What is a Family?

A family is a socially recognised group, in which individuals come together to form a strong primary group connection, they maintain emotional ties with one another over a long period of time.  It is an intimate domestic group that is made up of individuals who are usually connected by bonds of marriage, blood, adoption, legal ties and serves as an economic unit of society more in terms of the manner in which members relate to one another. A sudden change in the family’s structure or processes threatens its stability and might also weaken the society.

Origin of the word

The word family is derived from the Latin word: familia, which means that it is a group of individuals who are affiliated by consanguinity (by recognised birth), affinity (by marriage), or co-residence and/or shared consumption. The members of the immediate family include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons and/or daughters. Members of the extended family may include  grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, etc

The global functions of the family:

  1. provide for the rearing of children
  2. provides economic support such as  clothing, food, shelter, etc
  3. provides emotional support- intimacy, companionship, belonging, etc
  4. it socialises children- raising children, parenting
  5. it helps regulate sexual reproduction and sexual activity
  6. provides practical support for its members
  7. provide a sense of identity or belonging among its members
  8. transmit culture between generation’s

What is family of orientation?

A family of orientation refers to the family into which an individual is born.

What is family of procreation?

A family of procreation describes the family that is formed through marriage.

What is a traditional family?

A middle-class family is the one which consists of a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children

George Peter Murdock famous sociologists describes the four main functions of the family:
1) sexual relationships
2) economic cooperation among members
3) reproduction
4) socialisation of infants and children


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