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Family As A Social Institution Essay

1. Introduction:

In a place where some group of people who lived in a same house and same flour. Family includes only the husband, the wife, and unmarried children who are not of age. The most common form of this family is regularly referred to in sociology as a nuclear family. A “consanguine” family consists of a parent and his or her children, and other people. Although the concept of consanguinity originally referred to relations by “blood,” In short we can say where same blood people live together this is called as FAMILY.

1.1 Definition Of Family:

A group of two people or more related by blood, marriage, or adoption and residing together (U.S. Census Bureau 2004)

1.2 Only Child families:

Many couples are now choosing to have children who will never have any siblings. Literature suggests that these children are often viewed as being spoilt, selfish, lonely and maladjusted, however, research does not agree with this negative view. Only children appear to be bright and successful, self-confident, self-reliant, resourceful and popular with other children. “A major reason for this may be that only children have somewhat closer relationships with parents, who exert more pressure for mastery and accomplishment”

Only children often have more pressure placed upon them by parents to excel in tasks and have often high expectations for school and sporting results placed upon them. Only children miss out on the growing and learning and forms of socialization which comes with having siblings. Only children have the advantage of not having to fight for their parent’s attention and may have the opportunity of more one-on-one interactions. The one-child family has both pros and cons, as does every family lifestyle.

1.3 Largest Families:

Children of large families obviously experience different conditions from those in smaller or one child families. Children in larger families have the advantage of having relationships with siblings. These relationships and interactions give them the opportunity to have companionship, emotional support and assistance while they are growing up. Children in larger families often experience degrees of rivalry and may need to fight for parent’s attention. The positive interactions that occur between siblings contribute to perspective taking, moral maturity, and competence in relating to other children.

1.4 Single Parent families:

The number of one-parent families has become more common in recent years. There are a number of varieties of one-parent families; those resulting from divorce, parents who never-married, as well as a widowed parent. In single parent families the other parent not living with the family may have little or no involvement in the child’s life or may be highly involved. We are going to look more closely at single divorced parents and never-married single parents.

1.5 Marriage:

A general definition of marriage is that it is a social contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically and emotionally. Being married also gives legitimacy to sexual relations within the marriage. The geographical location and the cultural traditions of the individuals involved in the marriage relationship. The legalities of marriage can be confusing and overwhelming. Before you get married, it is important to know the requirements for getting a marriage license such as age, identification, costs for the license, etc. Laws concerning marriage vary from state to state and country to country and change often.

1.6 Types of Marriage:

In marriage there are 2 types of marriage:
Monogamy: Monogamy refers to the state of having only one mate at any one time; the term is applied to the social behavior of some animals and to a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse at any one time. In current usage monogamy often refers to having one sexual partner irrespective of marriage or reproduction. Recent discoveries have led biologists to talk about the three varieties of monogamy: social monogamy, sexual monogamy, and genetic monogamy.

The distinction between these three is important to the modern understanding of monogamy. Social monogamy refers to two persons/creatures that live together, have sex with each other, and cooperate in acquiring basic resources such as food, clothes, and money. Sexual monogamy refers to two persons/creatures that remain sexually exclusive with each other and have no outside sex partners. Genetic monogamy refers to two partners that only have offspring with each other. Polygamy: several husbands or wives simultaneously

1.7 Mate Selection:

Mate choice, or intersexual selection, is an evolutionary process in which selection of a mate depends on attractiveness of its traits. It is one of two components of sexual selection (the other is male-male competition or intersexual selection). Darwin first introduced his ideas on sexual selection in 1871 but advances in genetic and molecular techniques have led to major progress in this field recently. Five mechanisms that explain the evolution of mate choice are currently recognized. They are direct phenotypic benefits, sensory bias, Fisherman runaway, indicator traits, and genetic compatibility. These mechanisms can co-occur and there are many examples of each. In systems where mate choice exists, one sex is competitive with same-sex members and the other sex is choosy (selective when it comes to picking individuals to mate with).

In most species, females are the choosy sex that discriminates amongst competitive males but there are several examples of reversed roles. There is an example: Charles Darwin first expressed his ideas on sexual selection and mate choice in his book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1871. He was perplexed by the elaborate ornamentation that males of some species have because they appeared to be detrimental to survival and have negative consequences for reproductive success. He proposed two explanations for the existence of such traits: these traits are useful in male-male combat or they are preferred by females.

2. Structure of Family :

This kinship terminology commonly occurs in societies based on conjugal (or nuclear) families, where nuclear families have a degree of relative mobility. Members of the nuclear use descriptive kinship terms:

Mother: a female parent
Father: a male parent
Son: a male child of the parent(s)
Daughter: a female child of the parent(s)
Brother: a male child of the same parent(s)
Sister: a female child of the same parent(s)
Grandfather: father of a father or mother
Grandmother: mother of a mother or father
Cousins: two people that share the same grandparent(s)

Such systems generally assume that the mother’s husband has also served as the biological father. In some families, a woman may have children with more than one man or a man may have children with more than one woman. The system refers to a child who shares only one parent with another child as a “half-brother” or “half-sister.” For children who do not share biological or adoptive parents in common, English-speakers use the term “stepbrother” or “stepsister” to refer to their new relationship with each other when one of their biological parents marries one of the other child’s biological parents. Any person (other than the biological parent of a child) who marries the parent of that child becomes the “stepparent” of the child, either the “stepmother” or “stepfather.” The same terms generally apply to children adopted into a family as to children born into the family.

Grandfather: a parent’s father
Grandmother: a parent’s mother
Grandson: a child’s son
Granddaughter: a child’s daughter

For collateral relatives, more classificatory terms come into play, terms that do not build on the terms used within the nuclear family:

Uncle: father’s brother, mother’s brother, father’s sister’s husband, mother’s sister’s husband Aunt: father’s sister, mother’s sister, father’s brother’s wife, mother’s brother’s wife Nephew: sister’s son, brother’s son, wife’s brother’s son, wife’s sister’s son, husband’s brother’s son, husband’s sister’s son Niece: sister’s daughter, brother’s daughter, wife’s brother’s daughter, wife’s sister’s daughter, husband’s brother’s daughter, husband’s sister’s daughter

3.Stages of Family:

3.1 Stage One: Single young adults leave home .

Here the emotional change is from the reliance on the family to acceptance of emotional and financial responsibility for ourselves. Second-order changes include differentiation of self in relation to family of origin. This means we neither blindly accept what our parents believe or want us to do, nor do we automatically respond negatively to their requests. Our beliefs and behaviors are now part of our own identity, though we will change and refine what we believe throughout our lives. Also, during this period we develop intimate peer relationships on a deeper level than we had previously and become financially independent.

3.2 Stage Two: The new couple joins their families through marriage or living together . The major emotional transition during this phase is through commitment to the new system. Second-order change involves the formation of a marital system and realignment of relationships with extended families and friends that includes our spouses.

3.3 Stage Three: Families with young children

Emotionally we must now accept new members into the system. This isn’t hard initially because babies come to us in sweet innocent packages that open our hearts. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night we may wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Nevertheless, we adjust the marital system to make space for our children, juggling childrearing, financial and household tasks. Second-order change also ocurs with the realignment of relationships with extended family as it opens to include the parenting and grandparenting roles.

3.4 Stage Four: Families with adolescents

Emotional transitions are hard here for the whole family because we need to increase the flexibility of families boundaries to include children’s independence and grandparents’ frailities. As noted above, second-order change is required in order for the shifting of the parent-child relationship to permit adolescents to move in and out of the system. Now there is a new focus on midlife marital and career issues and the beginning shift toward joint caring for the older generation when both children and aging parents demand our attention, creating what is now called the sandwich generation.

3.5 Stage Five: Launching children and moving on

This is one of the transitions that can be most emotionally difficult for parents as they now need to accept a multitude of exits from and entries into the family system. If the choices of the children leaving the nest are compatible with the values and expectations of the parents, the transition can be relatively easy and enjoyable, especially if the parents successfully navigate their second-order changes, such as renegotiation of the marital system as a couple rather than as simply parents. Other developmental changes include development of adult-to-adult relationships between us and our grown children, inclusion of in-laws and grandchildren, and dealing with the disabilities and death of our own parents. (See Letting Go of Our Adult Children: When What We Do is Never Enough for what can happen when transitions in this stage become particularly bumpy.)

3.6 Stage Six:

Families in later life When Erikson discusses this stage, he focuses on how we as individuals either review our lives with acceptance and a sense of accomplishment or with bitterness and regret. A family systems approach, however, is interested in how the family as a unit responds and sees the key emotional principle as accepting the shifting of generational roles. Second-order changes require us to maintain our own interests and functioning as a couple in face of physiological decline. We shift our focus onto the middle generation (the children who are still in stage five) and support them as they launch their own children. In this process the younger generation needs to make room for the wisdom and experience of the elderly, supporting the older generation without over functioning for them. Other second-order change includes dealing with the loss of our spouse, siblings, and others peers and the preparation for our own death and the end of our generation.

4. Role Of Family:

The family is one of the main socializing institutions of the society. In the family, the child appropriates the social norms and values and it becomes capable of having relations with the other members of the society. In the family there is established the basic or primary socialization. In comparison with the families from the traditional societies family function has begun to be more and more taken over by other social institutions (school, cultural institutions, and mass media). Despite these transfers of social competencies, the family continues to remain one of the main institutions of socialization. The advantage of the socialization in the family is to obtain it in an environment of affectivity, which facilitates the transmission and the appropriation of the social values and norms.

4.1 Toward children :

As soon as the baby is born, the mother and father become attached to their child through touch – through holding, carrying and playing with their baby. The world of movement begins and it is the parents who are the first educators of their child. This holds true for visually impaired children too. Parents have a much longer, sustained, and intimate relationship with their child than anybody else. When children are young they are learning to identify and label the world. Blind children are no different. They need to become familiar with the world, too. Familiarization develops orientation. For the sighted child, vision puts them in the action. Vision is the sense that allows us to integrate all of the things we learn about the world. Without normal vision, the child must learn to see and understand the world in new ways. As the child’s parents, one needs the opportunity to: understand how loss of vision affects their child’s early development; learn how they, as parents, can most effectively teach their child to see the world. One must realize that every child, whether visually impaired or not, is a learner.

Besides this, what every child learns in the first three years of life is learned visually, primarily through imitation, says a research. Parents are the natural teacher because they know their child better than anyone else does and have a better idea of what he/she is ready to learn. They spend more time with the child . Therefore they’re able to take advantage of the many ordinary events – things that happen throughout the day in the normal course of family life – that are teaching opportunities. As a parent you give your child toys and common, everyday objects to help him / her learn in natural situations that can be applied to other situations outside the home. Also, as a parent people must keep on providing opportunities to their children to practice what they have learned and a chance to experience the world under their guidance. By starting early, they teach their children good habits that will last a lifetime. And, above all involve their children in family life so friends and relatives learn how to interact with their visually impaired child and he / she learns how to act with others.


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