Family Is Everything, Well Sort Of …
Our relatives can be the most irritating people to be around because they know you so well, they know exactly which buttons to push. We love them either way. Family is a huge privilege for some people, but for others, family is nothing but a word. A privilege because they had a mom, dad and siblings growing up in a warm and loving household where certain norms and customs were put in place and made them who they are today. Then there are those people who never got the opportunity to experience family this way.
The importance of family depends on the values of the person, because not everyone values the same thing. Some might think ‘Oh no, you have to respect them because they are your parents or your elderly’, while others believe that something as important as respect should go both ways. It’s not just built on, I have to do it because you’re older, but instead it should be earned.
Definitions Of The Concept: “Family”
The most obvious definition of the word family is as follows: a group of two people or more related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together. They are all considered as members of one family (U.S. Census Bureau ). Back in the day, it was a popular trend to get as many kids as possible, so ‘oldschool’ families we see today have plenty of uncles and aunties, which usually consist of about 8 or more people in the family.
Additionally, families are those people that you share a surname with and have similar features to them, but don’t get me wrong, that’s not always the case. A common surname such as Smith, Williams or Brown is everywhere, but it does not mean you have any relation to them. Your surname carries a particular family value which indicates where you come from – emphasizes your background.
Remember, family is supposed to show you unconditional love and support. The family functions as an interactive unit. This unit provides for the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of its members. Family is people that are supposed to stick together no matter what storm may come their way.
Family is a group of people who care for one another. They do things together and focus on certain traditions. For example: In my family, it’s tradition to make sure you feel important on your birthday by waking up at 6 and preparing that farmhouse breakfast. Gifts are not as necessary because spending time together carries more value.
Blood IS NOT Thicker Than Water
On the other hand, we choose who we want to call “family” because blood relations are not necessarily enough. People can be very judgemental, especially when they know you well, so these days it’s easier to call friends, family. We live in a world full of expectations set out for us. “This is how you are supposed to dress” or “we dont do that here because we are decent people”. This type of mindset actually rips one off originality. Therefore, we have friends that become family because they accept us for who we are and don’t force us into their version of “what’s right”.
Some people feel that the word family is a forceful phenomenon. A manipulation into feeling a certain way about someone just because they are related to you by blood. The reality is that if those people were not related to you, you probably wouldn’t even be talking to them. We would exclude them from our lives for our personal sanity.
Family is the people that we build for ourselves. We choose them. Therefore, whoever you call family will always be a choice, regardless of the physical blood relations.
Just because our DNA proves we are related does not mean we deserve the title – modern thinking.
Different Types Of Families
Family refers to many different groups of people. The structure of families is not just your typical – mom, dad and the kids. We have a nuclear family, a single-parent family, a stepfamily, an extended family and a grandparent’s family. Let’s explore these various families to get some better insight.
This is a typical family which consists of a small intimate group of people. You have your 2 parents – mom and dad with any number of kids. This is your common type of family where both the mother and father are present. Research shows that people that come from nuclear families tend to be more secure about creating their own because they had that guidance growing up. Especially when looking at the bond between mother and father as well.
Single – Parent Family
A single-child-parent family consists of the mother or father being in their child/children’s lives. There are many reasons why a single-parent family exists. One parent might have walked out on their child, could be divorced or perhaps even die. The less you are in a family, the deeper the relationship. This type of family is considered to have a very strong bond. Although that could be tested every time and then, especially when thinking about how the parent must feel, raising their child all by themselves. Kids are not a walk in the park! I take my hat off to all the single moms and dads out there.
A family where at least one parent has children that are not genetically related to the other spouse or partner. Either parent, or perhaps even both, may have children from previous marriages/relationships. It’s not always easy raising someone else’s child or treating them as your own, but I believe when you get married you create that union of accepting your wife/husband with their children/kids. Therefore, it is a huge responsibility to take on. Although a step family can also be a beautiful thing, because you get wonderful people that treat your kids as their own and learn to love them. It is also a second chance at creating a family bond.
An Extended Family
It includes grandmother’s, grandfather’s, aunt’s, uncle’s and other relatives, in addition to parents and children. This can be a lot at times, because usually when a family is this big there is always drama. Trust me, i know. On the other hand, you will always have someone to go to, because some children feel more comfortable going to their grandparents’ or aunt’s and uncle’s instead of their own parent’s.
A rare family indeed. A grandparent family is where the grandparents are parents because both the mother and father aren’t present. Especially when you are already growing so old yet you still have to raise kids all over again. It’s a beautiful image to step in as parents, but it’s not necessarily easy. Grandparents create that love and stability that they are missing.
Diverse mixed families are very popular and also normal now. Aparthied, racism and discrimination are ‘oudtyds’. The new trend is to uplift and support one another. The same goes for being gay or transgender. We live in a generation that supports and embraces these types of life choices.
The LGBQT community is living loud and proud. Yes, we still get those homophobes that always have something to say, such as ‘It’s a sin, how could you?’ or actually simply just disown you due to their personal beliefs and morals. The way some families actually feel confident enough to do this, their children are sad, because at the end of the day we all choose a path that makes us happy, but some people can just not accept that.
Diverse families are a beautiful thing! We choose our loved ones based on who we feel is right for us.
Passing On ‘Traditional Beliefs’
We grow up doing things according to what we were taught. Especially when we consider our differences in how we view holidays or special occasions. Holloween, for example – the night of 31 October, the eve of All Saints’ Day, is celebrated by children dressing up in terrifying masks and costumes. Halloween is thought to be associated with the Celtic festival Samhain, when ghosts and spirits were believed to be abroad. In most countries, Halloween is considered to be normal and a joyous occasion for kids because it creates family time. Parents carve pumpkins with their kids, knit together a costume and shop for candy.
The occasion creates a lively atmosphere, but it’s not always a good thing. Just because something is considered to be traditional worldwide, does not mean it has worldwide importance. Most Christian families prefer not to celebrate Halloween due to their faith. While Halloween does include fun with friends and family, these gatherings are centered around attributes (such as witchcraft, death, deceit and fright) which are opposed to God. Therefore, when we create families of our own, we usually do it based on ‘what our parents taught us’ – based on our childhood beliefs. Christmas is another popular way of ‘passing on traditions’ because, as a Christian, we get up every Christmas morning to attend that church service then serve a beautiful lunch afterwards.
UK Christmas Tradition
The UK surely knows how to celebrate Christmas! For those living near the coast, a lake or a loch, a Christmas morning wild swim has become a popular tradition in Britain. Cities such as Brighton, Cornwall, Inverness and many others host an annual Christmas Day dip, where families are encouraged to dress up in festive Santa hats and run into the water together (Musement 2018). For those not willing to brave the cold conditions, a family morning or afternoon walk is a much-welcomed tradition to burn off some of those Christmas calories before or after the main meal of the day (Musement, 2018).
These are the types of tradition one should cherish as a family, because it surely is unique.
It’s all fun and games until one aunty comments on her brother’s child’s manners! Oh, then all hell breaks loose. One saying that I believe in is ‘Don’t look at what other people’s kids are doing, check your own’. When it comes to one’s kids – it’s a very sensitive topic.
We need to watch out for those family members that try to bring you down or always have something negative to say. They create this unnecessary tension and imbalance in your life. Especially when it comes to gatherings. Situations where you feel pressurized to be a certain way can prevent you from attending. ‘ Failure to accept differences is a huge problem in families today. Differences can be anything from comparing finances to who’s partner is better. Just because you are family does not mean you should share the same views, because this mindset will lead you to creating an unhealthy point of view.
Toxic family members are a huge problem today. They use and manipulate you simply because they know exactly which button to press. This is so dangerous because it then makes it difficult for you to trust and love properly. Especially when forming relations with others, because then you end up asking questions like: If my own mother could hate or betray me this much, how can I possibly trust anyone else?. It hurts most when those closest to you let you down.
Family Love Language
Love can come in any form, shape and size! I know in my household, we don’t say ‘sorry’ as a way of apologizing, instead we ask ‘Do you want a cup of tea or food.’ That’s our love language, we don’t say it but we show it.
People who grow up in single-parent families tend to show plenty of tough love to their own kids and the people around them. This is a different kind of love and also one of the best kind, because the stricter you are with your kids, the more respect they will have for you. It’s sad, but it’s true. Setting out rules and having your house in order will teach your child what it means to be responsible for a family ahead of time. Another reason for strict love, is only wanting the best for your child.
You should not feel ashamed if you are not in this category though, because everyone shows love differently! Others are very soft on their kids because they never had that growing up and want to show them a different side of things. You cannot blame them.
It’s a beautiful thing to have these kinds of people in your life. Although not everyone agrees, that’s okay. Family is based on your personal beliefs and values. You can choose who to call family. Therefore, blood relations does not necessarily mean you’r family – it’s up to you. We have different families, but each is unique. The way we love our family is based on what we were taught and the experiences we went through growing up.