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What Is A Family In A Modern Context?

This article looks at what a family is and shares some facts and figures about how it evolved over the years. It also discusses the different forms of families that exist today, such as same-sex couples or single parents.

Dr. Neha Mehta Psychotherapy 16 Jul 2020
What is Family in a modern context
2 Years Ago 659 Reads 6 min read

Family is a distinct word that brings out many diverse meanings. What is a family? Well, people tried to define a family in many ways. It is an interesting question because the unit of analysis is not always visible. Families can vary in terms of social, cultural, economic, and many other aspects. But in short, we can say that every family has a common interest to pursue.

Sociological view regarding family

The specific definition of family, according to the dictionary, is the basic unit of society comprising of two parents raising their children or a group of people living under one canopy and one head. It can be the group of people unified by a specific joint affiliation or a group of related plants or animals forming a category.

According to sociology, the word "family" is the derivative form of the Latin word familiar. When a group of people is connected either by birth or affinity, we can call them a family. The objective of a family is to retain the well-being of its members, along with society. Anthropologists tend to categorize the family organizations as matrifocal (a mother with her children), patrifocal (a father with his children), conjugal (a wife with husband and children), and avuncular or extended or mixed family. Elements of an immediate family might include spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. The extended family may comprise of aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and in-laws.

(Recommendation: Family Counselling)

The modern family context : 

The conventional standard family consists of a mother, a father, and children. Yet, the 21st century indicates different variations in the modern family structures, much different from the conventional outlook. Children are frequently reared by a single parent, grandparents, or even by homosexual parents. Some families decide to have no children or are unable to have children due to some medical or personal complications. Along with the widely accepted family definition, some individuals consider a group of friends, or pets, or colleagues as formulating factors of a family.

Rather than merely characterizing a family by a conventional definition, we must try to define a family with our perspective enriching the necessary explanation as well. We can have numerous families in our lifetime. Your description should be one that works for you as the proverb denotes, "Family is what you make it." Whether built of blood relations, companions, co-workers, pets, or a mixture of these, your family must give you the support you always need to prosper.

To some people, family symbolizes the foundation of values, the harmony of acceptances, unconditional surrender, joy, assistance, and love that amplifies the journey of life. To some, the family reaches beyond genealogies or obligations. The word 'family' encompasses all the people in their lives who dedicate love and support to them unconditionally. It is not a modest birthright but a selection, a domain of compassion that enables them to grow both as individuals and as social persons. here are some types of families in modern society

When friends are family:

When friends are family

Some people sincerely evaluate their friends as their family. Friends are the findings of a person's unique and emotional preferences. A person can feel more affiliated, more comfortable, and safer with ith a friend than someone with whom he has blood relations or has known for years.

When friends tend to become family, the proximity enhances. When friends evolve as family, you have a more reliable support system. They extend their hands without any compulsion. So whenever the question arises, what is family, the friends may be of grave importance.

When pets are family:

When pets are family

Sometimes, pets are inevitable members of a family. Pets develop a sense of responsibility for a modern family, particularly for children. For some couples, devoid of children, pets can be substitutes for children and taken care of as adorably as children. Some people consider pets as other family members and mourn when they pass away.

(Recommendation: Spending Quality Time with the Family)

When co-workers are family:

According to a new HP workplace survey, the majority of employees assert that they tend to spend more time with their "work family" than they usually spend with their actual family. So it is not surprising that the workplace gives birth to a new family. Scientists encourage this kind of relationship as the researchers confirm that having a job spouse can magically broaden your work life. These relationships consist of significant levels of acknowledgment, assistance, mutual understanding, integrity, loyalty, and honor.

When neighbors are family :

When neighbors are family

Sometimes, the neighbors can be your extended family as they help you in case of emergency, genuinely care about your kids, make you feel special, and takes care of your well-being. 

Virtual family:

The extreme new type of modern family is the virtual family. The development of social and virtual domains diversifies the needs of a modern man and consequently transforms the significance of the family explaining newer functions. The virtual family is the one that exists in virtual reality, especially in social networks, information software, and computer games. Family is one who cares for you and always expects your growth and happiness. Help, appreciation, vigor, honesty, and alliance should be the components of a family. Acknowledging each other's importance, we can attain mutual loyalty and consent.

The family should have the openness and enthusiasm to accept you that you exactly are. When things tend to go wrong, and a problem confronts you, you must always depend on your family. Family backs you to make the right decisions.


To sum up, we can quote from Carl Totton, Psy.D., Professor of Psychology, Phillips Graduate University."Building healthy families is a self-preservation strategy for any rational and sane society. An enlightened society is one that supports all of its members in reaching their full potential as human beings. I believe we can become real architects of our destinies rather than mere captives of our fate, of our past. This liberating model allows for true freedom as each segment of society takes responsibility for itself and our extended human family. " I hope the discussion fulfills your query regarding the quest for what is family.

  • Recommended

    Dr. Neha Mehta

    Consultant Psychologist

    Hisar, India

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    Expertise: Child Counseling, Couple Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, Self Improvement, Sleep, IQ Testing, ADHD

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