The social institution of the family is one of our oldest institutions. Through the years it has gone through some changes and many challenges. In this paper I will describe what the social institution of the family is, its functions, how it is failing in the United States, and how other countries are dealing with these issues.
The Family as a Social Institution
A social institution is an organization that puts in place a set of norms to connect an individual with the rest of society. There are predominantly five social institutions found among human groups, these are family, religion, government, education, and economics. The primary functions of a social institution are to satisfy the basic needs of a society, to define the social values within a society, establish certain norms for social behavior, support other institutions, and to give social roles for individuals within society. Social institutions are the foundations of societies to provide the necessary structure to maintain development, order, and provide for basic needs within a society (Cravens, 2011). A family is defined as two or more people who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption. In Western society the family as a social institution primarily consists of parents and their children. In other parts of the world families can consist of a husband having more than one wife which is classified as polygyny, and a wife who has more than one husband which is classified as polyandry. The primary functions of the family as a social institution are to provide socialization to the members of that unit, to provide new members to society, to teach the social norms of sexual behavior, and to provide the economic and emotional stability within the family unit (Henslin, 2008). Of the various types of social institutions, the institution of family is a vital component of life and has a significant amount of impact on the course of the lives of individuals. The development cycle... [continues]
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