What is a family - signs, what is it for, structure, family life cycle, types

The con­cept of what a fam­i­ly is has dif­fer­ent inter­pre­ta­tions depend­ing on the field of appli­ca­tion, the his­tor­i­cal stage and many oth­er fac­tors. Such a cell of soci­ety has very spe­cif­ic fea­tures and func­tions, has a life cycle, resources and val­ues.

Family — what is it?

Dif­fer­ent sci­en­tif­ic and pub­lic spheres inter­pret the def­i­n­i­tion of a fam­i­ly in some­what dif­fer­ent ways:

  1. In soci­ol­o­gy, the con­cept means the union of sev­er­al peo­ple relat­ed by blood or mar­riage. That is, a mar­ried cou­ple with­out chil­dren and sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions: grand­par­ents, their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren are all fam­i­lies.
  2. In jurispru­dence, a fam­i­ly is under­stood as indi­vid­u­als liv­ing togeth­er who are offi­cial­ly mar­ried.
  3. A dif­fer­ent approach to under­stand­ing the cell of soci­ety in psy­chol­o­gy. Accord­ing to many experts, only a group of peo­ple con­nect­ed by per­son­al rela­tion­ships, hav­ing com­mon inter­ests, tra­di­tions and val­ues ​​can be called a fam­i­ly.
family what is it

family signs

Of all the above def­i­n­i­tions of what a fam­i­ly is, cer­tain signs of this social insti­tu­tion can be dis­tin­guished:

  1. The pres­ence of offi­cial­ly legal­ized rela­tions in the reg­istry office. That is, the very noto­ri­ous stamp in the pass­port is con­sid­ered the basis of legal rela­tions between part­ners, it gives cer­tain social guar­an­tees.
  2. The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of a fam­i­ly is unthink­able with­out liv­ing togeth­er and run­ning a com­mon house­hold.
  3. Fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships involve the acqui­si­tion of prop­er­ty and the joint accu­mu­la­tion of cap­i­tal. The mate­r­i­al basis is con­sid­ered the basis of any full-fledged unit of soci­ety.
  4. Hav­ing an inti­mate rela­tion­ship. A man and a woman enter into an alliance not only for the sake of mate­r­i­al ben­e­fits, but also because of mutu­al sym­pa­thy and sex­u­al attrac­tion to each oth­er.
  5. The uni­ty of glob­al views on life and inter­ests. Spous­es can have a com­mon vision of their future, but be addict­ed to both joint and indi­vid­ual hob­bies.
  6. A pros­per­ous fam­i­ly is always a small soci­ety of sup­port for its mem­bers, care for all house­hold mem­bers in any life’s adver­si­ty.
family signs

What is a family for?

Each per­son can for­mu­late their opin­ion in dif­fer­ent ways regard­ing the need for mar­riage and the birth of chil­dren. How­ev­er, sci­en­tists rank among the main func­tions of the fam­i­ly:

  1. repro­duc­tive. In the vast major­i­ty of soci­eties and reli­gions, such an insti­tu­tion is nec­es­sary for the con­tin­u­a­tion of the human race.
  2. edu­ca­tion­al. Hus­band and wife not only repro­duce chil­dren, but also edu­cate them. That is, they instill spir­i­tu­al val­ues, pass on accu­mu­lat­ed life expe­ri­ence, social­ly adapt and much more.
  3. busi­ness or eco­nom­ic. Thanks to joint work and a clear dis­tri­b­u­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ties, spous­es pro­vide them­selves and their off­spring with a cer­tain lev­el of well-being.
  4. com­mu­nica­tive. This func­tion is relat­ed to peo­ple’s need for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, emo­tion­al accep­tance and empa­thy.
  5. Tra­di­tion­al. That is, cer­tain tra­di­tions and cus­toms, the con­ti­nu­ity of gen­er­a­tions and the his­to­ry of the fam­i­ly are formed and trans­mit­ted in the fam­i­ly.
See also
How to improve family relationships?
what is a family for

Family structure

It is gen­er­al­ly accept­ed that the fam­i­ly is a com­plex social orga­ni­za­tion that has a cer­tain struc­ture. The tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly con­sists of:

  1. The so-called core, which includes spous­es and their chil­dren.
  2. The cell of soci­ety can also include oth­er indi­vid­u­als with relat­ed roots: grand­par­ents, aunts and uncles, and oth­ers.

The com­po­si­tion of the fam­i­ly includes two impor­tant para­me­ters:

  1. Con­nec­tion or degree of psy­cho­log­i­cal inti­ma­cy. The micro­cli­mate in rela­tion­ships and the lev­el of suc­cess of each indi­vid­ual depends on its qual­i­ty.
  2. Hier­ar­chy, or type of rela­tion­ship by type of dom­i­na­tion. There are fam­i­ly unions based on inequal­i­ty: a man or a woman is con­sid­ered the main one. In mod­ern fam­i­lies, equal­i­ty is increas­ing­ly com­mon not only between spous­es, but also in their rela­tion­ships with chil­dren.

Family life cycle

In demog­ra­phy, fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships are viewed through the prism of the life cycle or the so-called stages of par­ent­hood:

  1. Spous­es are at the stage of pre-par­ent­hood from the moment of the con­clu­sion of the offi­cial mar­riage union and until the birth of the first child.
  2. Repro­duc­tive stage or time inter­val between the birth of the first and last child.
  3. social­iza­tion stage. It may be relat­ed to repro­duc­tive, because it lasts from the moment of the birth of the first child until the sep­a­ra­tion of the last child from the fam­i­ly. Often such a moment is the con­clu­sion of their own mar­riage unions by chil­dren.
  4. Ances­try or the peri­od of rais­ing grand­chil­dren.
family life cycle

Family types

In mod­ern soci­ety, types of fam­i­lies can be clas­si­fied accord­ing to a num­ber of cri­te­ria. By the num­ber of part­ners there are:

  1. monog­a­mous unions con­sist­ing of two part­ners of dif­fer­ent sex­es. It is worth not­ing that in some states, same-sex unions are also rec­og­nized at the leg­isla­tive lev­el.
  2. polyg­a­mousin which sev­er­al men or women live togeth­er. Vivid exam­ples are “Swedish” fam­i­lies or ori­en­tal harems.

It is pos­si­ble to typol­o­gize the con­cept of what a fam­i­ly is by the num­ber of indi­vid­u­als liv­ing togeth­er on:

  1. Sim­ple. In such unions, par­ents and chil­dren live togeth­er.
  2. Nuclear, or cells of soci­ety in which the com­mon econ­o­my is run by sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions: grand­par­ents, par­ents, their chil­dren. Often such soci­eties are called clans.

By the num­ber of chil­dren there are:

  • child­less unions;
  • small chil­dren, rais­ing 1–2 chil­dren;
  • large, in which they grow from 3 chil­dren.

Accord­ing to the form of man­age­ment, there are:

  1. Patri­ar­chalwhere the male is the dom­i­nant
  2. matri­ar­chal with a woman leader.
  3. Demo­c­ra­t­icin which each mem­ber has the right to vote and the right to make deci­sions.
See also
Autumn wedding floristry: what flowers to use in autumn?

Accord­ing to the psy­cho­log­i­cal cli­mate, all cells of soci­ety can be divid­ed into:

  • pros­per­ous, with a healthy micro­cli­mate;
  • dis­ad­van­taged.

Family forms

In mod­ern soci­ety, fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships can take var­i­ous forms of expres­sion:

  1. Civ­il mar­riageor the tra­di­tion­al recog­ni­tion by the state of a new cell of soci­ety in the reg­istry office with the appro­pri­ate mark in the pass­port.
  2. reli­gious mar­riagesuch as a wed­ding. In some states, the reli­gious rites of the union of a man and a woman are rec­og­nized as offi­cial, while in oth­ers they are the vol­un­tary will of the new­ly­weds.

There are also so-called alter­na­tive forms of fam­i­ly rela­tions:

  1. Cohab­i­ta­tionin which a man and a woman live togeth­er, decide to have chil­dren, but with­out offi­cial reg­is­tra­tion of rela­tions in state bod­ies.
  2. Incom­plete fam­i­lieswith only one par­ent. Formed after a divorce, the death of one of the part­ners, the birth of chil­dren out of wed­lock.
  3. Mixed, or con­sol­i­dat­ed. Such a union is formed between a man and a woman who have chil­dren from pre­vi­ous mar­riages.
  4. Same-sex fam­i­lies. There is a lot of con­tro­ver­sy around such unions around the world regard­ing their legal­iza­tion and the moral side of the issue.

Family Resources

It has already been men­tioned above that the con­cept of what the insti­tu­tion of the fam­i­ly is, nec­es­sar­i­ly includes mate­r­i­al goods and val­ues, on the basis of which mar­riage and the joint upbring­ing of chil­dren by spous­es are built. All the wealth that the fam­i­ly’s prop­er­ty con­sists of can be divid­ed into:

  1. Finan­cial resources. These are cash (salaries and ben­e­fits, for exam­ple) and funds in bank accounts, deposits, stocks and bonds.
  2. mate­r­i­al well-beingcon­sist­ing of real estate, cars, house­hold appli­ances, jew­el­ry, works of art and much more.
  3. Human Resources. Active mem­bers work, and younger indi­vid­u­als pro­vide them with all pos­si­ble assis­tance, for exam­ple, in house­keep­ing.
  4. Infor­ma­tion­al. This type of resource is valu­able in that each work, for exam­ple, is per­formed accord­ing to a cer­tain algo­rithm that adults teach their chil­dren.
family resources

Family values

In the under­stand­ing of each fam­i­ly for a per­son is a small world with a cer­tain way of life, tra­di­tions and val­ues, with the help of which this sys­tem is formed, devel­oped and func­tions. There are so-called basic val­ues ​​that are inher­ent in most fam­i­lies around the world. These include:

  1. Love and under­stand­ing between spous­es. Trust and loy­al­ty of men and women.
  2. Kind­ness and mutu­al respect with­in a small fam­i­ly team between all its mem­bers.

In addi­tion, the con­cept of what a close-knit fam­i­ly can include one of two types of val­ues:

  1. Tra­di­tion­alwhich include large fam­i­lies and a patri­ar­chal way of life, a large num­ber of cus­toms, and so on.
  2. Mod­ern. In such cells of soci­ety, part­ners build a career on an equal foot­ing, strive to have chil­dren lat­er and con­clude a mar­riage con­tract in case of prop­er­ty dis­putes.
See also
Wedding and seasons: in harmony with nature

Responsibilities of family members

The con­cept of what a suc­cess­ful fam­i­ly is with­out fail includes a clear dis­tri­b­u­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ties between all its mem­bers. The psy­cho­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the house and the pres­ence of fam­i­ly com­fort depend on this. Psy­chol­o­gists rec­om­mend:

  1. Clear­ly stip­u­late and delim­it the range of tasks for all fam­i­ly mem­bers. At the same time, the duties of chil­dren in the fam­i­ly should be fea­si­ble for their age. For exam­ple, a first grad­er might take out the trash, while a high school­er might cook din­ner or go to the gro­cery store.
  2. Dis­trib­ute respon­si­bil­i­ties appro­pri­ate­ly. Often, women strive to do as much as pos­si­ble on their own, from which they get very tired and dri­ve them­selves into depres­sion and neu­roses.
  3. Con­tro­ver­sial issues are resolved open­ly. For exam­ple, if no one likes or wants to wash dish­es, then you should set a queue or buy a dish­wash­er. An accept­able option in the dia­logue can always be found.

Features of the modern family

Accord­ing to research by psy­chol­o­gists and soci­ol­o­gists, the mod­ern fam­i­ly dif­fers sig­nif­i­cant­ly from pre­vi­ous pro­to­types in that:

  1. Young peo­ple tend to mar­ry lat­er or even refuse to enter into a for­mal union.
  2. Spous­es are in no hur­ry to have chil­dren, from which the age of the birth of the first child in women is rapid­ly increas­ing.
  3. New­ly­weds increas­ing­ly do not want to live with their par­ents, and by all means acquire their own hous­ing.
  4. In mod­ern mar­riage unions, there is an inter­est in their roots. Young peo­ple are increas­ing­ly com­pil­ing fam­i­ly trees, lead­ing the his­to­ry of the fam­i­ly, and so on.
features of the modern family

family rules

In the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty, fam­i­ly psy­chol­o­gy is con­sid­ered a sep­a­rate com­plex dis­ci­pline with its own nuances and char­ac­ter­is­tics. At the same time, the rules of each indi­vid­ual cell of soci­ety are an impor­tant part of the work of fam­i­ly psy­chol­o­gists. To be suc­cess­ful, they must:

  1. Speak clear­ly between all mem­bers of the fam­i­ly.
  2. Con­sid­er the inter­ests and needs of the major­i­ty.
  3. Apply reg­u­lar­ly and reg­u­lar­ly.
  4. Have a cer­tain mar­gin of flex­i­bil­i­ty in case new con­di­tions and cir­cum­stances arise.

Family problems

The mod­ern fam­i­ly union has both prob­lems sim­i­lar to pre­vi­ous mod­els, as well as a num­ber of new ones. These may include:

  1. The con­clu­sion of an alliance with­out love and mutu­al respect.
  2. Abuse of one or more part­ners with alco­hol, addic­tion to drugs or gam­bling.
  3. Dif­fer­ences in inter­ests and world­views.
  4. Lack of mate­r­i­al resources.
  5. Dif­fi­cul­ties in orga­niz­ing every­day life and deter­min­ing com­mon glob­al goals.
  6. Lack of under­stand­ing with old­er rel­a­tives.