The Nuclear Family And Alternative Family Structures

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1. Introduction
In this essay I will be discussing the nuclear family which is seen as the traditional family versus the alternative family structures. These alternative family structures consist of extended family, assisted family, surrogate families, single-parent families, child headed households, joint family also referred to as reconstituted as well as modified extended family. I will also be giving my own assumption and bias of nuclear family and alternative family structures.

2. Definition of a nuclear family
According to Murdock (1949) “The family is a social group characterised by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially
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The reason why I say this is because that is what a nuclear family is also referred to as a traditional family. Another reason for this is because I grew up in a nuclear family and believe that is what it should consist of and till this day I still live in a nuclear family.
4. Alternative family structure
According to Smith (1995) a structure refers to the amount of family members and to the labelling of familial positions that include a parent, spouse, child and other family.

4.1 Extended family
This is where at least three generations of family live together in one household or in a marriage where they believe in having more than one sexual partner. The type of family can include in-laws, friends or other individuals whose parents share a bond and emotional closeness within (Friedmann, 1998).

4.2 Modified extended family
In this type of family the family members do not live in the same household but separately. Even though they do not live together they still exchange services and goods on a regular basis. An example of this is when grandparents that reside near to their children might come over or the children go over to them and they then babysit their grandchildren. In return their children might offer to help with repairs.
4.3 Assisted
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The A.bout dictionary online (1995) defines surrogate as a person that functions as a substitute for someone. It is a figure of authority that takes on the role of a mother or father in another’s unconscious or emotional life.

4.5 Single-parent family
This refers to a single parent who resides with his or her children who are dependent on them in a household. Although the parent of this household can be run by a male or female the head of these households or families are usually females. The resources that these families have nearby vary, it can be a women who’s divorced whose ex-husband takes care of the children by giving a financial contribution to the raising of the children or if their parents reside nearby they usually offer practical or financial help to raise the children. It can also imply that the mother or father raises the children single-handedly.

Grandparents often become the family’s first support in times of crisis which include financial support, care-giving and advice. The grandparents are also seen as role models, family historian, fun playmates as well as mentors. They also help the children to establish self-esteem and security (Congrands,

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