Family As The Basic Unit Of Society


Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about family as the basic unit of society. Enjoy the class!

Family as the Basic Unit of Society



A family can be defined as the smallest unit in society.

Family as a social group: It deals with a group whose numbers share close personal and long-lasting relationships. Members show concern for one another and share activities and culture.

Family as a primary social group

In all societies, children are generally born into families. We call the family a primary family, Family serves as a unit of socialization.

Members of the family unit include:

  1. Nuclear family,
  2. Extended family.

Compound family: This is a type of extended family that results from polyandry. Polyandry is a type of marriage where a woman is allowed to marry as marry husband as she wishes. The purpose is to increase the population e.g. India.

Responsibilities of a family

  1. They work for the development of the community.
  2. Population group.
  3. Political, social and economic development.
  4. Members of the society are replaced through the family.
  5. Family teaches the child the cultural value and norms of society.
  6. Family teaches the child love and cooperation.
  7. They control sexual behaviour.
  8. The family teaches the child about his Creator.
  9. Proper education of children.
  10. Family provides a lovely and friendly environment for their children.
  11. They provide the economic needs of their children.

Characteristics of large family size

Large family size is raised mainly through polygamous marriage.

  • The offspring of a polygamous marriage could be too many.
  • More hands are available to do house duties.

Where the family is large, competition tends to be much on the available resources.

Characteristics of small family size

Small family size is raised mainly through monogamous marriage. (A man, his wife, and children):

  • Offspring are usually few.
  • Taking care of members will be easier.
  • It is very easy to control.

Consequences of large family size on the nation’s economy

Families with large members, put pressures on the population because membership is large there might not be enough good services to enjoy, On the other hand, families with few members will not lead to population explosion. Such families make planning possible and easier for the government.

Family bond and living together as one family

The family bond is a strong connection between family members. It is also a close connection between two or more people.

Advantages of living together as one family
  1. Protection: In family, parents spend time with their children to instil a true sense of belonging and security Aged members of the family also give social protection from external and internal attackers,
  2. Happiness: All the economic and social reduces the family provides for its members are for comfort and happiness.
  3. Unity: The family an important source of unity. This is because most human activities are done together by members of the family.
  4. Education of children: Formal and informal education is given by the family members. This is the rewards every member of an organized family receives
  5. Maintain a good family name and reputation.
  6. Good social behaviour: Good and acceptable social behaviour is naturally given at home.
  7. Reproduction: This is the process through which the father and mother bring forth young ones to them.
Importance of good family reputation
  1. Good name: Good family reputation paves way for good names to the individual of the family.
  2. Respect: This is also accorded to other members of the community.
  3. It creates room for goodwill: Reputation is an asset that continues to attract goodwill. It is an effort
  4. In the past, that attracts reward in-kind and material form to the family and her society.
  5. Good family reputation is a strong instrument of protection and security.
  6. Good family reputation inspires the members of the family to make a more positive contribution to the community.
Roles of the extended family
  • The extended family acts as an agent of socialization.
  • Share folklores.
  • Learn how to relate to younger family members and peers.
  • Support family members in times of need.
Meaning of extended family

The extended family is an extension of the nuclear family type which does not survive more than one generation.

Members of the extended family
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles
  • Aunties
  • Nephews
  • Nieces
  • Cousins
How extended family are formed
  • Children from nuclear families having their children -> Grandparent, parents, children and grandchildren.
  • When the siblings (brother and sister) having their own family and children -> Cousins, nephews and nieces.
  • When the sons and daughters of the founder of the first nuclear family get married to persons from another family.


In our next class, we will be talking about Cultural And Social Values.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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