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What is a family?

The dictionary defines the family as “a fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.” from

Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach defines a family as “two or more people who consider themselves related by blood, marriage, or adoption.” from Sociology text/web page

There are many different kinds of families. Each person has their own definition of a family. Every culture has a different view on what a family should consist of.

Here are just a few examples of family types, as well as some links to other areas for further information.

Nuclear Family

A Nuclear family typically consists of a husband, a wife, and their children. These families are slowly becoming less popular as there are so many different variations of the family unit.

“A nuclear family consists of a mother, father, and their biological or adoptive descendants, often called the traditional family. The nuclear family was most popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. The nuclear family can be a nurturing environment in which to raise children as long as there is love, time spent with children, emotional support, low stress, and a stable economic environment. In nuclear families, both adults are the biological or adoptive parents of their children. “

Definition from Family Ties website, click here for more information


Illustration: Summer barbeque


Childless Family

This kind of family can have many reasons for not having a child, they may be avid travellers or they may be interested in having pets that take up a great deal of their time. They may have hobbies or interests that occupy their lives so much that it would be difficult to provide a child with the kind of care they require.

Here is an article on a childless family.

A childless family is simply a group of people from all kinds of backgrounds and all walks of life who, for whatever reason, have never had children. Most have thought long and hard about parenthood and many have concluded (for various reasons) that it really wasn't right for them, while some are still in the decision-making process.

Definition from Family Ties website, click herefor more information.

Blended Family

Families that are blended usually contain parts of other family units as well as their own. Some are step families or just step parents. Children can be confused about what their role in the family will be once this new family is made. This web sitehas some valuable information on how to make a better transition into the “new” family.


Common Law

A common law marriage is when two people live together and are in a relationship for a certain amount of time. After this time the government declares them to be in a common law marriage.

This site has the legal definition of a common law marriage/family and the rules and rights of that union. Click here.

Here is a link to an article with a very different view of marriage versus common law union. Click hereto see it.


There are many different kinds of families. These are just a few examples of the types. Take some time to research what kind of family you live in!!!!

Site Created by Shelley Armitage
For GE066-02
October 13/04