Indian Family: Characteristics and Features of Indian Family

Indian Family: Characteristics and Features of Indian Family!

The family is often called as basic social institution, because of its important functions of procreation and socialization. The minimal form of family consists of a husband, wife and children.


Burgess and Locke defined family as,

“A family is a group of persons united by the ties of marriage, blood or adoption constituting a single household, interacting and inter-communicating, with each other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother no father, son and daughter, brother and sister, cradling and maintaining a common culture.”

Family represents both an institution as well as an association. It is the oldest amongst other institutions and associations. Also family still forms the backbone of our social structure.

Characteristics of Family:

The family reveals the following important characteristics,

(i) Family is primarily based on mating relationship.


(ii) Since family represents an enduring relationship, reckoning of descent either through father or mother is also a characteristic of the family.

(iii) Child bearing and rearing is a consequence of mating relationship and this involves economic factors, the earning and spending within the family. Hence both child bearing and economic factors also contribute in the constitution of family.

(iv) The relationship of the members of a family are socially sanctioned and are traditional in nature.

(v) Living together of various members of a family is also one of its characteristics.

Features of the Family:

Some of the distinctive features of a family are as follows:

(1) Universality:

It is most nearly universal of all social forms. It is found in all societies at all stages of social development and exists far below the human level among myriad species of animal.

(2) Limited Size:

A family usually means a small sized organisation. Biological conditions are primarily responsible for this size.

(3) Formative Influence:

The family plays the most important role in a child’s life, it is the moulder of the characteristics of an individual. It is the institution where the socialisation process takes place throughout the life. Firstly he inherits the physical character of his parents. The personality which an individual exhibit in his adult age is the socialisation of early ages. It is clearly defined by Confucius, “If you want to improve the society improve family.”

(4) Nuclear Position:

Though some of the functions of the family have been encroached upon and taken away by other organisations of society, yet family still remains the centre of many activities of man, individual as well as social. Besides the family is rooted in human temperament.

(5) Responsibility:

Maclver defines, “The family leads man and women still more to perform for other than themselves the most exiting tasks and to undertake the heartiest responsibilities.” Any organisation of the society have its own limitations and the responsibility of the members is precise. In family, responsibilities are not limited. So all members for the family work in the spirit of give and take principle.

(6) Closed Group:

Another important feature of the family is that it is not open to every individual. Its membership is open to few related people.

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