Defining Family Essay

1180 words - 5 pages

In Canada the definition of family is as diverse as the ethnic, racial and religious make up of the country. Webster's dictionary (1994) defines family as: 1. a fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children, a: two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place. 2: all the members of a household under one roof. 3: a group of persons sharing common ancestry. Lineage, especially distinguished lineage. 4: a locally independent organized crime unit, as of the Cosa Nostra. 5: a) a group of like things; a class. b) a group of individuals derived from a common stock: the family of human beings. What is the definition of a Canadian family?There is no simple answer to this question. The definition is variable and determined externally by societal changes over time. In this brief essay there will be a discussion about the problems associated with defining a family in Canada. In addition, examples from different cultural backgrounds will be used in an attempt to illustrate the complex nature of the family.As stated by Baker (2001) the way we define our own family doesn't necessarily generalize well to other families. How we behave, express values, and morals are very culturally dependent. To access others cultures through our own "culture colored" glasses is not only subjective but also judgmental. The family is probably one of the most ancient institutions around, yet it is still open to influences of changes that occur over time.Defining the family 3Baker (2001) claims that theses changes to society have led to the development of public discourse about family behavior norms.What is "family"? The definition of family depends on who answers the questionDefinitions of family take into account the structure, function and legality of the unit for its group members and for society as a whole. For example, social scientists' (anthropologists) state a culture's biological and marital kinship rules and patterns of reciprocal obligations define family while Structure-functionalists say the patterns of reciprocal obligations among people and between structures of people and the greater society define family (Baker, 2001). Situationalists focus on social, cultural and physical forces beyond the individual's control which may compel individuals to assume family-related role behaviors conversely psychoanalysts focus on the individual's stage of development and unconscious needs in defining family (Baker, 2001). In addition, economists focus on production and consumption activities; the family is a production and consumption unit. As expressed in Baker (2001) the state tends to define family in structure-functional terms. From all the various alternative definitions of family, the state selects portions from each to create authoritative and legal definitions of family. Thus, the definitions of family are based on the needs of the...

Find Another Essay On Defining family

Family Dynamics Essay

756 words - 4 pages When defining family, the U.S. Census Bureau defines it as "a family is a group of two or more people related by birth, marriage, or adoption, and residing together". Essentially, this definition pulls a broad pool of people together. In Jack's case, he considers his mother, father, two siblings, both of his grandfathers, his aunt, his wife, and almost newborn baby to be in his family. A household, on the other hand, is anyone that lives

Assignment 3: Challenges in Identifying Mental Disorders

867 words - 4 pages example would be an individual who might be judged or have actions taken upon him/her because of failure to behave as recommended by one's family, church, employer, community, culture, or subculture. Theoretical approaches This approach towards defining abnormality starts with a theory of personality development. “If normal development can be defined, then abnormality is defined by the failure to develop in this way.” (Dewey, n.d.) For example, a

Discussing Literary Genre

941 words - 4 pages each new literary text. An approach to the discussion of genre, family resemblances, illustrates similar conventions among texts within a genre, but there are significant problems in this approach. There are several ways to discuss genre, and although problems abound in any approach, the subjective nature of the literary experience calls attention to the importance of the interaction between reader and text to provide the final word on genre

Communication

646 words - 3 pages A way to enhance discussion about family life is to identify the ways that families achieve each of the internal functions. Besides the basic necessities such as shelter, water, warmth, and care; families may also provide internal and external functions such as socialization, intellectual development, recreation, accommodation, transmission, and emotional support. There are positive and negative communication patterns associated with each

The Conventional Nuclear Family in Britain Today

1124 words - 4 pages The Conventional Nuclear Family in Britain Today Since the Industrial revelation the nuclear family has been recognised as the norm of British society and although there have been recent changes in family life, is the norm of Britain today still the conventional nuclear family? The nuclear family has always been considered the norm in society ever since the industrial revolution but in society today the single parent

Definition of Family

1304 words - 5 pages Today, the definition of a family has changed greatly because of cultural and social changes across the world. Rather than defining a family in legal terms, the definition tends to lean more in emotional or social terms; thus, a family has become a unit of people who adore and care for each other (Williams, 2005). The rise of values such as individualism and democracy has affected the structure of modern family greatly with the occurrence of

FAMILY CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

1025 words - 4 pages Running Head: FAMILY CULTURE AND TRADITIONS PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 1 FAMILY CULTURE AND TRADITIONS PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 2 FAMILY CULTURE AND TRADITIONSName:Institutions:Professor:Date of submission:In our family, there are several cultures and traditions that play a very important role in defining our family values and cultures. These traditions and cultures have been passed to our parents from our grandparents.The two most vivid cultural

Changing Views of Family in Society

1256 words - 5 pages , are truly kindred. As our culture changes so do its institutions and our society’s definition of them. In the world today, step-families, pets, and close friends are all included in our vocabulary when it comes to defining our family. Families help explain who we are and where we come from whether biological relatives or best of friends. Circumstances may alter the traditional sense of the word family, but human nature allows us to adapt and

Social Construction of Gender

1087 words - 4 pages Social Construction of Gender      Today’s society plays a very important role in the construction of gender. Gender is a type of issue that has raised many questions over the years in defining and debating if both male and female are equal. Today gender is constructed in four different ways. The first way gender is defined is by the family in which a child is raised. Second is the society in which a child interacts; makes friends and

Family Ties: Learning from the Past

1318 words - 5 pages (24). The works of both Soto and Rockwell are obviously related and clearly support the claims about the 1950s being one of the most idealistic periods in history. However, can this family model be considered most astonishing?In a more recent essay titled Changing American Families, Judy Root Aulette gives a description of a few other family types and some of their defining characteristics. For example, Aulette initially discusses upper class

The Importance of Family Values

917 words - 4 pages grow up and pass on the same values that their parents taught them. Works Cited Barrett, Paula, and Jacqueline Bermingham. "The Importance of Family Values: The Ties That Make a Difference." Active Education Magazine. N.p., 30 July 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. . Duffy, Susie. "Defining Family's Values." Parent IQ. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct

Similar Essays

Defining Family And A Personal Reflection

775 words - 4 pages In this discussion, I will be explaining how I define family. I will also include my immediate and extended family. I will also describe what family means to me, how mine differs from other families in my neighborhood, and also how they are similar. I will also describe my family’s ethnicity and how it may affect any of my family’s health. To me, family is a group of people that are brought together by blood, adoption, or marriage. I also

The Three Defining Moments Of Canada (Events That Have Shaped Canada To Its Current Identity)

693 words - 3 pages ISP: The Three Defining Moments of CanadaEach individual, family, business, country and so on all had defining moments that have shaped them into their current appearances or outcome. For Canada, the following three defining moments have characterized Canada from a dependent British colony to an autonomous country. In addition, these three defining moments have further pushed Canada towards nationhood, which included the formation of its own

Importance Of A Unified Family Essay

829 words - 4 pages nourishment. In the scope of one’s personal adaptation to the concept of family, there are several aspects to consider when truly defining the essence of family. From his or hers overall impacted health factors, such as the lack of positive upbringing in one’s family social support structure to negative and positive family dynamics in regards to shared proximity, with these aspects in thought, one can eventually define family as a sense of secureness

What Is A Family? Essay

799 words - 3 pages entirely some of the different families of today's society. The growing acceptance of non-traditional relationships means there will consequently be non-traditional families. I believe the definition of family should be two or more people who live together and function as the old nuclear family did. This could mean there are one adult and any number of children, two adults, or two adults and any number of childrenMany years ago defining what a