Family is a concept that everyone understands. While it is a universal concept, however, the definition is a lot more complex. How family is defined can vary from person to person, and even between cultures, countries, or religions.
As society, and the world, progresses, the definition of family is constantly changing to be more inclusive and encompassing of the true structures that make up families today.
Different Family Structures
Traditionally in history, a family was considered to be two adults, male and female, most often married, living in one household with their own biological children.
This vision of what a family is supposed to be is becoming less of the norm, as other family dynamics, such as blended families or same sex couples are becoming a lot more prominent and more widely accepted.
Below are some examples of the various family structures that are common today.
- Nuclear Families: this is the traditional family structure consisting of a mother, father, and their biological or adopted children.
- Single Parent Families: this structure involves either a mother or a father, but not both, raising their children on their own.
- Childless Families: a married couple without children is often overlooked as a family, but more and more couples are making the decision not to have children.
- Blended Families: blended families often include one or both parents being remarried, with children from both spouses’ previous marriages and children from the current marriage living in the same household as step- or half- siblings.
- LGBTQ Families: this structure encompasses members of the LGBTQ community, such as transgender parents or same sex marriages, for example.
Different Takes on the Definition of Family
Many authors over the years have attempted at creating a universally inclusive definition for what a family is, and each definition is unique. Even the dictionary defines family in more ways than one.
The Oxford Dictionary’s primary definition of the word, “A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit,” provides us with the most traditional portrayal.
Here at Cyber Parent, we believe 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.” (In Context)
The Statistics Canada definition of a family, “a married couple and the children, if any, of either and/or both spouses; a couple living common law and the children, if any, of either and/or both partners; or a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling” has been broadened further, to also include same sex couples and grandparents raising grandchildren. (Statistics Canada)
How Do You Define Family?
There is no right or wrong way to answer that question. There is no “normal”. Every family is unique and beautiful. Families today come in all shapes and sizes, and whether or not your family follows the traditional route or not, does not change the love you have for one another.