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Social Structures: Family Roles and Responsibilities

Family is the most important social institution; it is a kinship part of society, which includes almost all kinds of relations: legal, social, economic, cultural, and spiritual. Therefore, a family might be characterized as an institution that allows sociologists to conduct a deep and full-fledged analysis of the distribution and fulfillment of roles between people. The purpose of this paper is to describe major position statuses in the group and the roles of the two positions selected.

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Family roles are divided depending on a person’s place in the family and the functions that they perform. These roles are parental (father, mother), marital (husband, wife), children’s (daughter, son, sister, brother), and intergenerational (grandfather, grandmother). The major position statuses within a group which might be referred to as a family are those of a father and mother and, at the same time, spouses. The reason for their great importance is that it is a man and woman who give a start to a new unit in society. Furthermore, their mutual relationships and the way they accomplish their tasks within a family play a key role in society. Children’s behavior, world outlook, and life position depend on their father and mother to a large extent.

The correlation, or interconnection of the social roles of family members in relation to each other, might be called the family system. In the case of spouses who later give birth to children and become a father and mother, it includes four key roles. The role of sexual partners is in the first place because traditionally, many people get married legally in order to satisfy their needs. In modern society, moral rules are not so strict; nevertheless, the sexual life of spouses, although being a hidden part of family life, has a significant role. Further goes the economic role that includes obtaining livelihoods and providing for the family. A person due to whom a family has all the necessary things for life can be called a provider. The next role is that of a social partner who helps the family to cope with the difficulties of life, including psychological calamities. Finally, parenting is a significant chore. From a point of view of society, it is the most important function because if a person accomplishes his or her task as a parent successfully, society receives new members that might be useful for it.

The roles described before might suit both father and mother because their functions in the family are almost identical. However, traditionally, father is considered a guardian of the family, while the role of a homemaker is assigned to mother. In the modern world, the order is not so strict; the institution of family has seen crucial changes. I have selected two articles that explore modification of family roles. They are “Speaking for Herself: Changing Gender Roles in Survey Response” by Minhas and Oksol and “Centering on LGBTQ Families: Introduction to the Special Issue” by Todd and Galupo. According to Minhas and Oksol (2019), the number of families with a working mother who supports the family financially and a father who does household chores increases. Moreover, researchers note that there appear homosexual families that apart from children, consist of parent 1 and parent 2 (Todd & Galupo, 2018). In such families, all the duties around the house and chores for bringing up children are divided between the two partners equally.

In conclusion, it is significant, to press the point that family as a social institution features almost all kinds of relations within it. The most important and therefore, major family statuses are those of father and mother. Their functions have much in common; the only difference is that father is traditionally regarded as a breadwinner and mother is seen as a housewife. However, in the modern society, new patterns of inter-family relations have appeared including homosexual families.


  1. Minhas, S., & Oksol, A. (2019). Speaking for herself: Changing gender roles in survey response. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Working Paper, 19-01.
  2. Todd, M. E., & Galupo, M. P. (2018). Centering on LGBTQ families: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of homosexuality, 65(9), 1119.

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