The Concept of Family

3:55 AM


What comes to mind when we mention the word family?  A husband and wife with two kids perhaps or more living in a home with picket fence?  A group of people related by blood who love, respect, and care for each other?  What if a family does not fit in to such a description?  

The Typical Family

A typical family is composed of a father, mother, and children.  This is what we were taught during our elementary days.  Each one has a duty to fulfill.  The father provides for the family, the mother takes care of the family, and the children obey and help their parents while taking care of each other.

The reality of life however has spawned various forms of family life, different but still a family.

The Childless Family

Some couples are unable to have children of their own due to some medical condition of one or both.  They can choose to complete the family picture by adopting children who have been abandoned by their biological parents.  They can take care of other children's needs without necessarily legally adopting them.  Even in choosing to be without children, husband and wife remain each other's family.

The Absentee Parent/ Single Parenthood

A family may have one parent missing either because one is working in a distant land or the parents chose to separate ways.  In this scenario, the remaining parent tries to perform the duties normally performed by two.  Because of the missing parent, the other tries to compensate for the absence sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.  Children in this family set-up usually form a certain degree of sensitivity especially in school activities that require the presence of both parents.  Although this family set-up is fairly common and many have triumphed over great odds, there are still specific issues that have to be addressed in order to help the children understand the situation.

The Mixed Family

This type of family set-up merges the children from previous marriages with the children of the new family itself.  There are families who manage to adjust to this kind of situation and end up having a large, happy family.  Those who are unable to are typically held down by prejudices and jealousy with the original children from previous marriages seeing the new spouse as the main obstacle to the reconciliation of their own parents.  This is even besides the fact that the new spouse came way after the separation.

The Extended Family

This particular family set-up is quite common in the Philippines where several families live in one common house.  The ancestral home owned by parents can be the home of all married children including their respective families.  Extended families therefore include aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in-laws.  This could work both ways.  It can be advantageous especially in times where family solidarity is important or disadvantageous since there is no privacy for each family and the problems of one becomes known to the others even if there is no desire to make it known.  Envy is also a common problem when one family is more financially able than others.

My Say

Who wouldn't want to have a picture of a perfect family to speak of?  The reality of life however does not provide any of us perfection.  We may have the right number of members but treat each other like strangers.  We may have the capacity to provide comfortably for the well-being of several children and yet biologically be unable to have even one.  One parent may be providing well for the family but suffer the loneliness of being away. 

That said, rather than chase perfection itself, let us try to see the perfection in each of our limitations so that we can better appreciate the families we have.


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57 comments

  1. Family helps you to believe in yourself and allows you to be yourself. There are so many limitations in the world, but to be home and surrounded by the love that your family has built, lets you know that you can fall back and they will surely help you – if not with a helping hand, then with words of wisdom and a smile

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    1. Yes Leira, family is what we have even if we have no one else.

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  2. I don't have a perfect family but I love just the way how it is.. I am home with them...

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    1. For me, where my family is, that is my "happy place".

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  3. I guess there can be different dynamics within the families but a common denominator that can make a family perfect would be love for each other.

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  4. Yes for without love, we can never really call a group of people living together a family.

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  5. I grow up being alone. I am the only child in the family. And yeah your right though I have everything, I am still longing for a big family. At age 23 I marry thinking I can have both, to have everything and be happy because I have a big family. But I am wrong. Now I am alone again with my two kids. The Absentee Parent/ Single Parenthood fits me.

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    1. I really do hope you find what you are looking for in what you have now. Sometimes, we fail to recognize that we may not have everything we want but have everything we need.

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  6. My husband and my daughter are the two precious gifts from God. Without them my life is empty. The moral lesson here is, give love and help each other.

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    1. Our families are indeed God's greatest gift to us.

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  7. I use to have typical family... Now that I'm the one making my family, whew, I'm already on the second one, though I'm trying my best...

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    1. We can only give our best and so we try...

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  8. whatever category it is... it will always be the best place to find love. it will always be the mold that helped shape you and whoever they are, wherever they are from: the typical, the mixed or the extended.

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    1. Categories are merely informational in nature often used in study. In real life, we should not be limited by our family circumstances.

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  9. Have to value family, regardless of what kind of family it is. :)

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    1. Most definitely! Our family is the only one we've got.

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  10. I have a typical family and forever grateful to my parents and to my brothers. Sigh, I already missed them.

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    1. It is difficult to be far away from our loved ones.

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  11. I've actually learned that A Family can mean different things now. It may have been the typical mom, dad, kids.. but it's very different now. I myself, is part of an extended family. My dad died when I was still young.. that's when I was introduced to a nuclear kind of setting. But you know what, I love my family regardless if I grew up parentless. My cousins were still able to raise me into a good person.

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    1. Whoever took over the parental role should be thanked for not everybody will be willing to meet the challenges
      parenthood entails.

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  12. a perfect photo of your whole family is indeed the best gift! xx

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    1. I agree with you, sis. You have a lovely family.

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    2. Thanks very much to both of you!

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  13. I have a different scenario also, I have a poster mom and family abroad, I was discovered to be his son online hahaha... it is fun really how the concept of family have evolved...

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    1. That is quite interesting. The stories of real life are more complex than fiction.

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  14. We always hope for the ideal family set up .. but what we can do is to make work and value of what we have in our current family ...

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  15. Our family is far from being perfect. But these imperfections make our family unique and we try to work together in making our home a happy place.

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    1. Do you believe that our respective families are perfect for each of us? I do.

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  16. What a great post sis.. Family never leave us.. no matter what!

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    1. Thanks Grace! You're right, family remains no matter what.

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  17. I am a single parent but i know i can manage. I am one of all. Teehee. I mean i used to have that perfect family then my parents decided to separate ways though we still live in the same house, but different bedrooms. i have a son from a previous relationship and now i have another daughter for a present love but we are still not married. Complicated may it sound but we are happy, contented and perfect!

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    1. I sincerely wish you the best whatever situation you are in.

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  18. just like i've read recently, family isn't always blood. they are the ones who want you in their lives and accept you as who you are.

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    1. A family can be composed of people we are not related to by blood. When that happens, we are more fortunate than ever.

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  19. wow! great post. i too would like to have the perfect family--loving and caring. but i realized that sometimes, there are people who love you more than your own flesh and blood.

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  20. I have different families! Those people who may not be my relatives but I am comfortable to be with and accepted me are considered as my family too!

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  21. Our family is not perfect but I am very proud of each of us. I am also thankful of how our parents brought us up and I am trying my best to do the same to m own family.

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  22. At the end of the time, Family is all what we have. It is always comforting to know that you have a family that supports you, love you, and will always be there for you. :) Famikly is definitely the most important thing in the world. :) Visiting!

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  23. Ohana...family means nobody gets left behind. :D The family, Jesus said his brothers, sisters and mother are those who obey his Father, those who love him and his Father...love, it's always there.

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  24. i always remember the words that my mama told me before, whether you're happy with your friends or moving on to your life, you will still miss your family and comes back. and so i feel the same even though i am married now. also, i believe that charity starts from the family so the more you feel secured and loved if you are surrounded with your family members.

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  25. I grew up with extended family in our home ,my uncles and aunties, their children plus my 6 siblings and once in a while some relatives and my grandparents.I believe it is part of the Filipino culture.

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  26. blood is thicker than water :D

    community consists of family, so without family, there will be no community heheheh

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  27. All of us wants to have a perfect family but not all of us are given the chance as every family experience trials, challenges and misunderstandings.

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  28. I love my family they inspire me to live longer hehehe..Family always there for you no matter what...

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  29. what a beautiful family pic! family is really important because it is somewhat a core of being able to enjoy life as much as possible when friends are not around. i think that's why people choose to create their own family in order to continue valuing it.

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  30. this is a very great post about family which remind me of someone i knew who thinks so different about family. she is a filipino but starting to think like a western, she seems like a feminist person, and decided not to marry because she doesnt want anybody to tell her what to do, and thinks that she is better than any men. hahay... sad. my family is not perfect, we have ups and downs, but i try my best to give everything to my family. and my husband is working his ass off just to provide us everything in this world. =)

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  31. The family is the basic unit of the society. I believe if there could be no family, there could be no nation.

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  32. what a very lovely family you have Theresa.

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  33. you just don't know what's in stored for you or choose the family you'll came from. i guess acceptance is the key. Yahweh bless.

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  34. You have a wonderful family! And I agree that there is no perfect family, there may be dysfunctional and functional families but it's up to us to deal with whatever issues there is inside the family. No matter what, family should always be there for each other :-)

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  35. i guess even if we wanted or dream of a complete and perfect family, we could not do anything about it if our parents are not really meant for each other.

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  36. FAMILY as the basic unit of the society should not be that perfect to be happy but must be united in one primary MISSION... that is, to bring out the BEST from each other and to accept the WORST situation that may challenge each member.

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  37. I love to see a complete happy family :) . I believe it is always our choice of how we are going to have our family. Even without a real mom and dad, a group can still be considered a family when there is love, respect, care, concern and understanding with each other.

    Mommy Jem of Experience of a Super Mommy

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  38. For me, Family is composed of people who love each other. Even if they are not related by blood. :) Growing up, I had my mom and dad with me(and siblings too)but, some things just don't work as we envision how a perfect family looks like. Things happen beyond our control. Hohoho. All I'm saying is, a group of people (mom, dad and children) cannot really be called a "family" if there's little harmony inside their home. :)

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  39. I have adopted children and I am single. I wrote about this in my blog too, how the family dynamics change. what does not and should not change is the concept of marriage.

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  40. I grew up in what most people would call an unconventional family, because my parents pretty much abandoned us when we were kids and my grandma, along with my uncles and aunts raised my sister and I. :P But it was just perfect for us and we can't picture it any other way. :P

    I now have a family of my own, and although we would be classified as a conventional family (dad, mom & kids) we're far from being perfect but it is the imperfections that make it perfect.. :P

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