In many countries, where families are comprised of multiple generations all living in the same home, their is a patriarch. He is usually the eldest male in the family and always directs the other members. In a nuclear home (a man, his wife (wives) and their children) it is usually the husband who fills this role. As most people already know this, I will move on to what you have probably never heard of.
For the Tiwi, off the cost of Australia, descent is matrilineal but men make the decisions. Today, woman often pick their husbands and the couples are monogamous. That is not how it has always been, however. Before missionaries came to their island, all Tiwi females had to be married at all times. This meant that they were married off soon after birth, though they did not live with their husbands until they reached puberty.
Because Tiwi men did not have to been married, they would not marry until in their twenties. However, a man could not get a baby wife until he proved he could provide for her. This resulted in a man's first wife being a widow twice his age.
Trobriand Islanders are matrilineal and nuclear. Oddly enough, while the wife controls the purse strings, the husband is the one who makes her money. While she cooks and cleans and feeds the children, he trades and stores wealth for her.
The Trobriand Islanders' form of currency is one that I find interesting. As it is a topic other than family hierarchy, I will post on it next week.