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Family Values Essay

1441 words - 6 pages

Multiple definitions of family exist depending on the theoretical orientation of which it is being explained. Interactionist defines family in terms of interacting personalities with emphasis on the family's transactional characteristics (Friedman, 2003). Family is defined according to the general systems theory as a small open social system composed of a set of highly interdependent parts and affected by both its internal structure and external environment. Redefinition of the family occurs with succeeding generations according to the postmodernist view. U.S. Bureau of the Census uses a traditional but limited definition of the family. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census family is composed of persons joined together by bonds of marriage, blood, or adoption and residing in the same household.The text, Family Nursing: Research, Theory and Practice, defines family as two or more persons who are joined together by bonds of sharing and emotional closeness and who identify themselves as being part of the family. This is the most conclusive definition of family which includes a variety of families including those outside the legal system, not related by blood, marriage, or adoption and not restricted to household membership. This definition includes the extended family living in two or more households, cohabiting couples, childless families, gay and lesbian families, and single-parent and nuclear families.Nuclear or conjugal family is the family of marriage, parenthood, or procreation; it is composed of a husband, wife, and their immediate children; natural, adopted, or both. Family of orientation or family of origin is the family unit into which a person is born. The extended family is the nuclear family and other blood related persons, who are most commonly members from the family of orientation of one of the nuclear family mates. These are "kin" and may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins.Levin & Trost (2000) make a theoretical distinction between direct and indirect rationality for inclusion of members in the family. Some of the criteria used by people for including members within their families are direct, i.e. the persons, objects or animals are directly related in a dyadic relationship. From the informants perspective there is a direct relationship, and the one included might not be aware of this membership. Some members are included in a family with indirect criteria, i.e. the member is not in a dyadic relationship with the person defining the family, the interviewee, but there is a dyadic relationship that the agent has with someone else.The purpose of the family unit is to meet the needs of the society in which it is a part of and to meet the needs of the individuals in it, thus occupying a position between the two (Friedman, 2003). The family system is the main learning context for an individual's behavior, thoughts, and feelings. According to Friedman et al the family is the most vital context for...

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