Can we use, in colloquial French, les parents when we are talking about family members (i.e. as like the English word relatives)? Should we use les parents proches?
Can we use, in colloquial French, les parents when we are talking about family members (i.e. as like the English word relatives)?
Yes, and not only in colloquial French.
Parents means mother and father when used with a possessive or a definite article (mes parents, tes parents, ses parents, les parents, etc.) but when used with an undefinite (un parent, des parents), parents can also mean relatives.
In colloquial French, you can often hear the expression des parents à moi/lui.
Parents with no article also means relatives in legal documents and obituary notices,e.g.:
Les familles xx, yy, parents et alliés ont la douleur de vous faire part....
Should we use les parents proches?
If you mean close relatives yes, but that would rather be des parents proches.
When talking about mother and father you can only use "parent" ; when you want to talk about what is called the relatives in English, that is the parents, grand parents, brothers, sisters, cousins and uncles and aunts you use the word "proche" ; it can be paraphrased by "parents proches", but this is a term that is much less used. You can also use "proches parents" but it's also rarely used.
Here is a family tree in terms of the names of the relationships.
jlliagre draws attention to the following flaws in the above graph:
- erroneous capitalization ("Cousin Germain, Tante Par Alliance", etc. should be "Cousin germain, Tante par alliance", etc.)
- missing hyphens where required (grand-père, belle-mère, arrière-grand-mère)
- missing word in "cousin issu de germain"
- incorrect spelling "grande tante" when it should be "grand-tante"