The Social Functions of the Family

Family plays an important role and is the foundation of society. As a social institution, the family executes functions such as reproduction, economic and educational functions, protection, affection, love, and care. The development of a society depends on the nature of the demographics, such as the age of the population. Through reproduction, the continuity of a society remains stable. In a family, the parents or the responsible people try their best to meet the basic needs of the members; hence, in this case, they become the consumers of goods produced by organizations established in a society (Anastasiu 133). This makes the family act as an economic unit. Education is also another role of the family. Young children in a family learn a specific language, cultural believes, norms, and values. Culture is passed from one generation to another, whereby the elders teach the children about the right and wrong. A family should love and show devotion to the children as this may affect their personality development. In addition, the love and affection should also be extended to other members. A family should protect the members by guiding them in doing what is right and expected of them, thus determining how they socialize with others. Care is another function of a family. For instance, when a member of the family gets sick, the others provide them with the right diet, food, and first aid.

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It is through marriage in which a family is established due to reproduction. Traditionally, marriage was believed to be contracted between a man and a woman, and they were supposed to live together till their death. In some societies, polygamy was also accepted. Currently, the marriage unit is changing, thus having led to a new trend in family life. The divorce rate is constantly increasing and has also become socially acceptable. Same sex relationships and couples have become widely recognized in some societies, whereby they enjoy equal rights like other people. Mortality rates are also high because of some chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and obesity among other health problems. Many people, especially women, nowadays prefer a one-parent life mostly called single parenthood. The changing living styles, increase in infidelity, and domestic violence have influenced some of the parents to opt for this. In the past, children were a form of pride, but this has really changed because some groups of couples choose to remain childless.

These trends will adversely impact the social functions of a family. Education is a function of a family; hence, a child should learn from both parents, father and mother, so that they can fit well in the society. In such a case, children and family members appreciate each other and respect their roles in a family. But, for instance, if a child learns that the father or mother neglected their duty, it may negatively affect how they interact with the opposite sex, especially when the kids will be ready to marry. In addition, with the increasing rates of divorces and their acceptance, most people may choose not to marry by having a notion that it does not work. Such an act will result in an imbalance in a society because the old people population will be strongly compared to the young ones due to the trends in family life. Other functions like care, love and affection will also be adversely affected.


Work Cited

Anastasiu, Ionut. “The Social Functions of the Family.” Euromentor Journal – Studies about Education, vol. 3, no. 2, 2012, pp.133-139.