Definition of Family

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Definition of Family

By | November 2010
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My Definition in Decline
George Sebastian
September 27, 2010

My Definition in Decline
The word family is derived from the Latin word famil, which means a household including servants, slaves, and all others that lived under the authority of the household head. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the word was commonly used to describe a married couple and their children. Just as the meaning of the word has changed, so has the functions and structure of the unit. Changed so much to a point that there are many different definitions and ideas about what makes a family and also many opinions about what doesn’t make a family. When people say that there is a decline in the “traditional family,” they are actually saying that there is a decline in one definition most often their definition of family.

There are many reasons for people thinking that the institution of family is deteriorating. New ideas about what makes a family arise and it is met with challenges and objections from the established views. Homosexuality, new legal definitions of family, cohabitation, rising divorce rates, interracial families, childless families, and remarriages are all examples of ideas that challenged the institution of the “traditional family.” So in many people’s eyes, these new family structures are not accepted as a real family. As they see more and more of these new families that are not accepted, they attribute it to the deterioration of the traditional family institution. Homosexuality is one of the most problematic trends because there is so much media attention and legal attention on the issue and it is also the most contrasting idea among the ones mentioned.

I think that the changing trend would be views as deviant by a functionality theorist because they focus more on the individual and the molding of one by social forces. They would focus on the individual as the decision-maker, but one whose decisions are a predictable and inevitable result of external...