Types of family

For a long time, the nuclear family (father, mother and children) was considered the traditional model of family. However, the economic, political and socio-cultural changes that have taken place over time have reconfigured this structure, to the point that it is possible to speak of 11 types of family with their own characteristics.

1. Nuclear family

It is made up of a father, a mother and their children. It is called nuclear because it is a single nucleus. If any of the members creates their own family (as occurs when parents separate or when children become independent) then it will no longer be considered nuclear, even if there are family members still living together.

2. Single parent family

It is a family made up of the mother or father and their respective children. It is one of the most common types of family in Latin America, in which it is common for the mother to assume all responsibility for the family structure, while the father figure is absent.

However, it is increasingly common to find single-parent families in which the father is the one who leads the family.

Although there is no single criterion, for many specialists what determines whether a family falls into this classification is the age of the children and the type of absence of the other parent. If the children are minors and economically dependent on their main parent, or if the absence of the missing parent is total, it is considered a single parent family.

When the absent parent has a temporary presence or is co-responsible for the upbringing or maintenance of the children, then it is a nuclear family in a single parenting situation.

3. Composite family

It is a structure made up of several nuclear families. In this case, a couple with children separates, and each of the members of the couple forms a new family.

In the composite family, the children go on to have stepbrothers and can live with one of their parents or share the coexistence with the main parent and the family that the other parent has created.

4. Adoptive family

It is the type of family in which both parents have the guardianship of a minor, after having completed a series of bureaucratic procedures that enable them to exercise the role of adoptive parents.

According to the laws in force in each country, adoptions can be of several types:

  • Simple adoption : although legally the minor becomes an adopted child, no legal changes are made to change his surname to that of his parents.
  • Full adoption : in this case, the inheritance rights of the adopted minor are legally established, and the requirements that must be met in order to exercise them are set.
  • Open adoption : prospective adoptive parents have direct contact with the biological parents of the minor to be adopted. In this case, there is an agreement between the parties so that the biological parents have contact with the child.
  • Closed adoption : there is no contact between the biological parents and the adoptive parents, or a close relationship is not established with the minor who has been given up for adoption.

5. Family without children

They are the type of family made up of a couple that does not have children, either because they do not have them yet or because they are already people of mature or advanced age who never had children.

This type of family is very common today, especially in developed countries, where people tend to give priority to their professional development and the achievement of individual and partner goals (studying a new career, moving up at work, buying a house, etc.)

6. Family of older people

They are families that at some point formed some other type of structure (nuclear, single-parent, adoptive), but the children have already become emancipated, so now it is only made up of parents in advanced age.

7. Family of separated parents

In this case, the children live with one of their parents, since there is a separation or divorce, but they can spend time and even live with the other parent temporarily.

In this type of family it is usual for the children to spend weekends, vacations or special dates with the parent with whom they do not formally live.

If one of the parents forms a new family, then it becomes a composite family.

8. Homoparental family

These are families made up of a couple of men or women.

Depending on the legislation of each country, a homoparental family can be formed in three ways: surrogacy, adoption or artificial insemination.

It may also be the case that one or both members of the couple have children from previous relationships and these are integrated into the family structure.

See also Difference between sex and gender

9. Extended family

In this case, it is a family group in which members of different generations and roles coexist (parents, children, grandparents, uncles, etc.).

It is one of the most common types of family in Latin America and in those societies with strong family traditions, in which there is a high appreciation of numerous social structures.

10. One-person family

Due to its characteristics, the one-person family is probably one of the least known types of family, since it tends to be taken for granted that a single person “has no family.” However, there are multiple cases that can illustrate this structure.

A single person living independently is a single family. This type of family can also arise when a childless couple divorces or one of its members becomes a widower.

There are other cases in which a person can form a one-person family, such as those who grew up in childcare institutions or who, for multiple reasons, lost contact with their family or their origins, and now they are assumed to be the only members of their family. familiar structure.

11. Host family

They are temporary families, which are generally made up of nuclear families or parents without children who give a child to adolescent a home for a certain period, while the institutions in charge place him with an adoptive family permanently.

In some cases, some families become foster families as a first step in preparing for an adoption.

What is the family?

There is no consensus on the definition of family. For some specialists it is a group of people who share a common space and have a consanguinity or affinity bond, while other experts assure that it is not necessary for the members of a family to live together for it to be considered a form of social organization .

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