Humanity has embraced the family as an ideal basic structure for various reasons. The need to have a sense of belonging is regarded as the core reason why families have emerged and become accepted as legal social setups. However, it may not be possible to have a single, defining structure of the family since individuals have a wide range of perspectives.
Each person’s view of the family is affected by the environment to which the individual is subjected. Consequently, a personal opinion by an individual regarding the family cannot be separated from one’s beliefs and feelings. Through analysis of various facts, one may be able to determine the general societal opinion of the family.
Individual values, whether natural or acquired always have an impact on a person’s viewpoint of the family. In addition, the personal experiences with family members also influence an individual’s perspective on the family structure.
Values such as belief in family cohesion may determine the level of commitment of family members to the stability of the family unit. A child grows in some kind of family set up. With time, the child’s belief and understanding of the meaning of a family is determined by the model of the family that nurtured him or her.
If an individual works in an environment away from his or her family, and interacts with people from different backgrounds, that person’s perspective of the family is likely to become altered. Moreover, the amount of time that a parent spends with a child moulds the child’s expectation of the parent’s role in a family. Children who spend most of their childhood with their parents grow up to believe that spending time with one’s children is a parental obligation.
People, who subject their children to a hostile environment, force them to develop a negative perspective of the family and may harbour the notion that the family is an unnecessary creation of the society. Similarly, growing up in a single parent family could possibly influence into believing that marriage, which is a common feature of the family, is unnecessary (Coontz, 2005).
When studying family life, to get the true picture of the all the factors concerned, a broad spectrum of issues has to be evaluated. An individual’s opinion of the family has to be accompanied by an analysis of his past experiences to evidently make any conclusions in the study. Social values, which include religious values, are an important consideration when analysing a family set up. People may have different suggestions regarding the minimum requirements to create a family unit (Glossop, 1979).
No incontrovertible truth regarding the exact and precise definition of the family structure can be obtained. However, it is possible to obtain helpful data regarding the opinion of the members of the society, their attitude, and perspective regarding the idea of a family. An aggregate of repeated results from studies of the family set up may give the general perspective of the society on the matters of family.
Although 100 percent accurate results may not be obtained, they can provide an overview of the general opinion of the members of the society. With numerous differences in the society regarding the definition of the family, the societal changes that families should embrace, and whether these changes are appropriate or detrimental to the family institution, it is difficult to conclude categorically on the meaning of the family.
Coontz, S. (2005). Marriage, a history: from obedience to intimacy or how love conquered marriage. New York: Viking.
Glossop, R. (1979). Trends in family studies: toward an appropriate discourse. Ottawa: Vanier Institute of the Family.