The family

The Family

The family refers to a collective of individuals who reside together and share a bond through marriage, biological relation, or legal adoption. The members of a family are considered kin to one another.

The family serves as the fundamental building block of any society, as it is composed of individuals who ultimately comprise a nation. Furthermore, socialization typically commences within the family unit.

Types of The Family

The Family

There are several types of families, and each has its unique characteristics, customs, and values. Here are some of the most common types of families:

  1. Nuclear Family: A nuclear family consists of a husband, wife, and their children. This type of family is prevalent in urban areas and is influenced by western culture. Members of the nuclear family are usually close-knit and often support each other emotionally and financially.
  2. Extended Family: An extended family is a family structure that includes relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others. This type of family is more common in rural areas and is influenced by traditional Nigerian culture. Members of the extended family are closely connected and often support each other in times of need.
  3. Polygamous Family: A polygamous family is a family structure that includes one husband and multiple wives. This type of family is prevalent in some parts of Nigeria, especially in the northern regions. Each wife has her own separate home within the family compound, and the husband often rotates among the homes.
  4. Single-Parent Family: A single-parent family is a family structure that consists of one parent and their children. This type of family is prevalent in Nigeria, especially among women who have been widowed, divorced, or abandoned by their partners. The single parent is responsible for all the duties and responsibilities of the family.
  5. Adoptive Family: An adoptive family is a family structure where children are raised by parents who are not their biological parents. Adoption is not very common in Nigeria, but it is becoming more prevalent. Adoptive families are usually formed through legal channels and can provide a stable and loving environment for children who are in need of a family.

Roles/Functions of the Family

The family is a fundamental social institution that plays a critical role in shaping individuals’ lives and society as a whole. Here are 15 roles/functions of the family:

  1. Nurturing and Socialization: Families provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow and develop, including emotional, intellectual, and social growth.
  2. Emotional support: Family members provide emotional support to one another during times of joy, stress, or crisis.
  3. Economic support: Families often provide financial support to each other, whether it is through sharing resources or providing financial assistance during times of need.
  4. Reproduction: Families are responsible for creating new generations of individuals, which is essential for the continuation of the human race.
  5. Sexual Regulation: Families play a crucial role in regulating and shaping the sexual behaviours and practices of their members.
  6. Education: Families help their members to learn the basic skills needed to live independently, including language, social, and life skills.
  7. Transmission of Cultural and Religious Values: Families transmit cultural and religious values from one generation to the next.
  8. Health Care: Families often provide care for members who are sick or disabled.
  9. Social Control: Families help to regulate the behaviour of their members and teach them social norms and values.
  10. Status and Identity: Families help to shape the identity of their members and provide them with a sense of belonging.
  11. Recreational activities: Families engage in leisure activities together, which helps to strengthen family bonds and promote socialization.
  12. Protection: Families provide protection to their members against external threats, such as crime, violence, or natural disasters.
  13. Conflict Resolution: Families help to resolve conflicts among their members, teaching them how to handle disagreements in a healthy and productive manner.
  14. Networking and Social Capital: Families provide a social network and connections that can be useful in finding employment, establishing business partnerships, and achieving other goals.
  15. Care for the Elderly: Families often provide care for their elderly members, ensuring that they have a dignified and comfortable old age

Roles of Each Family Member and The Family as A Whole

Each family member has a specific function to perform. These roles include:

Roles of the father

The Family
  1. Provides basic needs: Fathers are expected to provide for the basic needs of their family, including food, clothing, shelter, education, medical treatment, and other necessities. This involves earning a living through employment or entrepreneurship, managing finances, and ensuring that the family’s needs are met.
  2. Maintains discipline: Fathers are often seen as the disciplinary figure in the family, responsible for enforcing rules and consequences when children misbehave. This helps instill discipline and respect for authority in children and promotes a sense of order and responsibility within the family.
  3. Shows love and maintain peace: Fathers are also expected to show love and affection to their family members, creating a supportive and caring environment at home. They can also help mediate conflicts and maintain peace in the family by promoting open communication and resolving disagreements.
  4. Role model: Fathers play a crucial role in setting an example for their children, serving as a positive role model in areas such as work ethic, integrity, responsibility, and morality. Children often look up to their fathers and emulate their behavior, so fathers have the opportunity to influence their children’s values and beliefs.
  5. Head of the home: In many cultures, fathers are seen as the head of the household, responsible for making important decisions and providing leadership to the family. This role involves taking charge of major family issues, providing guidance and support to family members, and ensuring that the family functions smoothly.
  6. Protects family members: Fathers are expected to protect their family members from harm, whether it’s physical danger or emotional distress. This includes taking measures to keep the home safe and secure, as well as providing emotional support and comfort to family members in times of need.
  7. Teaches culture: Fathers can also play a key role in transmitting cultural traditions and values to their children, helping them develop a sense of identity and belonging within their community. This can involve teaching children about their family’s cultural heritage, as well as exposing them to broader cultural experiences.
  8. Breadwinner: Fathers are often the primary breadwinner in the family, responsible for earning a living and supporting the family financially. This involves managing finances, making financial decisions, and ensuring that the family’s needs are met.
  9. Civic responsibilities: Fathers also have a responsibility to fulfil their civic duties, such as paying taxes, obeying laws, and participating in civic organizations and activities. This helps promote a sense of civic responsibility and encourages children to be engaged and active members of their community.
  10. Emotional support: Fathers should also provide emotional support to their family members, including their spouses and children. This involves being attentive to their emotional needs, offering guidance and advice, and being a source of comfort and reassurance during difficult times. By providing emotional support, fathers can help create a strong sense of connection and belonging within the family.

Roles of the Mother

The Family

It’s important to note that these roles can vary greatly depending on cultural, societal, and familial norms. However, here are some common roles that a mother may fulfill:

  1. Prepares food for the family: One of the most basic roles of a mother is to ensure that the family is well-fed. This involves planning and cooking meals, as well as grocery shopping and managing the family’s food budget.
  2. Cares for the home: Mothers often take on the responsibility of maintaining the home, which includes cleaning, organizing, and decorating.
  3. Bears and nurtures children: One of the most important roles of a mother is to give birth and raise children. This involves providing love, care, and guidance, as well as meeting their physical and emotional needs.
  4. Shows love to her husband and children: A mother is often the emotional centre of the family, providing love and support to both her husband and children.
  5. Helps in buying and maintaining family clothing: Mothers often take on the responsibility of shopping for and maintaining the family’s clothing, including laundry and repairs.
  6. Teaches the children home-making skills and other functional skills: Mothers may also be responsible for teaching children basic life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and managing money.
  7. Acts as the homemaker in the family: Mothers often take on the role of managing the household, including scheduling appointments and managing the family’s finances.
  8. Acts as a model for her daughters: Mothers often serve as role models for their daughters, teaching them how to be strong, independent women who can balance family life with their own personal and professional goals.
  9. Takes care of the sick and elderly members of the family: In many families, mothers are responsible for taking care of sick or elderly family members.
  10. Performs her civic rights and responsibilities: Mothers may also take on civic responsibilities, such as voting or volunteering in their community.

 Roles of the Children

The Family
  1. Respect and obey their parents and other adults in society: Children are expected to respect their parents and other adults in society. This involves listening to their guidance, following their rules, and treating them with kindness and courtesy. This role helps to instil discipline, build strong family bonds, and prepare children for the challenges of adulthood.
  2. Help in carrying out domestic chores and errands in the home: Children are expected to help with domestic chores such as cleaning the house, washing dishes, caring for younger siblings, and running errands. This role helps to teach children responsibility, teamwork, and the value of hard work.
  3. Learn the culture of the society: Children are expected to learn and understand the culture of their society. This includes traditions, customs, and values that are important to their community. By understanding their culture, children can develop a sense of identity, pride, and belonging.
  4. Give unity and stability to the home: Children play an important role in creating a stable and harmonious home environment. They can do this by showing love and respect for each other, communicating effectively, and resolving conflicts peacefully. This role helps to promote family cohesion and emotional well-being.
  5. Bear the family’s name: Children carry their family’s name and are expected to uphold the reputation of their family. This includes behaving well in public, being honest and respectful, and making positive contributions to their community. This role helps to build a sense of pride and identity in the family.
  6. Perform their civic rights and responsibilities: Children have civic rights and responsibilities, including the right to education, healthcare, and protection from harm. They also have a responsibility to obey the law, respect the rights of others, and contribute to the well-being of their community. This role helps to prepare children for responsible citizenship and active participation in society.
  7. Learn and develop new skills: Children have a natural curiosity and desire to learn and explore. They are expected to take advantage of educational opportunities and develop new skills that will benefit them in the future. This includes academic skills as well as practical skills such as cooking, gardening, or carpentry.
  8. Contribute to family decision-making: While parents are ultimately responsible for making decisions in the family, children can contribute their opinions and ideas. This helps to teach children how to think critically, express themselves effectively, and work collaboratively with others.
  9. Respect the environment: Children have a responsibility to respect and care for the environment. This includes conserving natural resources, reducing waste, and being mindful of their impact on the planet. By developing environmentally-friendly habits at a young age, children can become responsible stewards of the Earth.
  10. Develop social skills and relationships: Children are expected to develop healthy relationships with their peers, family members, and other members of society. This includes developing social skills such as communication, empathy, and cooperation. By learning how to build positive relationships, children can become more confident, resilient, and successful in life.

Family Relationship

The Family

The connection between family members is referred to as family relationship or kinship pattern, and there are specific terms used to describe these connections. Some examples of these terms are:                

ParentsFather and Mother
SiblingsBrothers and Sisters
AuntsFather’s/Mother’s sister
UncleFather’s/Mother’s sister Brother
NephewBrother’s/Sister’s son
NieceBrother’s/Sister’s daughter
GrandparentParent’s parent
GrandchildrenA person’s children’s children
First CousinsUncle’s or Aunt’s child
Great GrandparentsGrandparents of parents
Great GrandchildrenA person’s grandchildren’s children
SpouseHusband or Wife
ChildrenSons and Daughters
In-LawsSpouse’s family members (e.g. Mother-in-Law, Brother-in-Law)
Step-ParentA person’s new spouse’s parent
Step-ChildA person’s spouse’s child from a previous relationship
Half-SiblingA person who shares one parent with another person
GodparentA person who sponsors a child’s baptism or confirmation ceremony
GodchildA person who is sponsored by a godparent
Foster ParentA person who provides a temporary home for a child in need
Foster ChildA child who is temporarily placed with a foster family

Family Tree

A graphical representation or diagram, known as a family tree, illustrates the kinship connections among family members and depicts their relationships with one another.

The Family

Family values

Family values refer to the set of beliefs, attitudes, and traditions that a family considers important in shaping the behaviour, character, and relationships of its members. These values are passed down from one generation to the next, and they often reflect the cultural and social norms of the community in which the family is based.

Family values typically include concepts such as honesty, trust, respect, responsibility, loyalty, compassion, and love. They may also include religious or spiritual beliefs, a commitment to education, a focus on hard work and perseverance, and a dedication to maintaining strong family ties.

The specific values that are considered important may vary from family to family, depending on factors such as cultural background, socioeconomic status, and personal beliefs. Nonetheless, family values are generally seen as a crucial element in creating a stable and supportive environment for children to grow and thrive.

Meaning of Value

At the core of who we are as individuals and communities, lie our values. These are intangible and elusive concepts, made up of beliefs, feelings, and ideas about what we hold dear and what we aspire to be. Our values are shaped by our perceptions of what is right, good, and desirable, and are often reflected in the choices we make and the actions we take.

While values cannot be seen, they play a crucial role in guiding our behaviour and determining the course of our lives. Positive values, such as freedom, courtesy, good health, orderliness, friendship, leisure, love, patience, respect, tolerance, compassion, fairness, trust, and honesty, inspire us to be better people and contribute to a better world. On the other hand, negative values, such as dishonesty, envy, falsehood, selfishness, and corruption, can lead us astray and bring harm to ourselves and others.

A value system is the sum total of an individual’s or a group’s values, which serve as a blueprint for their thoughts and actions. This system is shaped by a range of factors, including personal experiences, cultural background, and social influences.

In the context of family, family values are the beliefs, feelings, and ideas that a family holds dear and considers important. These may include uprightness, respect, diligence, education, high moral standards, trustworthiness, and other values that contribute to a strong and healthy family unit. By instilling these values in their children, families can help shape the future of society and create a better world for all.

Importance of family values system

Family values are a set of beliefs, customs, and traditions that guide the behaviour and decisions of a family unit. The family values system is crucial to the well-being of any family and society at large. Here are 10 important reasons why family values are so essential:

  1. Promotes Stability and Consistency: A family with strong values is more likely to remain stable and consistent. Family values help to create a sense of security, stability, and predictability, which is essential for children’s healthy development.
  2. Shapes the Character of Children: Children learn values from their parents, which shapes their character and influences their behaviour. Family values help children to develop empathy, compassion, and responsibility.
  3. Provides a Sense of Identity: Family values give individuals a sense of belonging and identity. They provide a framework for people to understand their place in the world and their role in society.
  4. Teaches Respect: Family values teach individuals to respect themselves and others. Respect for others is a vital ingredient for building strong relationships and creating a harmonious community.
  5. Fosters Emotional Development: Family values help individuals to develop emotionally, promoting emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and emotional regulation.
  6. Promotes Healthy Relationships: A family with strong values is more likely to have healthy relationships with each other and with others. Family values help individuals to develop positive communication skills and conflict-resolution strategies.
  7. Builds Strong Communities: Families with strong values are essential building blocks of strong communities. They help to promote social cohesion, creating a sense of connectedness and belonging.
  8. Encourages Responsibility: Family values encourage responsibility, helping individuals to understand the consequences of their actions and the impact they have on others.
  9. Provides a Support System: Family values help to create a support system that can be relied on in times of need. This support system provides a sense of safety and security, promoting mental and emotional well-being.
  10. Preserves Cultural Heritage: Family values help to preserve cultural heritage, passing on traditions, customs, and beliefs from one generation to another. This helps to maintain a sense of continuity and identity, creating a sense of pride and belonging.

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