What Makes a Family?

Published 19 Apr 2017

A family can be defined as a communal unit living collectively, in human visualization, a family is a comprehensive group of individuals or people sharing a close relationship which compromises of a mated couple including their offspring’s. In essence, families form generations-each family matures to a point of gaining self sufficiency translating the subsequent generation is equally able to provide for itself. Others aspects that are linked to the formation of a family include culture,affinity,friendship,economy,tradition as well as honor which are in nature metaphorical, growing progressively to form nationhood and hence humanity. As units of socialization and fundamental institutions crucial too the structure of society, the family is the key subject of study sociologists.

However, the most often asked question is what makes a family? According to Dr.Hutter (2001), he argues that “The family is the nucleus of American life”. Examining the context of American family, it would be instrumental to understand that, due to the changing landscapes of social life, the conventional concept of a family have acquired a new dimension and meaning. This trend is being allied to such factors as, the increasing rate of single mothers, single fathers, gay and lesbian families among others. Thus, examining the context of what makes a family in American context Dr.Hutter asserts that, Money can assuage many of the stresses of everyday family life, to be sure. But it’s not the panacea for shaping a successful family. The process must involve nurturing and support, as well as control and guidance of children. Affluent parents who are neglectful cannot overcome that neglect of their children with money (2001). Comparing this stance with the article “Dad’s Role Redefined in the U.S. Household “(2001),it is apparent that,

American family is undergoing unstoppable metamorphosis, this is due to the fact that, traditional tenets are being replaced by instances where the family is being viewed from a different approach.traditionally,man was often viewed as the bread winner, but due to the changing social, political and economic spheres, equally women are also being involved in the equally position as men, hence the article Dad’s Role Redefined in the U.S. Household infers “women’s new options are good not just for themselves but for their children as well” (2001).

Despite dissimilar instances where the American families are seen to be impacted by happenstances of separation and divorce, the two articles provides a profound insight into what real makes the American family.

Therefore, it ids essential to assert that despite the scope of raising children and having financial stability to cater for the family, the two articles posits that, affection and being there for each other greatly contributes to the fundamental aspects of sustaining a family. As is established in the article “What Makes a Family?” the author states “Successful parents and victorious children often result from an understanding of the different positions and perspectives they maintain. Parents and children must be sensitive to each other’s respective concerns. Here, too, an atmosphere of understanding and sharing must prevail. Family members must accept the fact that life extends beyond the family for each of its members. This outside or other life must also be taken into consideration as one deal with another” (Hutter, 2001).

By integrating the two articles, it is essential to point to the point that, in America today, there is a ranging debate on what really constitutes a family, and it is from such an observation that it is established there is a broad margin splitting the American society. Traditionally, the American family compromised the father, mother daughter and son. Yet according to the author of “Dad’s Role Redefined in the U.S. Household” he notes that, people have changed, as well as the communities,meaning,stay at home mothers are becoming rare by day and in it wake, single parent homes are increasing significantly.

Basically, by examining what makes an American family today, diverse aspects have to reconsidered in total, note that, in some instance, the mother or the grandmother could be the one taking up the role of the provider,disciplinarian,protector as well as being caregiver. While the entrance of the absentee father has taken the centre stage, and this has brought a new definition of what makes a family to a new level, where the exact definition cannot be comprehensive.

Therefore, the article “Dad’s Role Redefined in the U.S. Household” unlike “What Makes a Family?” seems to portend that, the Americans are brought up to accept that the only way to embrace a family is to have in place all viable components that makes a family in place,however,time have changed and new challenges have been created. Therefore, as Hutter (2001) stated “Contemporary society often demands a highly mobile group of workers who’ll go where the jobs are. This desire to maximize economic opportunities often causes the breakdown of longstanding patterns of kinship interaction. In addition, the greater concern for individual advancement often takes precedence over interest in extended family ties and obligations”.


  • Hutter, M. (2001, January). The American Family. U.S. Society & Values. An electronic journal of the U.S. Department of State, Vol. 6, No. 1,
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