How Far Would Sociologists Agree That the Family Is Useful for Society

How far would sociologists agree that the family is useful for society? (12 marks)

Functionalists believe that the family are a crucial part of society as the family has three important roles to play. The three functions of society are emotional support, financial support and socialisation. The new right agree with the functionalists that the family should carry out these three roles; however they believe that the traditional nuclear family is the best way to raise children. A nuclear family is when there are two parents with a child or children. A traditional nuclear family is when there are two parents who have one or more biological child. The parents were always married as people used to be more patriarchal, unlike now where there are more cohabiting couples. The role of the man in the family was to be the breadwinner as he used to be in charge and earn the money. The role of the woman was to be the homemaker, cook, clean and look after the children, whereas in a modern day nuclear family, the roles of the man and woman are more shared as they both earn the money. New right sociologists believe that the traditional nuclear family is best as they strongly feel that children need both parents to carry out the three crucial roles that the functionalists believe in. Eg) if a child was in need of emotional support as she was having relationship problems, she would most likely go to her mum as the women is stereotypically more   helpful and nurturing. If the child was not in a traditional nuclear family e.g. if she was living with two males or only had a dad, the child would not be emotionally supported as she may not feel comfortable sharing her feelings with the opposite gender.

The family socialises people on how to conform to society’s rules by punishing each other when they deviate e.g. taking away someone’s phone. If people aren’t taught the rules of socialisation by the family, people would have no respect for each other. This would lead to conflict...