The family is the basic unit of society. Families exist in all sizes and configurations and are essential to the health and survival of the individual members and to society as a whole. As the primary group for the individual, the family serves as a buffer between the needs of the individual and the demands and expectations of society. The role of the family is to meet the needs of society (Taylor, et. Al., 1989).
In today’s society, Friedman defines the family as composed of two or more people who are emotionally involved with each other and live in close geographical proximity.
The family provides a set of functions important to the needs of the individual members and to society as a whole. The family provides the individual with the necessary environment for development and interactions; it also provides new and socialized members for society.
4 Major Functions of a Family: (Friedman, 1981)
Physical Function – carried out by providing a safe, comfortable environment necessary to growth, development and rest/recuperation.
Economic Function – provide financial aid for members, as well as, meeting monetary needs of society.
Reproductive Function – it is met by the birth of children.
Socialization Function – this is of major importance and includes teaching; transmitting beliefs, values, attitudes and coping mechanisms; providing feedback and guiding problem – solving.