This paper describes the evolution of the family role face – specifically, the roles of father, mother and child – in a concrete period of the Spanish social history -from the end of 19th century to the 1960s. To achieve this goal, a corpus of theater plays is analyzed from a functional and pragmalinguistic perspective in a socio-historical context. The focus is on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the projection of role face in the expression of directive speech acts and their possible modulation through two pragmatic strategies: mitigation and intensification. Based on the results of the analysis, a sociopragmatic interpretation is carried out by identifying the connection between the choice of pragmalinguistic strategies and the need of the speakers’ autonomy face and affiliation face in different roles as family member in the given period. The results point to a progressive solidarity in father-child relationships during this period. On the one hand, that is based on the erosion of the authoritarian component of parental roles. On the other hand, it is anchored in the consolidation of proximity, closeness (‘confianza’) and affectivity. From a methodological point of view, the present study confirms the possibility of characterizing a sociopragmatic aspect (role face) on the basis of pragmalinguistic elements, i.e. the linguistic expression of directive speech acts, and its modulation through mitigation and intensification.