Concept of a Family

family The family is the basic unit of society. Families exist in all sizes and configurations and are essential to the health and survival of the individual members and to society as a whole. As the primary group for the individual, the family serves as a buffer between the needs of the individual and the demands and expectations of society. The role of the family is to meet the needs of society (Taylor, et. Al., 1989).

The family is a unity of interacting persons related by ties of marriage, birth or adoption, whose central purpose is to create and maintain a common culture which promotes the physical, mental, emotional and social development of each of its members (Duval, 1971).

In today’s society, Friedman defines the family as composed of two or more people who are emotionally involved with each other and live in close geographical proximity.

The family provides a set of functions important to the needs of the individual members and to society as a whole. The family provides the individual with the necessary environment for development and interactions; it also provides new and socialized members for society.

4 Major Functions of a Family: (Friedman, 1981)

  1. Physical Functioncarried out by providing a safe, comfortable environment necessary to growth, development and rest/recuperation.
  2. Economic Function – provide financial aid for members, as well as, meeting monetary needs of society.
  3. Reproductive Function – it is met by the birth of children.
  4. Socialization Function – this is of major importance and includes teaching; transmitting beliefs, values, attitudes and coping mechanisms; providing feedback and guiding problem – solving.

Family Structure

Family Stages and Tasks



Beginning Family

establishing a mutually satisfying


planning to have or not have children

Child – bearing Family

having and adjusting to infant

supporting the needs of all three


renegotiating marital relationship

Family with Pre – school Children

adjusting to costs of family life

adapting to needs of pre-school children

to simulate growth and development

coping with parental loss of energy and


Family with Pre – school Children

adjusting to the motivity of growing


promoting joint decisions between

children and parents

encouraging and supporting children’s

educational achievements

Family with Teenagers and Young Adults

maintaining open communication

among members

supporting ethical and moral values

within the family

balancing freedom with responsibility for


releasing young adults with appropriate

ritual and assistance

strengthening marital relationship

maintaining supportive home base

Post – parental Family

preparing for retirement

maintaining ties with older and younger


Aging Family

adjusting to retirement

adjusting to loss of spouse

closing family house

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

What Do You Think?