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What is a family ?

What is a family ?

What is a family ?

In human society, family is a group of people who are related either by common consent or affinity. The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of their members and society. Ideally, families will offer predictability, structure and security as members mature and participate in the community. In most societies, it is within families that children receive socialization for life outside the family, and serve as the primary source of attachment, nourishment, and socialization for humans. In addition, as the basic unit to meet the basic needs of its members, it provides a sense of boundaries to perform tasks in a safe environment, ideally a functional person. Adults create, transmit culture, and ensure the continuity of the human race with examples of knowledge.


Anthropologists generally classify most family organizations as matrifocal; patrifocal; conjugal; avuncular; or extended


Immediate family members may include spouses, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Extended family members may include aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings. Sometimes they are also considered immediate family members based on a person's specific relationship with them, and legal definitions of "immediate family" vary. Sexual relations with family members are governed by laws related to incest such as the prohibition of incest.



One of the primary functions of the family includes providing a framework for the production and reproduction of individuals, both biologically and socially. This can be through the sharing of physical substances; To provide and receive care and support; judicial rights and obligations; and moral and emotional ties. Thus, one's family experience changes over time. From the children's point of view, the family is a "family of orientation": the family serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in their culture and socialization. From the perspective of parents, the family is a "reproductive family", whose goal is to produce, nurture and socialize children. However, childbearing is not the only function of the family. In societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, it is essential for building an economically productive family.


Christopher Harris notes that the Western concept of family is vague and confused with home, as is evident in the various contexts in which the term is used. Olivia Harris argues that this confusion is not accidental, but a symptom of the family ideologies of capitalist, Western countries, which pass social laws that insist that members of a single family live together, and which are not related; they should not live together; Despite ideological and legal pressures, a large percentage of households do not conform to the ideal single family type.


Conjugal or nuclear family

The term "single family" is commonly used to refer to married families in the United States. A "marital" family consists only of a spouse and unmarried children who are not of age. Some Sociologists distinguish between matrimonial families (relatively independent from parents and relatives from other families in general) and single families (which maintain relatively close ties with their relatives).


Single parent family

A single-parent family is one parent together with their children, where the parent is either widowed, divorced (and never remarried), or never married. Parents may have sole custody of the children, or separate parents may have a shared-custody arrangement, where the children spend time (possibly equally) with two separate single-parents. Divide between families or between a single-parent family and a blended family. Compared to sole custody, children's physical, mental and social well-being can be improved by shared custody arrangements and children having greater access to both parents. Number of single-parent families is increasing, and nearly half of all children in the United States will live in a single-parent household before they reach the age of 18. Most single-parent families are headed by a single mother, but the number of children headed by single-parent families is increasing.


Matrifocal family

A "matrifocal" family consists of a mother and her children. Generally, these children are his biological children, although adoption of children is a practice in almost every society. This type of family usually exists where women have the resources to raise their children, or where men are more mobile than women. As a definition, "a family or domestic group is matrifocal when it is centered on a woman and her children. In this case, the father of these children is intermittently present in the life of the group and occupies a secondary place." It is not necessary that the mother of the children is the wife of one of the fathers of the children."






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