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Importance of family as a social unit

Updated on September 15, 2015

A family is a group of two or more people who are either related by blood marriage or adoption and live together. People who are related by marriage or adoption are considered to a legal bond. Relation by blood includes children born of the same parents or people sharing a common ancestry.

There are three main types of families which include: nuclear, single parent and extended families. The nuclear family is made of a father, mother and their children. The nuclear family is headed by the man assisted by his wife. This is the ideal family setting as the children have both parents to learn from. The single parent family, is made of a parent either sex and his/her children, the trend occurring due to divorce, death of one parent or having children out of wedlock. Extended family is made of the basic family unit and other relatives for example uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. Extended family is common in African communities more than in the west communities.

Most families are headed by men, however women also play a significant role .Though it has long been thought that men are superior to women, it is not case. Man and woman play complimentary roles and thus the family thrives when their efforts are combined. It is important for both parties to learn their gender defined roles so as to ease the running of family matters. Children are obliged to obey their parents, who on the other hand are obliged to provide for them. Parents should be understanding and be good role models to their children.

The benefits of being in a family are innumerable. First it’s a setting which provides a conducive environment for children to grow up in. In fact most of the deep rooted beliefs, habits and ambitions, which are the core motivations in life, are learnt from the family. Secondly it’s where one can easily find solace, as it goes east or west home is the best. It is also the way through which life is perpetuated and young life nurtured.

The family unit being that vital a component of the society it should be preserved at all costs. In these modern times the family unit faces numerous challenges. Among the challenges include same sex marriages (gayism and lesbianism), drug and alcohol abuse, irresponsible parenting, poverty, power wrangles and many more. Employment and career pressures are also taking toll on family life as people are too busy earning and scaling the career ladder that they do not have time for family. Drug and alcohol abuse create differences within the family, lack of respect and children lack role models. The media is also contributing to fall out of family by showing trends such as divorce and same sex marriage to be fashionable. The important thing is to know how to handle the challenges so as to preserve the family and in extension the society.

Having considered the many dimensions of family as the foundation of the society and its existence since the beginning of times, it is important to do all in our capacity to uphold family. After all, the society is just a reflection of the family. All virtues and vices likewise evident in the society start from the family unit. If numbers are anything to go by, research shows that people from happy families are highly productive at work, school and also on social platforms. Research also shows that people who have undergone abuse in families tend to become abusers too, have low productivity and poor on social platforms. Thus family life has a great impact on the society at large, which means that problems facing society can be corrected at family level before they get out of hand.


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    • B Brian Hill profile image

      B Brian Hill 

      3 years ago

      The family is the first source of monitoring. Your article so beautifully states this. Very will written with points that show how as families break down, so do our societies. Fantastic!

    • Allpeaks profile imageAUTHOR

      Austine Misula AllPeaksAuthors 

      3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Very true, as long as the family is together, so may social problems can be easily avoided.

    • blessedp profile image


      3 years ago

      Nice hub. In my part of the world I have seen many broken homes because the base of the family is broken. Whether mother or father has left it all depends. Too many single parenting exist in our society nowadays. The strong unity that a mother and a father brings in a family brings forth good women and men for the next generation.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      When families are our #1 priority, other aspects of life seem to fall into place much more readily. We realize that our family is where the greatest peace and happiness are created. Without family, loneliness becomes a major issue.


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