For Students: Talking about family
Updated: Mar 1
Do you look more like your mum or dad? What about when they were the same age as you, are you a spitting image of them? You could look more like your mum, but take after your dad, or you could be like chalk-and-cheese. They say blood is thicker than water, meaning family is most important. Some of us have big families with many brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, and some even have great grandparents. Some of us don’t! You might be an only child from a small family, so you didn’t argue with your siblings about something no matter how small when you were growing up. And, as you were the only child, you might have been spoilt.
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How often does your family get together? Depending on if your family live in the same area or are scattered around would depend on this. Usually it takes something special like a wedding, christening, or a sadder event like a funeral to bring the whole family together. A time when you have to put things aside if you don’t see eye-to-eye with your relatives. But also these get-togethers are a time to reminisce about the good ol’ days and for you to see those family members who you get on well with, but never find the time to meet.
Talking of the good ol’ days, do you look back on your upbringing with fond memories? I do. I remember during the summer my grandparents looking after me and spending time at their house, which was in a different area of my town. They weren’t strict, but one set of grandparents were less strict than the others, so I could get away with more when I was at their house. Plus, one of the areas my grandparents lived was also the area where many of my classmates lived, so it was a chance for us to build memories as we grew up with each other mucking/messing about outside. In England, we don't always use the word my granddad and grandmother as it can sound rather formal - especially grandmother - , but we have different names like, nanny, nan, grandma, and for grandfather we have grandpa, and granddad. I actually used to cal one grandmother 'nan' and the other 'grandma', weird eh?
I was lucky growing up, my mum and dad were together and I had both grandparents around who could take care of me if I was ill or my parents were away, but not everyone was lucky. I had friends who were from single-parent families, broken homes and a few cases of their dad - one case of when the mum - walking out on them when they were young leaving their mum to take care of them and be the breadwinner. Some of those mums found love again and those kids got a step-dad and some step-brothers and sisters....
As we get older we start our own families and need to make decisions of our own on how we bring up our children. Is it OK to smack them if they keep misbehaving? Do we let them make their own mistakes even though we have made the same one before? And how much pressure should be put on them when it comes to family traditions. If being a doctor runs in the family, should pressure be put on them to keep this tradition going? One thing is for you sure, you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family, and remember at times like this they need you.
English native speaker and CELTA qualified teacher in Lviv, Ukraine.
Skype English lessons and Zoom English classes with a British native speaker
Are you from a big family?
Should parents smack their kids?
Does anything run in your family?
What do you think about celebrities adopting orphans from other 3rd-world countries?
Who helped look after you during the summer?
Do you have a godfather/mother or a godson/daughter?
Do you have any informal names for grandmother/grandfather like in England?
Uncle – your dad’s/mum’s brother
Aunt - your dad’s/mum’s sister
Nephew - your brother's/sister's son
Niece - your brother's/sister's son
Cousin - your dad’s/mum’s siblings' children
Great Grandparents – your grandparents’ parents
Step brother/sister/mother/father – your dad’s/mum’s children or wife/husband from another relationship
Mother/father/brother/sister-in law – your wife’s/husband’s family
Ex-husband/wife - someone you used to be married to
Godfather/godmother - usually your parents' best friend
Godson/daughter - usually the children of your best friend
Spitting image of – to look very similar to someone
Take after – to act and behaviour in a way similar to one of your parents
Chalk-and-cheese - to be completely different
An only child – when you don’t have any brothers or sisters
Argue with S/O about S/T – to disagree with someone in a strong way
Note: Ukrainians / Russians will often use the word quarrel. This word is very old-fashioned and should be replaced with argue/argument or simply disagreement if the argument is light.
Growing up – the stages from a child to an adult
To spoil a children - to give a child everything they ask for and let they do everything they want
Family get-together – an event when all the family come to one place
Scattered (around) – in many different places at different distances
Christening – when a newborn baby is christened in the church
To put things aside – to forgot any previous problems to focus on something
Not to see eye-to-eye – to disagree and not have the best relationship with someone
Reminisce – to think about the past
Get on well with - to have a good relation with someone
Look back on – to think about certain times in the past
Upbringing – how you were treated by people and your parents as a child until you became an adult
To look after S/O – when you monitor and make sure everything is OK with a person or thing
Strict – to be full of rules and restrictions
Get away with something – to not be punished for doing something you shouldn’t
To grow up with S/O - to be childhood friends
Mucking/messing about - doing things you shouldn't be doing
Growing up - the process of being a child and
Around - someone who lives close and is available to help
Take care of S/O – to make sure they are OK medically and financially
Single parent – a man or woman with a child and no support in the house from the parent
Broken home – an upbringing where the parents are separated or divorced
To walk out on – to leave and never come back
The breadwinner – the person who earns most of the money in a household
To bring up S/O - to take someone as a child until an adult
To smack a child – to hit a child with the palm of your hand.
Runs in the family – something that each generation in the family has or does. It can also be used for medical problems.
To adopt - to FOSTER a child who doesn't have any parents or their parents are incapable of taking care of them.
Orphan - a person without a mother or father