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18 Examples of Family

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A family is two or more people who are related by kinship or bound together with affinity and commitment. Families may be legally recognized by a society or may be formed with mutual understanding. The following are common characteristics of families.

Institutions

Families are institutions meaning that they are enduring features of societies that contribute to the structure and stability of a society. For example, the ability of families to get along in positive, supportive and cooperative ways contributes to the general stability of a neighborhood, city or nation.

Family Culture

Families may participate in national culture, traditional culture, superculture and subculture. Families also each have their own culture. For example, a family with a norm and expectation that everyone wake for a social breakfast together.

Traditions

Families can have unique traditions that serve to provide continuity with the past and to provide shared experience across generations. Likewise, families may play a major role in the observance of the traditions of a society, culture or place.

Roles & Responsibilities

Families may adopt roles and responsibilities regarding things such as raising children, income, administrative tasks, housework, maintenance work and caring for pets. This may benefit from the specialization of labor whereby productivity and efficiency are increased by focusing on specialized roles and tasks. For example, if a grandparent in a multigenerational household contributes with occasional babysitting this may allow a parent to generate greater income that benefits the entire family.

Households

Families may live together whereby they form a household. By living together, families may be able to provide things such as safety, security, support and social inclusion that benefit all members.

Family Economy

Families may form economic units whereby they pool resources and pursue shared economic goals. In fact, families tend to be a dominant economic force. For example, family purchasing tends to dominate consumer markets. Families are also efficient as they can share assets, purchase in bulk and specialize their labor to produce economic benefits for all members.

Knowledge

Families serve to share knowledge, know-how and information. For example, a family that teaches their children to cook with traditional methods.

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is the ability to influence in a culture, as the term implies this tends to be socially and economically valuable. Families commonly build up the cultural capital of their members. For example, families play a critical role in language acquisition which is an important element of cultural capital.

Relational Capital

Relational capital is the value of your relationships. As family bonds can be quite strong, these relationships are often important cornerstones of relational capital whereby your family members may be willing to leverage their social connections on your behalf.

Wealth

People may diligently preserve their wealth in hopes of providing more economic security to their children and grandchildren. It is also common for families to teach each other about financial management and the preservation of wealth. This has a large effect on the structure of wealth whereby families as an institution arguably control far more resources than any other type of institution, including governments.

Family Business

Family businesses produce around 70% of global GDP such that families are arguably the dominate type of economic institution1. These aren't necessarily small businesses as it is common for large and mid-sized firms to have elements of family control and ownership.

Safety

Ideally, families provide safety and security to members. For example, a household where parents and/or grandparents diligently watch over children.

Social Inclusion

Families provide social inclusion that may include unconditional love, bonding, support and nurturing. For example, a mother and son who have bonded over the experience of parenthood and childhood.

Childhood

Families play an important role in childhood as they may provide safety, security, support and growth. For example, families that play with children and give them ample time and opportunities for play and social interaction.

Shared Experience

Families spend time together and may enjoy a wide variety of shared experiences such as social meals, conversation & debate, entertainment, leisure, recreation, travel, play, working together, pastimes, holidays, observances, rituals, cultural and community events.

Rites of Passage

Families may recognize and celebrate the milestones of their member's lives. For example, a birthday, graduation ceremony or wedding.

Quality of Life

Families may support each other and help each other in ways that are invaluable to quality of life. For example, a family that cares for a member who is unhealthy, injured or of advanced age such that they require support.

Epic Meaning

Epic meaning is the purpose that an individual sees in their life. This often involves family whereby doing good for your family and seeing them thrive can be a major element of self-fulfillment.
Overview: Family
Type
Definition
Two or more people who are related by kinship or bound together with affinity and commitment.
Related Concepts

Notes

The examples above are common characteristics of families. Not all families have all of these characteristics. For example, not all families have children, roles or businesses.

Family

This is the complete list of articles we have written about family.
Economic Life
Epic Meaning
Extended Family
Family
Family Culture
Family Life
Family Traditions
Filial Piety
Household Items
Households
Importance of Family
Institutions
Nuclear Family
Personal Relationship
Play
Quality Of Life
Role Of Family
Social Roles
Wealth
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1"Family Businesses", World Economic Forum, 2022.

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An overview of family culture with examples.

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Social Goods

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