Background and Literature Review
According to Functionalist Theory (Parsons & Bales, 1955), family is the most important social institution. Through this institution children establish emotional ties and begin to internalize such things as cultural norms and values. The family provides permanency, individuals being related by ancestry, marriage or adoption. At its core concepts functionalism provides an understanding of the family’s role in helping children to develop and be productive in society.
The family provides universal components for its members. The family has two central functions the socialization of children and stabilization of adult personality (Parsons & Bales, 1955). Socialization of children occurs in the early stages of childhood. According to (Parsons & Bales, 1955) throughout the process of socialization the child’s personality is shaped to encompass the core values of the society the family is immersed in, in addition, these core values become part of the child (p. 18). Children are born without any culture it is the role of the family (i.e. the parents) to socialize their children, this is done in the form of language as well as the roles we are to play in life. (Parsons & Bales, 1955) states “The human personality is not “born” but must be “made” through the socialization process that in the first instance families are necessary (p.16).” Through the roles in the family girls learn to be daughters, friends, sisters, wives and mothers, In addition, the child learns about the occupational roles that their society has expected for him or her. The child learns of these occupations by observing the roles the family members play in society (Parsons & Bales, 1955). Fu...
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...s structure. His thinking informed him that the family structure develops the members and assigns roles so that they could be productive in society (p.19). Although family has taken different forms; family is still pertinent to the development of its members and to meet the needs of society. If this were not true family would have been selected out according to the theory and another form of structure would have replaced it to develop the children so that they may contribute to society. The family is still a strong stable institution that is capable of executing those two basic functions.
A critique of the theory is the intact family being the best structure for development of its members. The theory suggests that any deviation from this structure does not serve its members well and does not develop them to contribute to society (i. e. single-parent families)
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