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On the Definition of Family

Corbett (2004) defines family as “a unit of people connected by natural genealogical links most basically and ideally consisting of a father mother with their children, or in a means which morally and legally replicate these natural genealogical links, such as through adoption” (p. 3). The following are interviews on five individuals on their definitions of family. On the question how he would define family, Raj 34, male whose ethnic origin is India, said, “A family is reproductive unit composed of father mother and children.

” On the question whether same sex marriage can be considered a family, he said “no”, while he said “yes” on blended families, and “no” on single parent household. Raj says his family pattern is extended family. Marcus 26, male, a black American says, “A family is composed of children, parents, grand parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters including their families. ” On same sex marriages, he says “no” but “yes” on blended families, and “no” on single parent relationship. His family pattern is extended family.

Joanne 44, female an American, defines family as “an institution established by God whereby children are raised and nurtured and taught of the moral values for them to grow up as better individuals. ” On same sex marriages, she said “no” while “yes” on blended families, and on single parenthood, she said “probably yes. ” Her family pattern is a nuclear family. Choi a 35 year old Korean male says “A family is basic institution composed of husband and wife and children. ” He said “no on same sex Marriages, “yes” on blended families, and “yes” on single parenthood.

His family pattern is extended. Finally, Jane 25, female an Australian, defines family as “a social institution where there is existing loving relationship and values are and instilled and nurture. ” On same sex marriages she says “no” but says “yes” on blended families, and “no” on single parenthood. Her family pattern is matrilocal marriages. Similarities and differences in their answers On the first question, there are some degrees of similarities as each one has a concept of family as a social entity composed of three participants: husband, wife, and children.

The differences however was that most of them have incomplete notion of the family. The missing element for most of them is what binds the family. Raj definition for example, he understood family in the context of procreation. He says “a reproductive unit. ” For Marcus on the other hand, a family is binding relationships that extend to those out side the nuclear family. This relationship however, may exist only by virtue of the bonding of marriage. Unlike the first two, Both Jane and Joanne’s definition seemed to be more concrete as they both mentioned of what makes a family is.

Both mentioned that a family is a social institution where there is existing relationship and placed emphasis on values that each member must learn. Choi’s definition point to the idea that where there is father, mother, and children; although there is no bonding between them is still a family. These similarities and differences are obviously having something to do with their family type and residence locations in the USA. Apparently, those who have the same patterns of family type have similar definition of family.

Those whose patterns of family types are extended families, defines family in a way that the family is inclusive of all the immediate family members aside from the traditional father, mother, and children. On the other hand, in the case of Joanne whose pattern of family is nuclear family, her definition is centered on family as the nucleus institution wherein the focus is basically the individual: the husband, the wife, and the children. The home is the source of values.

In the case of Jane whose type of family patterns is matrilocal, her definition of family also focuses on the nuclear family. However, Jane’s definition reflects her idea of a family as a loving and caring relationship. Her matrilocal orientation is clearly depicted by her definition as mothers usually are more concern and caring. Since all the participants live in the same location, it is only their ethnic orientation that has been considered in this paper. Reference Corbett, A. (2004) What is a Family Australia: Tasmanian family Institute

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