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Rules for each family member according to present day society

Abstract The family is a basic unit of study in many medical and social science disciplines. Definitions of family have varied from country to country, and also within country. Because of this and the changing realities of the current times, there is a felt need for redefining the family and the common family structure types, for the purpose of study of the family as a factor in health and other variables of interest.

Life Patterns of Strong Families

A classification scheme for the various types of family has also been put forward. A few exceptional case scenarios have been envisaged and their classification as per the new scheme is discussed, in a bid to clarify the classification scheme further. The proposed scheme should prove to be of use across various countries and cultures, for broadly classifying the family structure.

The unique scenarios of particular cultures can be taken into account by defining region or culture-specific subtypes of the overall types of family structure. Classification, definition, family, family structure, types of family Introduction The family as an integrated and functional unit of society has for a considerable period of time captured the attention and imagination of researchers. The family is a basic unit of study in many social science disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, social psychiatry, and social work.

The Family and Family Structure Classification Redefined for the Current Times

It also forms the basic unit for family medicine. Census definitions of family have varied from country to country and also from census to census within country.

Families First-Keys to Successful Family Functioning: Family Roles

The word household has often been used as a replacement for family. Just to give an example, a family in a developing country has a son living in the USA, happily married there with a wife, and he sends across some money to the other family members back home occasionally and visits the country once in many years. Should he still be counted as a member of the original family? Does this person and his wife share the same risks to their immediate health as the other family members back in the shared household?

Would this individual and his dependants in the new surroundings have access to the same kind of health care options as the other family members living in the country of birth? And would the offspring of this person born in the foreign country experience the same sociocultural and environmental exposures, as s he rules for each family member according to present day society have come into contact with growing up in the country of origin?

Trask[ 6 ] observed that while in the past, locale mattered, today social relationships are maintained over great distances with ease. Global communications such as the internet, e-mail, and satellite linkups are facilitating these relationships over space and time.

Need for Redefining Desai 1994as cited in Sonawat[ 2 ] defined the family as a unit of two or more persons united by marriage, blood, adoption, or consensual union, in general consulting a single household, interacting and communicating with each other.

While the definition is mostly fine, the interacting and communicating with each other may be a difficult thing to elicit or determine. Nuclear, joint, and three generation families. However, practical experience in community has shown that these categories are not mutually exhaustive. There are several new social dynamics and realities emerging with time. For example, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 of India recognizes and provides protection to female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage with a male partner.

Adjectives can be added to define the family as per marriage type or by locus of residence or authority. In a social sense people may see themselves as being members of several families, as members of families with their parents and siblings and also members of families that they have formed themselves.

Members who have been disowned legally will cease to be members of the family. Members living away from the physical premises of the shared house, who are not expected to return back to living in the house in the future, will also cease to be considered as members of this family, even though they may be sharing financial resources. Common kitchen does not only mean just sharing of a physical infrastructure of a kitchen, but also sharing of common cooked meals in the kitchen.

In such families where sets of members share the kitchen together but do not share financial resources, and those where sets of members share financial resources but do not share the kitchen together, the different sets of members should be counted as different families. Regarding common financial resources of the family, it is the sharing that is more important than contributing. An unmarried relative may be there who is not earning and thus not contributing economically to the family purse, but will be counted toward the family if s he is sharing the family financial resources.

In some families, people may have had tiffs and stopped sharing food together for a period of time that may be few days, few weeks, or few months. After what period of time do we say that they stop comprising a single family? Similar dilemma is there for a time period cutoff regarding rules for each family member according to present day society of financial resources. And a very important aspect in this decision would be future intent, that is, whether the constituents think the differences are irrevocable or they think the possibility of getting together is there, whatever may be the period of nonsharing thus far.

In case of any doubt, it is best left to a subjective assessment of the individual family unit at hand. The researcher may directly ask the constituents whether they still consider themselves as belonging to a single common family or not. It has been noted earlier that family membership and obligations are subjective and can only be fully understood from the perspective of the family concerned.

However, to be counted as a member of the original family, s he must continue to share in or receive money or other things of monetary value from the financial resource pool of the family. One important caveat would be that the individual must have the intent of returning to the original family in the future, unless compelled by needs of higher studies or job. Another case may be of a young adult member of the family who has gone abroad for work, or who went abroad for higher education and ends up finding a vocation there.

Such a person may visit back on rare occasions to his or her family of origin, but is reasonably expecting to be staying put in the new location for the foreseeable future.

Such a member would not then be exposed to the risk factors or the protective social factors common to the other members sharing a residence. So this person should be counted as belonging to a separate new family, irrespective of whether s he has married and irrespective of sharing of financial resources with the original family back home.

Biologically unrelated individuals living together in an institutional setting, for example, hostel, boarding school, working women's hostel, and so on, or living together in a single house, will be counted as belonging to their family of origin or as separate family units single individual families as the case may be depending on their future intent.

Family relationships

They will not be combined or considered together to form new family units. A person imprisoned for a known period of time does not cease to be a member of the original family unless legally disowned by the head of the family, or by the next head of the family if s he happens to be the head. This is because the person is expected to have the intent of returning to the original family unit as soon as the period of confinement is over.

The first step was to define the various types of family possible, which will cover the myriad variations possible in the current times. Then came the question of coming up with suitable terms to label the categories of family types, and it was thought of to come up with a uniform terminology scheme-based on the classic terms. For example, a proton would be an incomplete nucleus, a solitary existence.

Electrons would be something outside the nucleus, that is, a married couple nucleus is not there. An atom would be having a single nucleus only and possibly multiple electrons. Two nuclei cannot be there in an atom, it would have to be a molecule. Use of these terms borrowed from physics is expected to aid in easier appreciation and recall of the various family types.

Generally across various cultures, obligations to siblings are usually weaker than to parents. Two married brothers or two sisters living together with their respective families would qualify to be termed as a joint family.

It is a difficult task to categorize families according to any theoretical type or to generalize across or within cultures.

However, as per practical experience, the community throws up scenarios which may test any theoretical model of classification. Keeping this in mind, an exercise was done to contemplate a few exceptional case scenarios and discuss their classification as per the new model, in a bid to clarify the classification scheme further [ Table 2 ]. Table 2 Open in a separate window Changing Family Dynamics in the Current Times A paper on the structure of families in New Zealand over time has observed that the family is constantly changing and diversifying there.

Same-sex couples have been included in the data, but they can be identified as subsets of couple-only and two parent families. Certain types of family that are becoming more prevalent there include one-parent families and couple-only families.

Similarly, the sole-parent family can be identified as a subtype of an electron family type II. Also, for many children, both their natural parents may play a very real part in their lives even if they do not live in the same household. But, counting an individual e. Importance of the Changing Family Dynamics for Health Health has been shown to have multifactorial causation.

The family surroundings affect the health of an individual in several ways. Members of a family can be expected to share the risk factors for their health that may arise from various social characteristics of rules for each family member according to present day society shared housing, neighborhood, community, society, and culture. They would also share the positive factors contributing toward good health. All the members of a family living together who share the financial resources of the family unit would also share the risks of ill-health and costs of health care as well as the protection offered by availability of money with the family to tide over health-related issues.

Living in a family would also mean usually exposure to similar dietary behaviors and health-related lifestyles, among the family members. Another important aspect shared would be the healthcare-seeking pattern and preference. The changing dynamics of family composition can have important impact on the protective as well as risk factors influencing health.

Thus, an updated definition and classification scheme for types of families serves an important purpose for the practitioners of various medical and social science disciplines in the current times. Concluding Remarks It is to be expected that the changing societal arrangements in the current times will be a huge challenge for any model of classification of family structure. On top of that is the challenge to keep the possible classification groups to the minimum possible, so that analysis of the family structure as a factor in health and other outcomes, in future studies, does not become an inordinately complex exercise.

While the objective was mainly to redefine keeping the Indian cultural environment in mind, the sheer heterogeneity of the Indian population in terms of sociocultural milieu is immense. The current proposed scheme should generally suffice for use in other countries and cultures, for broadly classifying the family structure.

The intricacies and unique scenarios of particular cultures can be taken into account by defining region or culture-specific subtypes of the overall types of family structure defined in the present article. Footnotes Conflict of Interest: None declared References 1. Needs for a revisit. J Comp Fam Stud. Understanding families in India: A reflection of societal changes.

  • All the members of a family living together who share the financial resources of the family unit would also share the risks of ill-health and costs of health care as well as the protection offered by availability of money with the family to tide over health-related issues;
  • They form the building blocks of healthy family relationships;
  • Families that are having difficulties often find that their family roles are not well defined and individual members do not understand what is expected of them;
  • Relationships are played out in the context of communication;
  • This is because the person is expected to have the intent of returning to the original family unit as soon as the period of confinement is over;
  • Members of strong families work at developing good communication skills and spend a lot of time talking with each other.

The changing family in Asia: Bangladesh, India, Japan, Philippines and Thailand. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Statistics New Zealand's definition of family, its implications for the accuracy of data and effectiveness of policy targeting.

Elliott S, Gray A. New Zealand Immigration Service; 2000.

  • And children are expected to cooperate and respect their parents;
  • They are to provide physical resources e;
  • In case of any doubt, it is best left to a subjective assessment of the individual family unit at hand;
  • Members of strong families are devoted to the well-being and happiness of the other members;
  • Family Strengths Research Project;
  • Sharing activities — spending time together doing things they enjoy, for example, sports, reading, camping, playing games.

A report for the New Zealand Immigration Service. Accelerated systemic social change. Park's text book of Preventive and Social Medicine.