Six Functions of the Family
A functional family is one in which family members:
fulfill their agreed upon roles and
treat each other with respect and
meet each other’s needs.
The process by which children learn to
become human and adopt certain behaviour.
Children learn from what they see and
experience in their developing years.
Since children spend most of their early
years only interacting with their family members, the family unit has the
greatest impact on development.
Socialization and Language:
The ability to speak a language is one way
to prove the impact a family can have on socialization.
Children pick up the language of their
parents by imitating the sounds of their parents.
If no language is
developed at a young age, it is very difficult to establish communication skills
Proof – Feral Children
Another way to prove that children learn
language and behaviour from families is through studying feral children.
These are children who have been deprived of
human contact during their early developing years.
One case involves two girls in
India that were said to be raised by wolves.
They had no language but growled, yelped,
They could not stand erect.
They did not use their hands to eat but lowered their heads
Rules of behaviour
These types of cases show that human
interaction is required for children to acquire human behaviour.
The family teaches appropriate behaviour,
what to expect, and how to interact in everyday life.
Charles Cooley argued that we learn emotions
such as love, pity, pride, sympathy, generosity, guilt and a sense of right and
wrong, are taught to us by our family.
One study showed that the emotional health
of students was directly related to the relationship between parents. So even
emotional health is taught to us.
Patterns of interaction
Studies also show that children that have
been deprived of close family relationships which lead to emotional problems as
This forms a cycle as these adults may have
trouble meeting the emotional needs of their future families.
Evidence: Abuse cycle:
Families who have abusive
relations are prone to more abusive behaviours.
Studies have shown that
as children grow if they are taught to express violence when angry, they will
continue this behaviour throughout their lives unless they are re-socialized by
Children also learn how to deal with
problems from the example of their parents
EX. Children with parents that smoke are
also more likely to smoke.
Parents are role models for their children:
both positive and negative.
Students from parents that have a loving
relationship, and are supportive, have a more positive self image and were also
Students from families that have distrust
and hostility are more likely to have a negative self image and emotional
In order for a society to continue to exist it must
replace those people that die.
The family is responsible for raising children to
become contributing members of society.
In many advanced countries, families are choosing
to have less children.
Birth control has made choice
possible since the 1970’s.
In Canada we have an aging population. This
means less young people and more older people.
We will need to increase immigration to
fulfill jobs such as doctors, nurses etc.
There will be greater demand for healthcare
since most people will be older.
Younger people will have to pay more taxes
to maintain standard of living.
Families are the means whereby children are
supplied with the necessities – food, shelter and clothing.
In the past, children were needed to work on farms
and help provide for the family at an early age.
Today children are normally dependant on the family
until after high school.
Failure to provide:
When families fail to
provide any of the necessary element of these functions, over time or
repeatedly, they are considered to be dysfunctional.
This can lead to
emotional, social, and/or developmental difficulties for the family members.
A dysfunctional family is one where the main
family functions-providing love and support, and sharing
This can occur when a parent is an alcoholic
or neglectful, a teenager steals to support a drug habit, or everyone in the
family screams or is physically, emotionally, sexually, or psychologically
abusive to each other.