How Do You Define Family? The True Meaning (& Some Definitions) of Family

These days, a tough question to answer.

How Do You Define Family? That’s a tough question to answer.

Even the dictionary offers multiple definitions for the word.

A few decades ago, the word family, in most people’s eyes, referred to a mother, a father, and their children. Fast forward to present day, and beyond any personal feelings you may have, you’ll find that families come in all different forms, and the word can carry a different meaning depending on who you ask.

Apart from the pure legal definition, families today are often a mix of stepparents, half siblings, same sex parents, extended family members, etc.

Additionally (and beyond the biology), many people consider their family to be people in their lives who are not even related to them; they define family based on factors such as loyalty, respect, love, and responsibility.

Indeed, perhaps a better definition of family would include a group of two or more people who share a common goal, similar values, and have a long-term commitment to one another.

To better understand the depth and dynamic behind the meaning of family, and find a better sense of how you define the word for yourself, let’s take a look below at a few of the many ways people define the word ‘family’ including Traditional Nuclear Families, Blended Families, Extended Families, Single Parent Families, Same-sex Parent Families, Childless Families, & the Family you choose.

Traditional (Nuclear) Families

nuclear family

The traditional make up of a family consists of a mother and father, whom are married, raising their biological children in one household. While this is the standard that many refer to when they think of the word ‘family’, the reality is this type of family dynamic is less of a norm nowadays; especially as divorce rates are rising.

Blended Families

blended family

Blended families are when each parent has children from a previous relationship and both spouses’ children are now being raised in the same household. With the number of blended families in North America growing each year, more and more children are growing up with stepsiblings and stepparents making up their family.

Extended Families

extended family

Some people go beyond their household when they think of family. They think of their extended family, including aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Some children grow up very close to extended family members, some are raised by their extended family, and some families are not close with their extended family at all.

Single Parent Family

single parent family

As the name suggests, this very common type of family is where either the mother or father along with the child care the key makeup of the family. While the single parent family has become increasingly more common in Western culture, it is one of the more significant changes society has seen in terms of the ‘types’ family in the last few decades. Single families are often close, as they must work together to solve problems, and these issues can be unique due to the fact that often the mother or father is the sole provider along with childcare duties.

Same Sex Parent Families

same sex parents

While some segments of society may struggles to accept same-sex (gay) parenting, this hasn’t stopped same-sex parents from moving forward and starting successful families. In fact, some research indicates that gay parents – in some areas – may even be more successful than straight parents. These studies went on to conclude that Children raised in gay parent households show no significant differences in their achievements, social function, or mental health. Additionally, they tend to be more open-minded, demonstrate enhanced levels of tolerance, and may even have a better understanding of equitable, healthy relationships.

Childless Family

childless family

The childless family is simply a group of people from varying backgrounds who – for whatever reason – have never had children and express no desire to have kids. Many may have wrestled with the concept of starting a family, but concluded that it simply wasn’t right for them regardless of any standard family definition. While the reasons for this vary from emotional to more practical in nature, Many childless families choose not to have children as they wish to focus on advancement in their careers, travel, or more time with their friends / spouses. Often times, childless families may opt for pets instead.

The Family You Choose

family you choose

In a totally different direction, family doesn’t always have to be biological, or by marriage. Many people consider their close friends as family members, because they care for them as they care about their own family. Others may consider coworkers, community members, or other group members they are affiliated with to be an extension of their family. Family can be whomever you choose to call family, whether you are related or not.

There’s No Such Thing As “Normal”

Now more than ever before, it is important for people to understand that when it comes to what is a family, there is no such thing as normal. Every person, every child, every parent, every couple has a unique situation, and to try and define everyone in one black and white term would make no sense.

Family is not defined by biology, or marriage, or even a home. Family is the people you love and who love you back, the people you feel safe around, and the people you can count on to be there when you need them.

What is your definition of family? Share in the comments!

  1. […] year a website called CyberParent ran an article that […]

  2. Sam says


    I loved your site ( and would like to contribute a well written article that your readers will love.

    Would you be keen for this?



    1. CyberParent says

      Hi Sam, visit our contact page and send us a note 🙂

  3. Ethan Calangi says

    True family is when a family respects you and what you do, they trust you more often and truly think of you as accountable. Regular average-day families are complete dicks who will try and make you stupid just so they can be smart for themselves. They are sensitive so sensitive they’ll never trust you after making one ultra-little mistake or likely punish you by whipping your back while you’re tied to a pole. True families give you suggestions for the right things while dick families slack off and demand for ice cream or beer. True parents respect young children and they let their child or children be themselves. Fake parents place hundreds of restrictions, rules, and privileges and make you stare at a wall covered in cat photos like in the novel “Harry Potter: The Sorcerer’s Stone.”

    1. CyberParent says

      Interesting take!

  4. […] All these changes have been brought about by the invention of new technology, the influence of the media and also environmental and economic changes. But what is the true meaning of family? […]

  5. […] What household means to me is a person and love that will always be there during the bad and the good times. It’s all about religion, understanding, hope, comfort, information, values, morals, ideals, and encouragement. These items are essential to me personally since it makes me feel happy and secure inside no matter what’s happening in my entire life. This is only one of the reasons. In this article, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance meaning of family. […]

  6. […] In lots of ways, different individuals relate with groups of individuals who supply them with emotional and religious connection as family, even if indeed they reveal no legal or hereditary bonds. For instance, a chapel “family” has religious connections and distributed ideals, even though its users are not officially related. Likewise, a work family has common encounters and talk about activities in long-term associations without specialized bonds. University fraternities and sororities often discuss familial bonds through encounters and consider each other siblings without specialized associations. With interpersonal networking technology, many people are even creating online or digital families of people who share their values, hobbies, and ideals even if indeed they have never fulfilled in person. Visit this website to get more insight, meaning of family. […]

  7. […] Webster’s dictionary defines family as “an organization comprising parents and children living collectively in children. ” This description is an excellent starting place when looking to establish what family includes, however there are present day meanings that redefine what family is today. Yet, do these meanings establish what family methods to you? What involves brain when you think of what family means? Visit this website to get more insight, how we define family. […]

  8. […] Family is people who have special meaning. These are our base of support, personal cheer squad, instructors, counselors, and other things we would need, even if we must listen to the hard truth. They comfort us and even put us inside our place. Visit this website to get more insight, true meaning of family. […]

  9. […] To raised understand the depth and powerful behind this is of family, and discover a much better sense of how you specify the term for yourself, take a peek below at some of the many ways people specify the word. Visit this website to get more insight, definition of family. […]

  10. […] It’s amazing how times have transformed since I had been a child. Not merely technology, improvements in medication and technology, and education, however in this is or knowledge of “family. ” It’s a good change, I believe, because as a culture we have are more accepting, diverse inside our thinking, and prepared to comprehend that “family” can encompass a lot more than we thought. We have now reach think of “family” as a liquid and evolving description, the one that permits acceptance of several familial situations, and one which tries to give the needs of a kid. Family no more involves an automated picture of the biological father, two charming children and mother. It is designed by environment, kinship ties, adoption, foster treatment, guardianships, loving interactions of most types, many years, cultural norms, financial situations, community, global needs, partnerships, surrogate moms, and even sperm donors. Family, as it is currently, is how you establish it. Visit this website to get more insight, the actual definition of a family. […]

  11. CyberParent says

    We couldn’t agree more!

  12. Carla says

    This is interesting as it is true that you never really heard of same sex couples decades ago. This is something that’s a thing now. Single parents were considered taboo as well. But I do agree that family is defined as those who really have your back. It’s not always blood.

  13. Miriam says

    Family does not always mean blood. You can have exceptional friends who have your back no matter what and you’d do the same for them. That’s family.

    1. CyberParent says

      Spot on, and seems to be what Dan was shooting for.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.