Hence, the family does not only fulfill the reproductive functions for the human race, but it also serves as the primordial relation establishing social bonds. It also acts as the foundation providing psychological and emotional stability and security as intimate relationship is established among its members. With these bonds, the economic support provided by the family becomes a substantial factor determining the economic function of the family. At the same time, Denham (2005) recognized the significance of family processes. It enables family unique and ready or ill prepared in assuming familial roles, changes and challenges.
Moreover, family is embedded in society. This reality posits the truism that values, norms, culture, tradition and other similar factors influencing the family are both stemming from the family (itself) and society. However, the interweaving connection between family and society has created a gap, e.g. the divide between autonomy and hierarchy; establish a spasm on how family should be understood. According to the family systems theory, family is seen as a small unit (Hanson and Kaakinen, 2002). As a unit, the good of the family as whole is eminent.
It takes precedence over the good of the individual. On the other hand, the bio-ecological theory recognizes the significance of the connection between the individual and the environment in which the person is thriving (Boemmel and Briscoe, 2001). This means apprehending the family implies looking at it not only from the standpoint of the group or unit but it also involves understanding the individual, the environment and other diverse factors interacting with, influencing it and transforming it. In this regard, a more holistic perception of family is gained as the family is contextualized (White and Klein, 2008).
The interaction between the physiological/genetic make-up of the individuals in the family as well as their ‘historicism’ is both accounted as crucial in the dynamics of the family (White and Klein, 2008). In effect, the nature and nurture debate is stymied because both are given primordial significance. From this brief discourse, for me family is a “group of people bonded by blood and/or other legal ties that are sharing, interacting, interdependent and linked with one another as they traversed life’s journey.
Moreover, their relation is indispensible in the shaping of each other’s life meanings and worldview”. My personal view of what a family is may not be enough to cover the complexity of what a family should be.