Proverbs and Sayings on Family [With Meaning and Example]

Proverbs and sayings are popular nuggets of wisdom, often in circulation for centuries and even millenniums. This post contains proverbs and sayings on family, divided into two categories.

If you’re looking for more proverbs and sayings, you can find plenty of them in the resource below. It contains proverbs on topics such as life, family, friends, love, health, happiness, money, hard work, time, time management, teamwork, leadership, business, education & learning, and more.

1. Family, home, and relationships

Married couples tell each other a thousand things without speech.

Married couples can understand what their partner wants to say through non-verbal communication such as mood, expression, and habits.

Example: Tom knew his wife was upset because the food was tad less lavish than it normally was. Married couples tell each other a thousand things without speech.

He that will thrive must first ask his wife.

If a man is supported in his actions by his wife, he is more likely to be at peace and succeed in his pursuits.

Example: As a top-5 professional tennis player, he has to train hard and travel almost year-round. Without support from his wife, he couldn’t have pulled this off for so many years. He that will thrive must first ask his wife.

First thrive and then wive.

Since financial distress can wreck a marriage, one should marry only after getting financially stable.

Example: I’ve been working for five years now in a stable job and have significant savings too. I think I should settle down now. Rightly said, first thrive and then wive.

The family that (eats) prays together stays together.

The family that gets together regularly to pray or eat is more close-knit than the family that doesn’t.

Example: Our grandfather ensured that all family members come together, howsoever busy they may be, at least once a week for dinner, which likely was the reason why our family was so close-knit. The family that (eats) prays together stays together.

Look for the good, not the evil, in the conduct of members of the family.

A Jewish proverb. Our friends and family, like anyone else, have good as well as bad traits. Look for good in them. Ben Casnocha, who co-authored The Start-up of You with Reid Hoffman, founder and former CEO of LinkedIn, says this about him: “One of Reid’s underrated gifts in this regard is that he maintains very complicated portraits of the people he knows. He appreciates the full spectrum of strengths and weaknesses of a particular person. Along these lines, Reid forgives mistakes in his friends.” People, however, easily forget several positive qualities in friends and family members when they exhibit just one negative quality. This can result in cracks in relationships.

Example: Overlooking several positive qualities in your friend, you’re angry with him because he failed to act in time. You should look for the good, not the evil, in the conduct of members of the family.

Though a tree grows ever so high, the falling leaves return to the ground.

A Chinese proverb. You may go any distance away from your town or family, but you’ll eventually come back.

Example: After the bitter public quarrel, Tom left his family and town to work in another, but he made up and returned after six months. Though a tree grows ever so high, the falling leaves return to the ground.

Participate in a short survey

If you’re a learner or teacher of English language, you can help improve website’s content for the visitors through a short survey.

Eat and drink with your relatives but do business with strangers.

A Greek proverb. Don’t do business with your relatives. In business, things may go wrong, sometimes for no one’s fault, which will put cracks in your relationships.

Example: I sold my car to my cousin, but it didn’t perform as expected. This led to some friction between us. I wish I had known: eat and drink with your relatives but do business with strangers.

Home is where the heart is.

Don’t you feel relieved on reaching home after you’ve been away for few days? No matter where you visit, you’ll long to return to your home and family.

Example: I’ve been out of the town on work for only three days now, and I’m already longing to get back home. I guess, home is where the heart is.

A man’s home is his castle.

People can do what they wish in their homes: They’re the rulers in their castles (homes). Others have no right to interfere in their lives.

Example: As long as he doesn’t create nuisance, it’s none of my concern what my neighbor does in his home. After all, his home is his castle.

Blood is thicker than water.

Relationship with family is stronger than other relationships, say a friend.

Example: Bypassing competent professionals in his Company, the businessman appointed his less-experienced son to a senior position. After all, blood is thicker than water.

Blood will tell.

People inherit bad characteristics of earlier generation(s).

Example: You’re turning out to be a gambler like your father. Blood will tell.

What is bred in the bone will never come out of the flesh.

Similar to the last one

Familiarity breeds contempt.

We tend to take people with whom we spend time for granted and start finding faults with them.

Example: Few years after the marriage, things started going southwards as the husband saw more and more faults with the wife. Familiarity can indeed breed contempt.

Clothing is cherishable when new, but relationship when old.

We like clothes more when they’re new, but with relationships, it’s the other way round. Old relationships have stood the test of time. Cherish them as precious possession because such relationships are hard to find.

Example: I care for my old friends, who’ve stood by me in thick and thin. After all, clothing is cherishable when new, but relationship when old.

A constant guest is never welcomed.

Don’t burden a friend, neighbour, or relative with too many visits.

Example: I could sense lack of warmth and unease when I visited my uncle’s family to stay with them over the weekend. I then decided not to visit them too often because a constant guest is never welcomed.

2. Children

Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.

If parents are too indulgent towards their children and fulfil every demand to keep them happy, the children will resent even a genuine ‘no’, leading to crankiness and discipline problems.

Example: My brother has spoilt his children by fulfilling their every wish, good or bad. Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.

If you want your children to have a peaceful life, let them suffer a little hunger and a little coldness.

It builds on the previous saying. We want our children to be happy, but we’re often too indulgent to bring them happiness. We take care of slightest of their problems and, in the process, make them too dependent on elders, a trait which may carry on later in their lives. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, while narrating his growing-up years, mentioned how he learnt resourcefulness from his grandfather, who could perform small maintenance tasks at his farm on his own. Bezos, in fact, mentioned that he would rather see his children lose a finger or two and become resourceful than become too dependent. This line (paraphrased) from the book Sapiens sums this up well: “You love your children more than evolution requires”.

Example: For their age, your kids are too dependent on you. You should let them handle their work more independently even if it means discomfort to them. If you want your children to have a peaceful life, let them suffer a little hunger and a little coldness.

When a twig grows hard, it is difficult to twist it.

A person can be moulded when young but not when she has grown up. So, one should inculcate good values in children while they’re still young.

Example: Your son doesn’t take responsibility when he fails at something. You must take corrective action now, for when a twig grows hard, it is difficult to twist it.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

A Hebrew proverb. The world has changed a lot since you were in school and college, and it still is changing fast. What you learnt is probably obsolete now, so don’t limit your children to your own learning.

Example: Why do you want to force engineering or medicine as a career option on your kids? World has changed a lot. There are far wider variety of jobs today, and many jobs of future don’t even exist. Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.

A Chinese proverb. Give your children skills. Skill will not only help them earn a living but also keep them meaningfully engaged. Bequeathed money is also helpful, but it can go away, and then they’ll have nothing to fall back on. Moreover, money without skill won’t keep them meaningfully engaged, which can lead to problems of its own.

Example: The film actor’s son inherited quite a fortune but frittered it away in foolish ventures. He isn’t left with much money now and, unfortunately, doesn’t possess a worthwhile skill to maintain his lifestyle. His father should have remembered the saying: Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.

Children and fools tell the truth.

Children and fools tell the truth even where telling a lie would be better or advantageous.

Example: Johnny embarrassed her mother by saying an unpleasant truth in front of their neighbor. Children and fools indeed tell the truth.

It takes a whole village to bring up a child.

For a good upbringing, a child should have positive and nurturing interaction with people outside immediate family as well.

Example: Although not common, some communities and joint families support raising children, making it easier for the parents. It takes a whole village to bring up a child.

Clergyman’s sons always turn out badly.

The burden of expectation on the children of a successful person can be damaging.

Example: It’s common to see children of successful actors, sportspersons, and entrepreneurs struggle in their work. Clergyman’s sons turn out badly.

My son is my son till he gets a wife.

After marriage, a son may change to accommodate wife’s wishes, drifting away from his parents.

Example: Tom’s mother and wife didn’t get along well, and, to reduce strife, he had to listen more to his wife. A son is son till he gets wife.

Avatar photo
Anil Yadav

Anil is the person behind content on this website, which is visited by 3,000,000+ learners every year. He writes on most aspects of English Language Skills. More about him here:

Send this to a friend