The family the social unit

Human beings are essentially social animals. The family is our basic social unit. It is the smallest and most common group in the society. An ideal family is where mum, dad and children living together happily.
There are different kinds of family starting from: A Nuclear family is where to parents live with one or more children in the same house. An extended family and Joint family is where several generations living possibly in same house or closely together in the same neighborhood. It can include parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. This is the most common family unit in countries like India and part of Africa. A reconstituted family is where divorced or bereaved people have remarried or live together to bring their children into their new relationship. Two families are brought up together. This can also be called blended family. One parent family or single parent family or lone family is where one parent brings up a child or children, on their own. Parents can be one their own for many different reasons. They may have chosen to bring a child up on their own, they may be divorced, or their partner may have died. An estimated 22% of families in the UK with children are headed by one parent. A community family involves several people choosing to live together and share work, property and bringing the children up. These are sometimes called communes. Some people like monks, live together in a religious community. Same sex family occurs where for example a woman brings up her children with her partner, another woman. A childless family is where there are no children living in the home.

Families exist for mutual support, companionship and the welfare of children. We all need close and loving relationships. Families prepares us for adult life and teach us from an early age, who to live together. The family provides us with an identity, a history, a name, as well as many values and opinions. It is through families we learn about the customs and traditions of our cultures.

All the world religions teach that the family is very important and each family member has responsibility for the others. Jewish, Muslims, Sikh and Hindu families are very close-knit and often live as extended families with elderly relatives, usually living in the home, looked after and treated with respect. Bible talks about honor your father and mother. Islam teaches that the condition of a society can be traced directly back to the strength or weakness of the family.




Dr. Binu Peniel

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