Sociology Revision
What is the family?
“The family are a close group of people, usually related not always. Who support each other and at some point in their lives tend to live in the same household.”

There is no correct definition on the family, Sociologists do not agree on a definition, broadly there are two types of definition;
• Exclusive definitions – These focus on the specific relationships within the family unit i.e. marriage
• Inclusive definitions – These focus on the functions of the unit e.g. support.

The Cereal Packet Family

A popular image of the family in Britain in the late twentieth century has been described as the cereal packet family. The ‘happy family’ image gives the impression that most people live in a typical family and these images reinforce the dominant ideology of the traditional nuclear family.

Functionalists Roles of the Family – Parsons

The Functionalist Talcott Parsons sees two main functions that the family performs these are:
    • The primary socialisation of children
      Parson argues that every individual must internalise the norms and values of society. He said it is the family that moulds the child’s personality to fit the needs of society, producing children who are committed to shared norms and values and who have a strong sense of belonging to society

    • The stabilisation of adult personalities
      Adults need emotional security, which is given by partners in a marriage, and they also need a source of release from the stresses and strains of daily life, which they get from being able to indulge in childish behaviour when playing with their children.
      This ‘stabilisation’ is often referred to as the ‘warm bath theory’.

Other functions of the family;
    • The family is an important agent of social control. It defines what is socially acceptable behaviour. The family also allow individuals to know the difference between right and wrong backed up by positive and negative...