unmarried woman; spinster; single mother; maiden name

widow; widower; grass widow (a woman who spends a lot of time apart from her partner, often because he or she is working in a different place); grass widower

fiancé; fiancée; engagement; engagement ring; get engaged; husband-to-be; wife-to-be

bride; bridegroom (groom); bridesmaid; best man;

wedding; wedding ring; wedding cake; newlyweds; honeymoon;

divorce; alimony; ex-husband; ex-wife; divorce rate; child support; child custody;

girlfriend; boyfriend; in a relationship; start/have/end a relationship with somebody

get on well with; lose interest; live in fear; conform to rules; break up; have and argument/a disagreement/a row

matrimony – шлюб
They will soon be joined in matrimony. Matrimony is responsibility, if you get ready for it, don’t try to test.

wedlock – шлюб
My wife likes our wedlock. Their wedlock is a happy marriage. They laughed at her because she was born out of wedlock.

nuptial – весільний
The bride and groom returned together to the front seat for the nuptial Mass. Their nuptial day hasn’t been determined.

breadwinner – годувальник
Men are often expected to be the breadwinner in a family. Women in the past have been content to let the man be the breadwinner and head of household.

child custody – опіка над дітиной
Child custody is the protective care or guardianship of someone. Child custody is normally granted to the mother. He gave her specialist child custody advice and helped her win legal aid for her court battle.

Age Groups

boy, girl; male child; female child; man, woman

child; baby; newborn baby; infant (a very young child or baby); infancy (дитинство); toddler (a young child who is just beginning to walk); little boy; little girl; kid; childhood

teenager; teenage boy; teenage girl; adolescent (підліток); adolescence (підлітковий вік); juvenile (неповнолітній)

young boy; youngster (a child, young person); youth (the period between childhood and adult age; a young man); lad (хлопець); young girl

young man; young woman; adult; grown-up

in her early twenties; in his late thirties; in their mid fifties; at the age of

middle-aged man; middle-aged woman; old man; old woman

senior members of the family; younger members of the family

Other Related Words

ancestor – предок
progenitor – 
forefather – 
descendant –
hereditary – 
heir –
heiress – 
inherit – 
inheritance –
generation – 
generation gap – 
конфлікт поколінь
posterity – 

family tree; genealogy; family history; clan; lineage (родовід); matriarch; patriarch; monogamy

date of birth; place of birth; birthplace

birthday; birthday party; birthday presents

pregnancy; childbirth; the baby is due in June; birth; surrogate mother; be expecting a child

guardian (опікун); godfather; godmother; godson; goddaughter; godchild

nursery (дитячі ясла); creche (ясла); day-care center; nursery school; kindergarten; nanny; babysitter

illness, sickness, disease

die; pass away; death; funeral; burial; cemetery; graveyard; grave

Speak About Your Family and Family Relationships

Use these sample answers.

Do you have a large or small family?

I come from a large family. Now, I just have my mom, an older and three younger brothers. Sadly, my father passed away 17 years ago. So, now I am the only daughter in the family.

How much time do you spend with your family?

For now, I live alone in another city far from my family, so, I am only able to spend about two weeks per year with them.

What do you like to do together as a family?

My family enjoys cooking together and afterwards having special meals when everyone is invited. We catch up on news and talk about our lives. We enjoy music as well. So, when we get together, we play several musical instruments and sing along.

Do you get along well with your family?

Sure. We are really close to each other. I am happy that I can tell them literally anything. They are always there to listen when I have problems.

Is yours a typical family?

I can say that, yes, our family is a typical one. A family, who stays by each other through good times and bad times.

Are there many different types of family in your country?

Yes, types of families vary in terms of the size of the household. There are small families with one or two children and large families with about eight or more children. Sometimes, parents decide to adopt a child without relatives.

Who are you closest to in your family?

I am the closest to my mom. I think it is because we are the only women in the family. So, we share the same ideas about many things and she always supports me.

In what ways have families in your country changed in recent?

The roles of husbands and wives have changed in recent years. Both spouses have been more open to perform different roles, such as seizing various job opportunities or being more involved in the household. Another change, I think, is the trend to have less children. Parents nowadays think of having smaller families due to high cost of living and career perspectives.

Should husbands and wives have different roles within the family? Why (not)?

 Traditionally, husbands and wives had had clear-cut roles in society. Husbands used work and fulfill financial needs of the family, while women were expected to take care of the house. Changes had occurred over time and both husbands and wives started to take part in each of these roles. I think this change is rather positive. It is not necessary to sharply define each role. I reckon, whatever role family members take, they should always move in the same direction and pursue what is best for the family itself.

Which are more important to you: your family or your friends?

Both are fairly important, but my family takes place in my life that is dear to my heart. Friends may come and go, but I know that my family will always be there for me, no matter what happens in my life and no matter what decisions I take. Nevertheless, my friends are the closest people with whom I can share and discuss things that sometimes are not appropriate to bring up in the family circle.

Describe the person in your family who you most admire. You should say:

  • what their relationship is to you
  • what they have done in their life
  • what they do now
  • and explain why you admire them so much.

The person I admire the most, not just in my family but in the whole world, is my mom. She is a great wife and a wonderful mother. She is loving, caring, open-minded and very understanding.

I love how she looks at things. She is very optimistic. I love her courage in raising me and my brothers well, since my father passed away. She has been a single mom for about 17 years and did her best to act both a mother and father to us. She would always stood up for us.

My mom resigned from work few years after my father died. Her reason was to spend much more time with the family, especially when we were growing up. She felt the need to guide us physically and emotionally. She then started her own business, which she is still running.

I love her so much. She is not just a mom but also a mentor and a friend.