Topic 1 What is a family?

Activity 1: The word “Family”

Question: When your hear the word “family” what associations do you have? What thoughts come to mind?

Activity 2: Family Tree

Family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by birth or marriage or other relationship. The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would offer predictability, structure, and safety as members mature and participate in the community.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. There is not any family type that is better than another. Some families just have a mom and children, some families have one mom or one dad, or two moms, and some children live with their grandma or grandpa or both. Some families do not have children.

Why have a family?

There are many reasons:

  • Saving money
  • Companionship
  • Taking care of each other
  • Making and raising children

All these things can be done in other ways as well, but creating a family makes combining them easier.

Times are changing

In the past, only married couples were legally seen as a family and had family rights. Nowadays, in some countries in Europe, legal rights are available to all kinds of families (e.g. gay couples can adopt). But there are still people and countries who think this is an immoral way to think about family.

Activity 3: Family Forms

  • Create a list of different family forms that you are aware of. You can do this task in groups or on your own.

Every family is different, every family is the same:

Below you will find different family forms.

Blended (a family unit where one or both parents have children from a previous relationship, but they have combined to form a new family)
Nuclear (parent(s) and child)
Single-parent with child or children
Extended (more than parents and children)
Single person without children
Legal guardian / caretaker

Activity 4: Meanings

Question: Describe what the word family means to you. Think of:

  • Saving money
  • Companionship
  • Taking care of each other
  • Making and raising children

Maybe the word family has other meanings or functions for you. Feel free to briefly explain.

Activity 5: Would you like one?

Question: Would you like to start your own family one day? What would be the way you would like your family to be?