Every person needs the support of others in life. This is why families play an essential role in our lives as they contribute significantly in many aspects of our lives. According to the Bible, the history of the family can be traced back when God created man and woman and commissioned them to procreate on earth. Since then, history indicates that people who have a related through blood ties have lived together as a family. However, in contemporary society, various definitions of a family abound depending on the function, role or the number of people it comprises. For instance, in some communities, all persons that are related stay in enclosed areas as a family whereas in some regions, a family only comprises of the nuclear setting, which has a father, mother, and a child or children. Despite all the above definitions of a family, Sharlet (2009) notes that “they more or less serve the same purpose among them been the provision of love and affection, money, and where socialization takes place”.
Therefore, this essay explicates three functions of a family, which include provision of money, love and affection, and a place where socialization of all family members takes place.
Provision of Money
A family as a social set up has myriad needs. This means that money plays a critical role in keeping the family intact. Various members of the family have various needs that have to be catered for by the breadwinner or parents in a family. Firstly, children are the most vulnerable members in a family and money contributes a great deal in alleviating their situation. Children in a family need basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. This bestows responsibility to the breadwinner(s) in a family to ensure that they get these three necessities in their lives. According to Puzo (2011), “basic needs in the contemporary society form just a percentage of what children need from their parents”. This is because the types of lives led by people has significantly transformed and now children need some form of entertainment from their parents. Thus, this explains why a parent has to ensure that the children get some form of entertainment, which can be in the form of a present or outing. A married couple also has a responsibility towards each other in a family. Traditional customs pointed out to the father as being the breadwinner in a family, but nowadays, trends have changed and all members of the family take care of one another. Thus, a husband is charged with ensuring the comfort of his or her wife and vice-versa. This explains why husbands or wives need to provide for each other in various ways such as buying of gifts, taking each other out for a treat or giving monetary gifts altogether. In families where one couple is the only person that works, it is essential that the couple that is working provides for his counterpart in order to avoid frustrations on the part of the partner that does not have a job. Extended family also plays a significant role in the family set up. This is because they contribute money when a member of their family needs some urgent assistance such as medical care or fees for school. Thus, provision of money is one function of the family.
Love and Affection
Provision of love and affection is another function of the family. As indicated earlier by Sharlet (2009), “love and affection plays a key role in the members of a family”. However, it should be noted that children are the most vulnerable members of a family; thus, the need for much love and affection availed to them. Firstly, it should be noted that love and affection contributes significantly to a child’s growth in the early stages of its life. Balswick & Balswick (2007) assert that “the relationship that a caregiver has with a child contributes significantly to the development of that child’s brain”. This means that children should be provided with love and affection while they are still young because it impacts on their future potential. Thus, it is essential for parents to play positive roles and be role models to their kids as this affects how their children interact with others. Harriss (1991) points out that “lack of love in a family contributes to children who are problematic”. The children from families that do not have love usually adapt their parents irresponsible behavior and end up causing trouble to their peers and other elderly members of the society. Basic needs do not complete all that a child deserves from a family. This calls for parents to provide good self-esteem to their children and making them feel secure and wanted within the family set up. This contributes greatly to children loving themselves and loving their peers, as well. This is what is called as the stable living understanding. Thus, several ways that love and affection abound in a family include provision of food, shelter, and clothing to children by parents. Secondly, basic education to children contributes to their self-esteem as they know that their parents care for them. Lastly, parents should ensure that their children learn culture and manners from the home setting.
The family plays a significant role as a social agent. This is because different members of the family can get to spend time with each other and share stuff and talk. Thus, making time for spending with the family is something that should be factored by any parent because it makes the other family members learn that you care about them and that you can be on their side when they need your help. Spending time with family particularly helps the children to get to learn new things from their parents. Sharlet (2009) notes that “many contemporary families are breaking up because of the lack of social ties between the members”. Notably, this occurs especially in families where both parents are too busy that they prefer giving their children money in order to keep them busy and forget that their parents owe them some time. Sparing time for the family increases love amongst the family members as it avails time for family members to share their secrets or problems. Thus, sparing time for the family is essential as it boosts trust.
In conclusion, despite the myriad definitions of a family, it has been established that they play more or minimum functions. Three main functions of the family are identified here, and they include the family as a socialization agent where parents spare some time for their children and for themselves as it builds the trust among the family members. Secondly, the family functions as a source of love and affection. Love and affection is critical for the development of children’s brains; thus, guardians are encouraged to show love. Lastly, families facilitate provision of money. In this case, children who are most vulnerable are the ones that require financial assistance from their parents. These financial provision abounds in various ways such as food, clothing, and shelter. In addition, going with the contemporary trends, children also require some leisure, which should be facilitated by parents. From the above-discussed points, it is evident that the three outlined functions of a family are paramount and prove that a human being cannot survive on his own.