Family | Classification of Family | Functions of Family


Family is the most ancient institution. When a husband and wife live together after a socially recognized marriage system, this is called a family. In other words, the organization which grows through marriage between one or more than one male and female, including their children, parents, and other members, is called family.

According to Mclver, the family is the small social unit that gives birth to children and raises them. In our country, generally family comprises of mother-father, brother-sister, uncle-aunt, and grandfather-grandmother. But only one female or one male is not recognized as a family. Essentially, the family is a social unit in which its members are tied together with the bondages of affection, attachment, and love.

Classification of Family

We all live in the family. But the nature and structure of families are not homologous. Therefore, a family can be classified based on some principles. For instance, 

a) lineage count and leadership, 

b) family structure and 

c) marital status.

a) Lineage Count and Leadership: Family can be divided into two types based on this principle, such as patriarchal and matriarchal. In the patriarchal families, posterity is identified in line with the father's lineage and the father leads that family. 

Most of the family in our country are of this type. On the contrary, posterity is identified in matriarchal family with the lineage of mother and mother takes the lead in that family. This type of family exists amongest Garos in our country.

b) Family Structure: Family can be classified into two types according to the structure. They are nuclear and extended family. The nuclear family consists of a mother-father and brother-sister. These families aer small in size. In the extended famlies, father-mother, brother-sister, uncle-aunt, and other members live together. Extended families are large families. Both types of families are seen in Bangladesh. However, at present, the number of nuclear families is on the rise. An extended family consists of several nuclear families.

c) Marital Status: Three types of families are noticed according to the principle of marriage. They are monogamous, polygamous, and polyandrous. In a monogamous family, one husband has one wife. In a polygamous family, one husband has several, in most families, a wife possesses more than one husband. These types of families are not seen in Bangladesh.

Functions of a Family

A family performs manifold functions to make its members' lives beautiful and safe. Generally, a family has the following functions:

Biological functions: As our parents get married, we are born and raised by them. So one of the main functions of a family is to reproduce children and raise them accordingly. These functions are called biological functions.

Educative Functions: Many of us become familiar with the alphabet before going to school. Family provides the first opportunity to learn values from its members such as honesty, etiquette, kindness, and punctuality. These are the educative functions of a family. Thus the children in the family receive their primary education. Therefore, family is called the eternal school or the first school of life.

Economic Functions: A family has to meet the demands of its members, such as food, clothing, shelter, education, medical treatment, and the like. These demands are met with income earned by family members. The economic functions of a family include handicrafts, fishing, agriculture, animal husbandry, and so on. The spheres of functions of a family have changed due to splendid progress in science and technology and new employment opportunity has been created. In some spheres, it has been abated. However, a family still meets the needs of its members.

Political Functions: In a family, parents, and elder siblings act as guardians. We obey their instructions and guidance. They play their role in protecting our rights. They inculcate intelligence, conscience, and self-control into us and help us to become good citizens. This education becomes worthy at a later stage in the affairs of the state. The children in a family thereby receive political education by obeying family education and rules. Besides, we become politically conscious by listening to and taking part in discussions with the elders in the family.

Psychological Functions: A family fulfills the psychological needs of its members by giving them love, affection, and kind behavior. By sharing weal and woes, happiness, and sadness with other members of the family, the members find solace. Say, if anyone gets upset for some reason, it can be sorted out of discussion helps wipe out mental agony. Besides, children learn kindness, tolerance, and fellow-feeling from family. These enrich their mental strength.

Entertainment Functions: By having a chat, sharing jokes, singing songs, watching TV, and going out, family members enjoy their time. Due to progress in science and technology, these kinds of functions have been somewhat reduced. However, to ensure the maximum welfare of the family members, the importance of these functions is enormous.

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