THE FAMILY AS A UNIT
Definition of Family
-Unique, distinct social unit
-Simplest form of social organization.
-System of accepted norms and procedures for accomplishing many important things, for instance, it is a kinship group
which provides not only for the rearing of children, but also for the satisfaction of the basic human needs.
- A group of people who are related through marriage, blood or adoption; interact with one another in their designated
roles of husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, or grandparents and create
and maintain a common subculture.
Basic Characteristics of a Family
-group of people united by ties of marriage, blood or adoption. The bond existing between husband and wife is
marriage, and the relationship between parent and children is consanguinity.
-Members of a family live together under one roof.
-They associate with one another in their respective roles as husband and wife, m other and father, son ad daughter, or
brother and sister.
-A family shares a common subculture which affects the individual’s social values, disposition and beliefs.
Classification of the Family
According to Internal Organization
Conjugal Family – Composed of husband and wife unit
Simple/Nuclear/Elementary/Fundamental/Primary Family – composed of husband, wife and their children.
Extended Family - Loosely applied to a system in which several generation lives under one roof. Composed of
husband and wife, their offspring, married sons and daughters, their husbands and wives and even
According to Organized Descent Grouping
-Family traces its descent or lineage from either the mother or father’s aid.
Patrilocal Family – a family that traces its ancestry from the paternal or father side
Matrilocal Family – the family that traces its ancestry from the maternal or mother side
Bilateral or Bilineal Family – a family that traces its ancestry from both the paternal and maternal side
According to Location or Residence
Patrilocal – the married couple lives either with the husband’s parents or in the community of the husband.
Matrilocal – married couple lives with the wife’s parents or in the community of the wife.
Bilocal – married couple who came from the same community establishes their residence in the community.
Neolocal –married couple lives in neither the husband nor wife’s parental home or community.
According to the Degree of Authority
- Refers to whoever exercises authority over the family
Members live together under the sole authority of the mother.
Family groups dominated by matriarch directly controlled by wife, mother, or grandmother.
Patriarchal Family – Authority is solely exercised by the father and descent is traced through him.
Equalitarian or Modern Democratic Family
Husband and wife exercise equal authority.
It is in this system that the two C’s are found:
Consensus – collective opinion of the family members.
Competence – (the family concern for the person’s ability) determining how leadership or decision
making will be distributed.
Functions of family
The family is the principal societal structure through which organization, regulation and satisfaction of sexual
drives are established and maintain.
Society expects that sexual relationship should occur between legitimate individuals (married couple).
Reproduction of the young
Society depends on the family for the production of children to replace those whom society has left through
Is the process by which the young human being acquires the values and knowledge of his group and learns the
social roles appropriate to his position in it.
All societies depend on the family for the needed love and affection. No other institution other than the family
that has provided the most intense emotional experience for the person and can satisfy his emotional needs.
Being born in the family provides social placement of the individual in the society.
One’s social class, religious affiliation, and future occupation are largely determined by one’s family of origin.
For example, Prince William, the son of Prince Charles and the late Diana, by virtue of being born into a
political family automatically belongs to the upper class and is destined for politics.
The family is the most effective mechanism for the care and rearing of the young. A child feels he is safe from
harm and that he will always be helped by his parents in facing problems.
Requires the parents or adults family members to provide the economic resources to meet the financial needs
of each member.
Economic functions encompass the allocation of adequate resources for family members. This entails the
provisions of sufficient income to provide for basic necessities. It also includes the allocation of these
resources to all family members especially those unable to provide themselves.
The family serves as an important mechanism for controlling the behavior of the young. It continually exerts
pressure to make its members to conform to the accepted norms.
Knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and appreciation are first learned and acquired in the family.
The relationship of a child with his/her siblings serves as a training ground in developing relationships and may
lead to acquisition of values such as cooperation and leadership.
Developmental tasks for the individual and the family
Stage I. Infant (birth to one year)
Infancy is far from what some have believed – a time for rigidly and mechanically handling the baby because he
is very independent to his parents/caregivers. The following developmental tasks are to be accomplished in
Achieve physiological equilibrium after birth.
Establish self as a dependent person but separate from others.
Become aware of the “ alive versus the inanimate” and “ familiar versus unfamiliar” and develop rudimentary
Develop a feeling of and desire for affection and response from others.
Adjust somewhat to the expectations of others.
Manage the changing body and learn new motor skills, develop equilibrium, begin hand-eye coordination, and
establish rest-activity and rhythm.
Learn to understand and control the physical world through exploration.
Direct emotional expression to indicate needs and wishes.
Family Developmental Tasks
Income adjustments – nature of work, rate of salary – if it is enough to support the new addition to the family
Role shifts – mother working, father stays at home.
Re-adjustment of personal goals toward family goals.
Linkage with extended family – presence of other member. Example: aunts, uncles, grandparents.
Stage II. Toddler (1-3 years)
At this stage, the toddler begins to gain autonomy and independence.
Setting into healthy daily routines.
Mastering good eating habits.
Mastering the basics of toilet-training.
Developing the physical skills appropriate to his stage of motor development.
Learning to communicate effectively with others.
Family Developmental Tasks
Ability to meet the high cost of living.
Providing a home that is safe, comfortable, and has adequate space.
Develops self-concept and self-esteem through skill acquisition and task completion.
Count to 20 or more.
Take turns and share.
Learn problem-solving skills.
Is enthusiastic and curious when approaching new activities.
Is able to use pencils or paintbrushes.
Has a good language skill.
Is sensitive to other children’s feelings.
Can sit still and pay attention.
Knows the letters of the alphabet.
Can follow directions.
Identifies primary color and basic shapes.
Communicates needs, wants, and thoughts in their primary language.
Family Developmental tasks
Encourage and accept evolving skills. Do not push child beyond his capacity. Satisfaction is found through
reducing assistance with physical care and giving more guidance.
Supply adequate housing, facilities, space, equipment, and other materials needed for life, comfort, health, and
Plan for predicted and unexpected costs of family life such as medical care, insurance, education, babysitter
fees, food, clothing, and recreation.
Maintain some privacy and provide an outlet for tension of family members while including the child as a
participant in the family.
Share household and child-care responsibility with other family members, including the child.
Strengthen the partnership with the mate and express affection in ways that keep the relationship from
Learn to accept failures, mistakes, and blunders without showing up feelings of guilt, blame, and recrimination.
Nourish common interests and friendships to strengthen self-respect and self-confidence and to remain
interesting to each other.
Maintain a mutually satisfactory sexual relationship and plan whether or not to have more children.
Create and maintain effective communication within the family.
Cultivate relationships with the extended family.
Tap resources and serve others outside the family to prevent preoccupation with self and family.
Face life’s dilemmas and rework moral codes, spiritual values, and a philosophy of life.
Stage IV. School Age (6 – 12 years old)
While the school child continues working on past developmental tasks, he is confronted with a series of new
ones. The accomplishment of these tasks gives the school child a foundation for entering adolescence, an era
filled with dramatic growth and changing attitudes.
Decreasing dependence upon family and gaining some satisfaction from peers and other adults.
Increasing neuromuscular skills so that he can participate in games and work with others
Learning basic adult concepts and knowledge to be able to reason and engage in the tasks of everyday living.
Learning ways to communicate with others realistically.
Becoming a more active and cooperative family participant.
Giving and receiving affection to family and friends without immediately seeking or giving a gift in return.
Learning socially acceptable ways of getting money and saving it for later satisfaction.
Learning how to handle strong feelings and impulses appropriately.
Adjusting his changing body image and self-concept to come to terms with the masculine and feminine social
Feeling of belongingness and developing pride over his/her own social, racial, economic, and religious group.
Family Developmental Tasks
Family activities with the school-age child revolve around expanding the child’s world.
Keeping lines of communication open among family members.
Working together to achieve common goals.
Planning a lifestyle within economic means.
Finding creative ways to continue a mutually satisfactory married life.
Providing for parental privacy and space for children’s play.
Maintaining close ties with relatives.
Expanding family life into the community through various activities.
Validating the family philosophy of life. The philosophy is tested when the child brings home new ideas and talks
about different lifestyles he has encountered, forcing the family to re-examine their patterns of living.
Stage V. Adolescent (12 – 20 years old)
Adolescence is a stressful time for both individuals and families given the demands of changes taking place.
Until these tasks are accomplished, the person remains immature – an adolescent regardless of chronological
Accepting the changing body – size, shape, and function and understanding the meaning of physical maturity.
Learning to handle the body in a variety of physical skills and to maintain good health.
Achieving a satisfying and socially accepted feminine or masculine role, recognizing how these roles have
similarities and distinctions.
Finding the self as a member of one or more peer groups and developing skills in relating to a variety of people,
including those of the opposite sex.
Achieving independence from parents and other adults while maintaining a mature affection and
interdependence with them.
Selecting a satisfying occupation in line with interests and abilities and preparing for economic independence.
Preparing to settle down, frequently for marriage and family life, or for a close relationship with another by
developing a responsible attitude, acquiring needed knowledge, making appropriate decisions, and forming a
relationship based on love rather than infatuation.
Developing the intellectual and work skills and social sensitivities of a competent citizen.
Developing a workable philosophy, a mature set of values, and worthy ideas.
Family Developmental Task
The teenage stage of the family life cycle is entered when the child becomes 13 and the stage ends when he
leaves the family circle to assume his role as a young adult through work, marriage, or military service. The
overall family goal at this time is to allow the adolescent greater freedom and responsibility to prepare him for
young adulthood. Although each family member has personal developmental tasks, the family unit as a whole
also has developmental tasks.
Generally speaking, the developmental tasks for a family at this time involve maintaining a grasp of those faces
of life, which continue to have meaning, while striving for a deeper awareness and understanding of the present
Provide facilities for individual differences and needs of family members.
Work out a system of financial responsibility within the family.
Establish a sharing of responsibilities.
Re-establish a mutually satisfying marriage relationship.
Strengthen communication within the family.
Rework relationships with relatives, friends, and associates
Formulate a workable philosophy of life as a family.
Stage VI. Young Adult (20 – 40 years old)
The specific developmental tasks of the youth as he is making the transition from adolescence into young
adulthood can be summarized as follows: choosing a vocation, getting appropriate education or training, and
formulating ideas about selection of a mate or someone with whom to have a close relationship. For the young
adult in general, the following tasks must be achieved regardless of his situation in life.
Accepting self and stabilizing self-concept and body image.
Establishing independence from parental home and financial aid.
Becoming established in a vocation or profession that provides personal satisfaction, economic independence,
and a feeling of making a worthwhile contribution to society.
Learn other ways of expressing love aside from sexual intimacy.
Establishing an intimate bond with another, either through marriage or with a close friendship.
Establishing and managing a residence or home.
Finding a congenial social group.
Deciding whether or not to have a family.
Formulating a meaningful philosophy of life.
Becoming an involved citizen in the community.
Family Developmental Tasks
In summary, the family of the young adult must accomplish the following tasks.
Rearranging the home physically and reallocating the resources (space, material objects,etc.) to meet the needs
of remaining members.
Meeting the expenses of releasing the offspring and redistributing the budget.
Redistributing the responsibilities among grown and growing children and between the husband and wife on the
basis of interests, specialty, and availability.
Maintaining communication within the family to contribute to marital happiness while remaining available to
young adult and other offspring.
Enjoying mutual companionship as a husband-wife team while incorporating changes.
Widening the family circle to include the close friends of spouses of the offspring as well as the entire family of
Reconciling conflicting loyalties and philosophies of life.
Stage VII. Middle Age (40 – 65 years old)
Family Developmental Tasks
In summary, the following developmental tasks must be accomplished for the middle-aged family to survive and
achieve happiness, harmony, and maturity.
Maintain a pleasant and comfortable home.
Assure security for later years, financially and emotionally.
Share household responsibilities.
Draw emotionally closer to a couple.
Maintain contact with grown children and their families.
Keep in touch with aging parents, siblings, their families, and other relatives and friends.
Participate in community life beyond the family.
Reaffirm the values of life that have real meaning – philosophical, religious, and social.
Stage VIII. Aging Couple
Family Developmental Tasks
The following developmental tasks are to be achieved by the aging couple as a family as well as by the aging
Decide where and how to live out the remaining years
Continue a supportive, close, warm relationship with a spouse or significant other, including a satisfying sexual
Find a satisfactory home or living arrangement and establish a safe, comfortable household routine to fit health
and economic status.
Adjust living standards to retirement income, supplement retirement income.
Maintain maximum level of health; care for self physically and emotionally.
Maintain contact with children, grandchildren, and other living relatives – finding emotional satisfaction with
Maintain interest in people outside the family and in social, civic, and political responsibility.
Pursue new interests and maintain former activities in order to gain status, recognition, and a feeling of being
Find meaning in life after retirement and in facing inevitable illness and death of oneself, spouse, and other
Workout a significant philosophy of life, finding comfort in that philosophy or religion.
Adjust to the death of spouse and other loved ones.