Defining Family: Beyond Father, Mother & Kids

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  717 Words
Date:  2023-08-16

Defining a family is a tough thing because the works alone attract multiple meanings and emotions with it. At times, many people have assumed that a family is a father, a mother, and children living together under one roof and answerable to the same head (Mariya et al. 78). However, such a definition leaves out a lot of elements, which only raises more debate. The mentioned definition works in a traditional setting where the starting point of a family consisted of people connected by blood. However, the definition insufficiency exists as it does not include new scenarios that fall within the family realm. These everyday situations include; blended families where one of the biological parents is missing. To fill that void, another individual replaces them. Another location left out by such a definition is the extended situation. An extended position includes distant relatives like aunts and uncles as part of the larger family. As explained above, the traditional definition of family is flawed. To compensate for the flaw, this paper will try to develop an inclusive definition that attempts to be inclusive of all the realms of existence. The three domains that are supposed to be fulfilled by the approach or interpretation taken are legal, health, and social context.

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To find a working definition of family, it is essential to use an inclusive sociological approach. To define a family, three sociological paradigms are put together to come up with one definition. The three models are symbolic interactionism, critical sociology, and functionalism. Symbolic interactionism stresses that participants have to recognize that they are members of a family and act accordingly by providing physical and emotional support towards the same (Mariya et al. 79). Critical sociology insists on the need for family members to be answerable to the same household head who has to be a member of the family. Finally, a functionalist perspective views a family as a group that contributes to the existence of well-being within society. For functionalists, a family should perform a vital role both internally and externally. Internally they provide for each other's care emotionally, physically, and socially. Externally, a family configures itself to contain economic pressures and achieve a well-balanced society. After combining all these three paradigms, the working definition of a family is; A group of people related by blood, marriage, or adoption, and participants view themselves as family. These members answer to one household head and maintain a secure connection and emotional ties that contribute to the well-being of each other over a long period. As they provide to the well-being of each other, members of a family make the society a better place to live.

The above working definition of family achieves the three realms in the following ways. Legally, a family is supposed to be connected by blood or affinity, but to the extent of three-generation. Additionally, the legal realm accommodates persons living together and have a shared commitment to a domestic household head (Miriam 24). Every critical part of the legal domain has been provided within the working definition. The second realm is about health. In the working definition, there is a space that demands that family members take care of each other physically and emotionally. Physical care discussed in the description is inclusive of health care. The definition, therefore, covers the realm of health. Lastly, the sociological domain is accommodated for by definition, acknowledging that family contributes to societal well-being (Miriam 25). A family caring for each other and fending for each other contribute to both the economy and societal development.

In conclusion, the above paper has come up with a working definition of what a family is. In the introduction, the article explains why there is a need to find a working definition. In the preceding paragraph, the paper comes up with a description that borrows from three sociological paradigms. Lastly, the paper argues how the identified definition fits within the three realms that it is supposed. It is logical to conclude that the above analysis creates a perfect working definition of an accommodative family.

Works Cited

Nygren, Miriam. "Legal Family Definitions and the Right to Refugee Family Reunification. A Comparative Study on Ethiopia and Sweden." (2016). 23-25

Stoilova, Mariya, et al. "Constructions, reconstructions and deconstructions of 'family' amongst people who live apart together (LATs)." The British journal of sociology 68.1 (2017): 78-96.

Cite this page

Defining Family: Beyond Father, Mother & Kids. (2023, Aug 16). Retrieved from

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