What is a family? • A group of people who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption and who often live together and share economic resources. • It is the most universal institution because every society organizes its members into families. • There is not one specific thing that constitutes a family, because it varies widely from culture to culture.
Nuclear Family • Family consisting of one or both parents and their children • This is the family most recognized by Americans. • Includes brothers, sisters, mom and dad.
Family of Orientation • The nuclear family in which the person is born or adopted. • Nuclear families are generally a larger family group • Extended family: A family consisting of two or more generations. Includes mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, aunts, cousins and children.
Courtship and Marriage • Some vocab… • Homogamy: Many individuals who have social characteristics similar to their own. • Heterogamy: Marriage between individuals who have different social characteristics.
Courtship and Marriage • Majority of American adults marry at least once during their lifetimes. • Basis of marriage = Love (neither blind nor random) • Americans marry individuals who are close to them in age, with husband slightly older • Differences between a couple, woman who is of a lower socioeconomic class.
Courtship and Marriage • Religion, marriages between individuals from different Protestant denominations are relatively common. • Homogamy is stronger when it comes to race. • 2.4% marriages are between black and white people.
Functions of the Family • Regulation of Sexual Activity: All societies regulate the sexual activities of their members to some degree. There is therefore and incest taboo. • Reproduction: In every society the family is the approved social unit for the performance of this function. This is society’s way of surviving.
Functions of the Family • Socialization: The family is the first agent in this that most children encounter. Children learn about values and societal norms from the family. (Role Models) • Economic and Emotional Security: Tasks are divided within family depending on ages of family members. In horticultural societies, men have roles farming and women garden. In industrial ones like Russia most women work as physicians or sanitation workers. • American women now are learning to be doctors and lawyers whereas 50 years ago most were housewifes.
Divorce • The legal breakup of a marriage. The top reasons for divorce: • 1. Control: Attempts to control spouses’ behavior, friends, finances, or activities by using threats, anger, or excessive criticism (emotional abuse). • 2. Addiction: Persistent history of gambling, drug or alcohol use, or other behavior that harms the spouse, children, and/or family relationships. • 3. Repeated cheating: Repeated infidelities or an on-going affair with no willingness to change. • 4. Mistreatment of Children: Violence or inappropriate sexual behavior towards children, biological or not. Among reasons for divorce, this situation calls for the most immediate action. Remove yourself and the children from contact with this person right away and seek professional help! • 5. Unchecked mental disorder: Mental illness can challenge a relationship, but with proper treatment generally can be managed with happy results. At the same time, a spouse’s uncontrolled mental health or personality disorder can be unsafe and unhealthy. • 6. Physical Violence: Again, this calls for immediate action. If you are in an unsafe situation it is critical that you remove yourself immediately. Physical violence toward anyone, especially you or your children, without commitment to get help, is a deal-breaker.