Defining Family Essay

Defining Family Essay

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Determining family structure and dynamics as well as defining the family is a complex process. Personally, I come from a very traditional family. Much like the assumptions made by the students in the article Defining Family: Young Adults’ Perceptions of the Parent-Child Bond by Mellisa Holtzman (2008). This is what comes to mind when most people define family; a nuclear family, with married parents, and biological children. However, a family is a complex system and can take on many different forms.
Today, in a world of the “postmodern family” the traditional lines of family structure are blurred. Children may come from diverse types of homes, or a couple, married or not may choose to have no children and consider themselves a family. The roots of these modern families may stem from ethnic origins, sexual orientations, or even seen as a rebellion of sorts from traditional ways. Children may live in homes of single parents, which is an exceedingly more common phenomenon as the divorce rate well publicized at around fifty percent. They may also live with homosexual parents either as a biological child of one partner or adopted by both. Also, the traditional married couple may choose to adopt locally or internationally, potentially blending ethnic backgrounds into one household. Whatever the background of the new nuclear family the challenges and experiences follow similar patterns.
This change in family structure and definition has become a very public issue in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau a family is defined as “two or more persons, including the householder, who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption, and who live together as one household” ( This legal...

... middle of paper ... make dysfunctional environments. Whatever the common thread is that links an individual to their family should be recognized and supported as that is what has shaped us all.

Works Cited

Family - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n.d.). Dictionary and
Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from
Frequently Asked Questions - U.S Census Bureau. (n.d.). Census Bureau Homepage. Retrieved
April 19, 2012, from
Holtzman, M. (2008). Defining family: Young adults' perceptions of the parent-child bond.
Journal of Family Communication, 8(3), 167-185.
Stephen, A. O., & Sabatelli, R. M. (2007). Family interaction: a multigenerational
developmental perspective. (4 ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Edu.

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