First, family legitimizes marriage and provides a regulatory framework for both romantic and sexual attraction. Within this framework, children can be reproduced and socialized to then integrate into society. The family institution also manages the ownership of property and inheritance, where family members are entitled to the possessions of their siblings.
People within one family are able to support each other economically as well, providing monetary income and a net of security to living. It exists as a way to solidify one’s role in life, status, and relationship with others. Additionally, it fulfills the basic needs of people, including care, protection, and intimacy, which are important for proper emotional and social development.
There are different ways to apply theoretic frameworks to the family. Structural functionalism, which discusses systems and their roles, sees the family as a social institution that supports both the needs of its members and the wider society. Other theories, such as conflict theory, look at the subject from a different angle. The conflict theory studies social tensions and inequality and the way in which they can create systems of power or drive change. In this view, then, family is another way for people to gain power or status and another source of tension.
Agents of socialization are what influence and drive the process of integration into society. In the discussion about family, such agents are usually the parents that help their children grow and socialize. The control and power exerted over children determine the kinds of information they receive about the surrounding world and the way in which they understand it. Furthermore, the opinions and views of the parents inform children’s view of self, creating their own sense of identity and self-expression. Through the teachings of parents and the interactions they facilitate in the world, children come to understand their self inside society.
Poverty affects people in different ways. Firstly, poverty drives food insecurity, which can affect both the physical and the mental wellness of a person. Individuals in poverty have to worry about being able to afford food, often being malnourished. Additionally, the quality of living conditions, environment and housing status are also put into question, where a lack of available funds squanders opportunities for improvement. Lack of money also means a limited number of possible ways to grow, as learning is often kept behind implicit and explicit paywalls, such as the costs of books and tuition.