A key concept in the social sciences, and especially in demography and sociology, is that of the family. The family is generally regarded as a major social institution and a locus of much of a person’s social activity. It is a social unit created by blood, marriage, or adoption. As a social institution, family not only influences individuals but also communities and societies at large. Family is the primary agent of socialization, the first institution through which people learn social behavior, expectations, and roles. Like society as a whole, family as a social institution is not stable. It changes along with society, and as family and family structures change, society also changes. It is generally assumed today that the modern family has undergone significant transformations in its structure.
Question – Is family institution a natural institution or a man made institution? – Family can be referred to as a group that is deliberately created or created by the virtue of birth.
From Hindu Family (परिवार, कुटुंब) is a manmade institution established by our Rishis over a period. Institutions are created in society with some purpose and objectives. We can take example of current modern institutions in society e.g. Postal Department, Courts, Legislative etc. Each institution has its purpose, vision and mission. This works as a frame work for defining policies and work for the institution. Same is the situation with this institution of Family. To understand what are the characteristics of the family as an institution, it is necessary to understand its purpose. If we are not aware of, we do not pay attention to its growth and well being.
Types of Families
There are many types of families, including family of procreation, nuclear family, binuclear family, blended family, and extended family.
- A nuclear family is a parent-child unit, consisting of at least one parent and one child.
- An extended family includes relatives beyond the family of procreation, based on blood and kinship bonds.
- A binuclear family is a unit made up of two households formed by divorce, usually consisting of children and new spouses of the divorced parents.
- A blended family consists of two or more participating adults and their children as well as children from previous relationships. Children in this type of family live with both sets of parents or near one while living with the other.
We can also define families in a different way like.
— Tribes, Hunting, farming…sheltered living
– Colonies, large families, villages
– Joint, separate families
– Spread out families
– Virtual or आभासी family
There is a sharp reduction in the percentage of classical “typical” families or principally “nuclear” families. Replacing these, now there is an increase in childless families, one-parent families, other family configurations, and quasi-family units based on non-marital cohabitation.
What sustained Hindu Culture?
There were many invasions by outsiders in Bharat. With numerous external as well as internal invasions and atrocities hindu cultural frame work remained intact. We see example of vanished countries and cultures at time of war. However, in Bharat, we see traditions are still alive. Do you know why that is the case? This happened only due to the intuition of family. Families despite all external pressures, were able to keep the culture like a seed. Preserve the DNA of the family and it germinate in right environment again. It is impossible for any external structure to provide this stability because they come under lot of external pressure.
There is a sharp reduction in the percentage of classical “typical” families or principally “nuclear” families. Replacing these, now there is an increase in childless families, one-parent families, other family configurations, and quasi-family units based on non-marital cohabitation. We see more and more dependence on institutions outside of the family for maintain the culture. Like a tonic can not be a substitute for food, other institutions like Temples, Schools etc can not replace the importance of family institution.