CRE3: Family Life; Present situation

This unit encompasses the notion of family in the present situation and the types of families that exist today

Definition of family

A family is the basic unit of society where a group of people live together in a home, expecting and expressing love and acceptance. Family members live in harmony in order to gain but also fulfill the goodness of the family.


This includes the importance of members to each other and to society. All members have a role to play for the good of everyone.

1. A family is the unit in society that helps to produce and reproduce members of society hence ensuring continuity.

2. It helps give children the first training, to know there are responsibilities they have to fulfill in order for them to be useful in society.

3. It helps inculcate into children the values, norms and customs of their culture, through guidance, ensuring they fulfill rituals which helps them to have an identity.

4. Family members provide to each other emotional support, to the members. This is through comforting, counseling a show of love and care for each other.

5. A family helps members especially the children to develop a religious attachment, knowing the existence and importance of God, which promotes order and harmony in society.

6. The family instills in it’s members a sense of knowing that different people have different ranks and thus deserve different treatment. This later promotes respect for people in society.Image result for family

7. It also ensures a dignified behavior among the elders due to the need to show a good example to the young ones. This results into general discipline of people in society.

8. A family helps members have an identity. Members of a family belong to that family which boosts people’s pride and esteem.

9. A family provide protection to all members of the family against any dangers that threaten their well being.

10. It caters for the economic needs of members, providing financial support for such purposes as education, marriage etc

11. It acts to preserve wealth where all members are determined to either keep such assets as land for future use or to sell them for in important reason.

12. It provides support for one’s formal education from start usually to when one can independently pursue it.

13. Through home rules and regulations, the children are introduced to the ideas of loyalty to state laws. This is the foundation of law and order in society.

14. The family provides a life – in – future guidance, that includes career and marriage guidance in order to ensure a successful independent life of a member.

Types of families

There are very many types of families. They can be categorized according to the membership, the marriage type, the lineage identification etc

By membership, there is the nuclear and extended families.

1. The nuclear family consists of the father, the mother and their children only. It’s common in the western world, Europe and America.

2. The extended family comprises the nuclear family members and other various relatives Eg uncles, aunts, grandparents, adopted children etc.

By lineage identification, there is the patrilineal and the matrilineal families.

Family structure has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. The “Leave it to Beaver” family is no longer the standard, and several variations on family have been created. There are six specific types of family structures identified by society today.

The following types of families exist today, with some families naturally falling into multiple categories. For example, a single parent family who lives in a larger, extended family. While these types of families are distinct in definition, in practice the lines are less clear.

Nuclear Family

The nuclear family is the traditional type of family structure. This family type consists of two parents and children. The nuclear family was long held in esteem by society as being the ideal in which to raise children. Children in nuclear families receive strength and stability from the two-parent structure and generally have more opportunities due to the financial ease of two adults.



Strength and Stability

Children born into a marriage tend to have more stability than children born into cohabitation. Pew Research Center found that 20 percent of kids born to married parents experience divorce, while nearly 50 percent of kids in cohabiting families experience divorce. Both of these groups of children have a better chance to one day live with a married couple than kids born to single moms. Committed spouses or partners model a loving, caring, and supportive relationship for their children. This translates into future success when children learn how to seek positive relationships and interact well with others. Children see partners work together to solve problems, delegate household responsibilities, and support one another through positive and negative issues.

Financial Stability Equals More Opportunity

Many nuclear families have enough economic stability to provide children with luxuries, opportunities, and a safe environment. Pew Research Center notes 57 percent of households with married parents were well above the poverty line while only 21 percent of single-parent households were. Children in nuclear families may be able to attend dance, gymnastics, music or other types of classes, especially when both partners work outside the home. Children with these opportunities are more likely to be successful academically and socially.

Consistency Means Behavior Successes

The successful nuclear family provides children with consistency in caretaking. Children who have both stability and consistency in their lives are more likely to exhibit positive behavior, earn good grades in school and become more involved in community and extracurricular activities. The nuclear family may eat dinner together regularly basis, go to church, and take family vacations which strengthens relationships and builds a solid foundation for future life goals.

Encourages Education

Proud family standing with graduate

Children born to parents with college degrees are more likely to attend and complete college themselves. An analysis by the Council on Contemporary Families indicates educated parents are less likely to divorce and have more resources to provide for children. Pew Research Center adds that parents with degrees are more likely to be in the labor force, which increases family income level in educated, nuclear families. The placement of value on education combined with a higher income level improves the academic future of children.

Health Benefits

Overall, research suggests children in families with married, biological parents have better social, emotional and physical health than other children. One reason for this is because married parents are less likely to abuse children. Nuclear families are also more likely to use emergency rooms and have the means to provide good healthcare for children. The emotional strain on children living in a non-violent household with two parents is significantly less than children living with one parent or other caregivers.

Communication Skills

Communication between family members in a nuclear household features fewer obstacles and distractions. With technological advances, these families increase communication from outside the home. According to an analysis by Pew Internet & American Life Project, nuclear families are the most likely of all family types to use internet and cell phones. This allows parents to better monitor child internet use and participate in online activities with children. Kids with cell phones have the means to keep in contact with parents about schedule changes and emergencies.


Every type of family experiences problems and emergencies throughout life. The nuclear family format is not always a viable option for several reasons.

Extended Family Exclusion

The nuclear family unit provides a strong bonding experience for immediate family members. The smaller family size allows individualized attention towards partners and children which creates lifelong bonds. However, one analysis published at Preserve Articles points out that the nuclear family unit can isolate people from other relatives and relationships. This breakdown of the extended family unit, won’t be beneficial in hard times. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins have a place within a family structure, but the nuclear family doesn’t always foster these relationships.


Acts International suggests family members, particularly mothers, have a tendency to burn out from attempts to meet every person’s needs. The focus on children can be overwhelming and leave little room for parents to take care of themselves. Without help from extended family, parents may need to take off work to care for sick children. The struggle to balance the demands of work, family and friendships without outside assistance leads to stress, depression, anxiety or other problems.

Conflict Resolution Skills

While less conflict and family stress is an advantage of the nuclear family, it also puts the family at a disadvantage. Conflict is a part of life, and conflict resolution skills are beneficial in school, the community and the workplace. Nuclear families can develop like-minded thinking, leading to fewer arguments within the family unit. However, it can increase the disagreements with extended family members. Extended family with differing opinions and ideas can help families see alternate viewpoints and learn to deal with outside opinion and conflicts.

Small Support SystemFrustrated father holding crying baby

Emergency situations, such as an accident or even a time of illness, can leave small nuclear families in crisis. The Preserve Articles analysis points out how extended family structures offer built-in help for these scenarios. In a nuclear family where both parents work and have young children, the ability to meet all expectations and needs solely within the family unit is not always feasible. Multi-generational households offer assistance as needed.

Self-Centered Worldview

According to the Concordia University – St. Paul, the traditional nuclear family is child-centered. This means the focus is on the immediate family, children in particular, for all facets of life. The family unit strives to meet its own needs and places secondary emphasis on others. This viewpoint can lead children to selfish tendencies and thinking. It can also create a narrow worldview where the greater good of society gets little consideration.


Single Parent Family

The single parent family consists of one parent raising one or more children on his own. Often, a single parent family is a mother with her children, although there are single fathers as well. The single parent family is the biggest change society has seen in terms of the changes in family structures. One in four children is born to a single mother. Single parent families are generally close and find ways to work together to solve problems, such as dividing up household chores. When only one parent is at home, it may be a struggle to find childcare, as there is only one parent working. This limits income and opportunities in many cases, although many single parent families have support from relatives and friends.


1. You Make All The Parenting Decisions:

As a single parent, the entire authority of making the decisions will rest on you. While this may seem a little intimidating in the beginning, you will soon realize what a boon it is when it comes to taking all the decisions that will affect your children.

From the school your children will attend to the classes they will take, the type of food they eat, the friends they go out with, the places you visit, what you buy and where you buy, how you spend your weekends, what you do and do not do and other restrictions or freedom that your child will ever have will all come from you!

2. Managing The Finances:

As a single parent, you will also have the choice to decide how you spend your money on your children and you. You will always be in a better position to plan your finances and understand when you can splurge just a bit more and when you need to cut down. You will also be able to help your children understand finances and teach them to manage money better.

When you start planning your finances yourself, instead of going for a family income and expenditure account that you may have done while you were with your partner, you will realize that most decisions that you take, such as what type of home you will live in and where, will all be yours to make, which is quite a big thing but a great choice at the end of the day.

3. Responsible children

While being a single parent means that you will have to handle almost all the work by yourself, it also means that you will teach your children will learn to be responsible for their actions at a young age. Of course it is not humanly possible for you to do everything on your own, whether it is for you, for the home or your child.

Being a single parent will mean that you help your child be a team player and work together as a team, instead of making your child rely on you for every little thing. Your child will learn the importance of planning and handling his or her actions. When you want to do something for the house, such as get a new piece of furniture or even go grocery shopping, chances are you will always ask your child for their opinion. Not only will it make your child feel important, but it will also instill a sense of responsibility that will come from participating in team work and everyday decision-making process.

4. Undivided Attention:

As the child of a single parent, your little one will get all your undivided attention, without the worry of your love and attention getting divided between you and your spouse. As long as your child is with you, your entire love and attention will be towards your child, and similarly, whenever your child is with your ex, the entire love and attention of your ex will also be towards your child.

No matter how things stand between you and your ex, your child will always have the chance to experience all the love and care without any of the negativity that could otherwise seep in when you and your ex do not see eye to eye. As a single parent who is not married yet, you will also have enough time on your hands without having to worry about giving your time and dedication towards building another new relationship. Also, once you do decide to get into a relationship, your future partner will already know about the time division that you have, and you will also be in a better position to understand whether or not a future relationship will work out or not.

5. Independence

While you were in a relationship with your ex, you most probably always tried to look at the relationship as a balancing act. From going out to work to working at home, to cooking or doing the dishes or doing the laundry, to managing your child’s homework to going for school meetings, there was always a list of things that you had to decide with your partner and see who would do what. It is possible that many times you got into an argument with your partner when you felt that you were always the one who had to do most of the work, or if your partner criticized you about your ways or asked you to do more. To make your relationship work, you most likely tried to iron out the differences and try and juggle more and more, which may have made you feel bitter and resentful towards each other.

As a single parent, though, even while the onus of parenting and managing the home is on you, you will still be your boss. When you know that there is no one else in the house to take care of certain responsibilities but only you, you will make sure that you find a way of doing it yourself to the best of your abilities. In a positive light, you will no longer be dependent on your partner to help you with certain tasks in the house or outside. You will learn to manage your time and whether or not you have someone to help you, you will still be able to do it on your own.


1. Always Short On Money:

As a single parent, if you do not have a financial settlement with your ex over finances, the chances are that you will find yourself in the difficult spot of providing for the expenses. While you try to take care of the money situation, you could often find yourself juggling between jobs and trying to take on more than one job to help support your financial condition. It can not only put a lot of stress on your mind as well as your health, but it can also take away a lot of your time and make it difficult for you to spend quality time with your children.

Spending all your time, attention and strength on focusing on the finances can take a toll on you, which can have a negative impact on the way you behave with your children. Until you have a proper plan where you can balance the income and the expenditure, it can get difficult for you to concentrate on anything else. Try and involve your children in the budget planning to make it easier to manage money as well as to keep them in the loop.

2. Being Overloaded With Work:

While being a single parent will give you all the run of the house and you will be the only one who takes all the decisions related to your home and your children, it is also true that you will have an overload of things to look after. As you also have to take care of the finances, it means that you will spend a lot of time at work, more so if you are trying to do multiple jobs. Coming down in the financial status from a double income family to a single income family can be a big change for your children as well as you, and in your efforts to keep your children’s lifestyle same as earlier, you may be taking up too much load upon yourself.

If you are trying to make your money count, you probably will also try to avoid any additional expenditure, such as household help. What it also means is that even though you be able to save on that money, the time you spend doing everything can get you overworked and irritated. Also, if your children are still too young, you may find yourself faced with a load of tasks that only you can take care of, and may not be able to delegate the same to your children.

3. Feeling Lonely:

Getting out of a relationship with your ex may or may not make you want to get into another relationship yet, but it does not mean that you will not get lonely. Whether or not you have an amicable relationship with your ex, you will still be alone at the end of the day, and even though you will have your children with you, you may crave some adult company, even if just for the sake of some end of the day grown up conversation.

Even if you may not be looking for any intimate company yet, you may feel that you are the only partner who is left to take care of everything, while your partner has conveniently taken the easy way out. Also, as you are the main and maybe only caregiver to your children, you will rarely have the time or the opportunity to go out and socialize with other like-minded individuals. Not meeting other people and not being able to spend time with friends can also make you feel extremely lonely.

4. Difficulty in disciplining of Children:

Often, even as you face the repercussion or loss of your relationship, your child too will have trouble in adjusting to the new status of being the child of a single parent. While you may be trying to do everything to make your child comfortable and feel safe and loved, there are moments that your child will feel abandoned or unloved, and may react in a rebellious or aggressive way. Such a situation can make it especially difficult for you to set boundaries for your child and discipline them.

Children can also be very smart at emotionally manipulating parents, and if your child is already going through feelings of loneliness and is upset or sad, you will have trouble in disciplining as well as following up on any rules that you may have set previously. Also, if your child frequently meets your ex and you and your ex do not have the same values of discipline, there can be a conflict of thought that can make your child feel confused about what to follow and what to listen to.

5. Negativity In Child:

Every child is different, and the way your child may react to your single parent status may not be what you had anticipated earlier. It is important for you to remember that your child will find the sudden change very disturbing and confusing, and there may be many instances when your child actually blames you for any of the problems that have surfaced in your relationship with your ex. It is also possible that your child resents you for some time, blaming you for being selfish and for breaking up a relationship and a home that your child felt was perfect.

Your child’s initial reaction can sometimes continue for a long period, and can also turn into a serious behavioral issue. The change in parenting status is a difficult change for your child to accept, and even your best attempts at trying to make your child understand can sometimes backfire.


Extended Family

The extended family structure consists of two or more adults who are related, either by blood or marriage, living in the same home. This family includes many relatives living together and working toward common goals, such as raising the children and keeping up with the household duties. Many extended families include cousins, aunts or uncles and grandparents living together. This type of family structure may form due to financial difficulties or because older relatives are unable to care for themselves alone. Extended families are becoming increasingly common all over the world.

Advantages of an extended family

1.- Education: children learn faster to share, to help at home and to be more careful about their things. Children get a lot of help with their homework.

2.- Socialization: in large families there is usually no loneliness, which allows children to have greater ease of relating to other people.Children have more playmates, More people to interact with and this helps them become more social.

3.- Company: there is always someone to play with, share your sorrows and also your joys, every time there is a family member who can support you.

4.- Collaboration: the members of a large family value more what they have, because they understand the sacrifice it entails for everyone.

5.- Benefits: in various places or establishments there are usually promotions for large groups and that is when they take advantage of the huge families.

6.- More support children receive more support and love  throughout their lives, from a baby to adulthood.Greater security to solve problems of economic crisis type. – Increased emotional support by being close to so many people who love you.

7. You can save money some extended family pool their resources to run their home so this help each individual to save money.

Disadvantages of an extended family

1.- Expenses: parents face much greater expenses than in cases of families with a smaller number of children.

2.- Control: parents must know how to control both their emotions and those of their children, or the atmosphere in the house can become a complete chaos.

3.- Less free time: due to so many members, leisure time may be non-existent, since there will always be someone to tell you what you do?

4.- Less privacy: in most cases they have to share a room, so privacy is rather scarce in large families.

5.- The bathroom: everyone thinks to go and bathe at the same time and if there is only one toilet is much worse.

6.- A lot of argument different tastes in food, movies and other things can lead to heated discussions .

7. – Less control of children parents are less likely to control their children because of being spoiled by grandparents or aunts and uncles.



ASSIGNMENT : CRE3: Family life Assignment MARKS : 100  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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