Comparative analysis is an essential tool in social science inquiry. Two comparisons helped to highlight the specific nature of the parent-child relationship: the position of this relationship in the broader context of the total life course in comparison with other direct-line kin, and the ways in which obligations toward parents and children differ from obligations to other kin. The normative obligation component of the study also emphasized the special significance of gender in kinship structure: Kin related to ego through women as connecting links evoked higher obligations than kin related through men, and women respondents showed higher obligations to secondary and distant kin than did men. One of the more interesting structural variables in the analysis was the sheer size of the family. Status attainment research has long reported that large families depress educational attainment and subsequent occupational status of the children. Gender of parent and child is a highly salient axis of family life and intergenerational relations.