everything you need to know about the topic FAMILY is on these cards! happy revising!

  • Created by: dal
  • Created on: 16-06-12 18:52

Types of family

  • NUCLEAR: married parents and their biological children.
  • RECONSTITUTED: when 2 adults re-marry and bring children from a previous relationship into this new family (step-family).
  • LONE PARENT: one parent bringing up their children alone.
  • SAME SEX: same gender parents with their own children or adopted children.
  • EMPTY NEST: when all children from a family leave home.
  • BEANPOLE: families that are having fewer children but people are living longer.
  • NEO-CONVENTIONAL: a nuclear family leaded by a couple who are living together, or married and both working.
  • CO-HABITING:couple living together but not married.
  • PATRIARCHAL: when the male dominates the family.
  • SYMMETRICAL: where both parents take an equal share in in jobs.
  • EXTENDED: family consisting of parents and children along with either grandparetns or aunts and uncles.
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4 main functions of the family


Re=reproduction: produces the next generation of workers and regulates sexual behaviour. BUT now reproduction does not need a couple living together in marriage, couples may choose to adopt, cohabit have surrogate parents and IVF.

P=primary socialisation: parents teach norms and values. BUT young children go to nurseries, nannies and childminders where they are taught basic norms and values.

E=emotional support:stable family life gives us support keeping us happy. BUT now people get professional help from doctors, counsellors etc if they feel down.  

E=economic support:help finanically within the family. BUT now the benefit system helps those who do not have enough money.

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Sociological Approaches to the Family:

  • FUNCTIONALISM: see the family as POSITIVE for society as the nuclear family performs for the good of society.
  • NEW RIGHT: see the family as NEGATIVE for society if it is not a nuclear family BUT see single parent and same sex families as bad for society.
  •  MARXISM: see family as NEGATIVE for society. Believe that the family socialises the wroking class to accept that it is fair the classes are UNEQUAL.
  • FEMINISM: see family as NEGATIVE for society. Believe that the family is male dominated= PATRIARCHAL.
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Changes in the Family:

  • MORE PEOPLE CO-HABITING: less people practice religion, more people divorcing, living together as a trial.
  • MORE SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES: divorce act 1960 made it easier to obtain a divorce,more teen pregnancies, less stigma, IVF without a man.
  • MORE SAME SEX FAMILIES: more socially acceptable, intro of civil partnership agreement, can adopt.
  • SMALLER HOUSEHOLE SIZE: women living longer than men, yuonger women choosing career over family, more infertility.
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Why is marriage in decline?

  • rise in cohabitation.
  • not so frowned upon not to be married with children.
  • weddings are expensive.
  • less people are religious.
  • not seen as important.
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Why is divorce rising?

  • doesnt have the stigma it used to have.
  • easier to get a divorce.
  • religion is less important nowadays.
  • women dont have to stay in an unhappy relationship etc.


people who divorce do sometimes re-marry so not rejecting marriage just thier partner.

rise in divorce means more single parents maybe better for kids to have a single parents rather than 2 fighting ones.

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Roles within the family:

Parental roles :

  • dad used to go out to wrok (breadwinner) not heavily involved with childcare or housework.
  • mum used to stay at home (housewife).


  • dad works and helps with childcare.
  • mum works and does childcare/housework.
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Womens jobs in the family

  • TRIPLE SHIFT: women work, come home then do childcare and housework.
  • DUAL BURDEN: women now work but tend to do most of the housework too, so in theory have 2 jobs.
  • INVISIBLE WORK: women do jobs that arent really noticed like signing school letters etc.  
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Power relationships between parents and children


  • relationships are less strict and chidlren are asked their opinions, more freedom.


  • more children survive infancy.
  • parents have more choice about how many children they have.
  • whole industry based around parenthood.


  • middle class children are more likely to be included in descision making.
  • children are expected to help around the house.
  • some children act as translators for their parents.  
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Older people and the family

  • finanical burdern as older people need more help from NHS and benefit system.
  • greater risk of poverty because thier pensions have to last.
  • older person staying in family homes creates stress on housing market.

Positives of older people:

  • valuable source of childcare.
  • work for voluntary organisations.
  • being old doesnt mean being ill.
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Social Policy and family life

  • social policy is a descision made by Parliment to chnage or improve social conditions-enforced by law most of the time.
  • most social policies appear directly or indirectly to supoort nuclear family.

For example policies like:

  • mom and dad are entitled to PAID maternity and paternity leave whether married or not.
  • working tax credit paid to families on a low income.
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FINALLY, Other family alternatives

  • COMMUNE: where groups of people live together and share all responsibilty of the tasks - including childcare.
  • KIBBUTZ: israeli form of a commune. still around 300 exsist communities live  500 people together.
  • CO-HOUSING: have own house but may share area to eat and area to socialise.
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Syed Afjal Ali


Cheers. Great notes. Really helped mate.



I have a test next week and these have saved me! Thank you.



glad they helped :) 



Are these still reliable to use as revision for Sociology GCSEs in May for Year 11s in the UK?



my gcse sociology is in may not long to go and i dont know how to revise for the notes to stay in my memory for long. can you help me please?



thanks pal



exam on monday



Thank you so much!!!



Amazing and simple notes, they have really helped me to revise the family unit in sociology :)



Was helpful, although quite a few typos/spelling mistakes.

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