Despite the fact that the notion of family has always been one of the major assets of human life, the scope of the term’s definition has been gradually evolving over the years. The reason for these modifications is the fact that former variants of definition were rather bound to certain gender roles and number of members. However, modern perception of family, instead of revolving around physical characteristics, pays more attention to the aspect of relationship within a social unit. Hence, the most recent definition of family outlined by the Vanier Institute is as follows: “any combination of two or more persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption or placement, and who together assume responsibilities for variant combinations” (Mirabelli, 2018, p. 3). Therefore, this definition encompasses different family structures prevalent today.
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Considering the aforementioned interpretation, it may be concluded that the process of acknowledging various types of families is of paramount importance in terms of shifting towards a non-discriminatory paradigm of social relations. Thus, when adding multiple examples of family units to the definitions, people tend to gain more confidence to create family units in which they feel comfortable and are not afraid to deviate from the “traditional” norms. When speaking of the healthcare paradigm, it becomes evident that the definition of family is vital when cooperating with the patient’s surroundings. For example, when speaking of same-sex family units, members of such families for many years were deprived of the opportunity to participate directly during the medical intervention.
Moreover, the notion of family systems theory, which stands for the investigation of the patient’s interaction with family as a part of therapeutic treatment, plays a significant role in understanding the cooperation within a modern family. Indeed, when looking at a family from a behavioral perspective, practitioners have the ability to adjust the level of communication according to the interaction extent within any family unit (Gilbertson & Graves, 2018). Hence, considering the definition of family, it may be concluded that modern society has become a beneficial environment for abandoning the accepted identification of a family and moving towards embracing diversity in a unit.
Gilbertson, S., & Graves, B. A. (2018). Lifestyle in heart health and disease. Academic Press.
Mirabelli, A. (2018). What’s in a name? Defining family in a diverse society [PDF document].