1. Responsible for the addition of new members through reproduction. Society must maintain a stable population in order to survive. Population growth provides a competitive advantage that usually enables a society to become wealthier.
2. Provide physical care for their members, including adults, children and dependent elderly. When families are unable to care for their members, hardship results unless the society is organized to replace the family in this function. (Eg: Retirement homes)
3. Socialize children by teaching skills, knowledge, values, and attitudes of the society. Children who learn these can work and relate to others within appropriate adult roles.
4. Controlling the behavior of members to maintain order within the family and the society in which they live. Families monitor and evaluate the behavior of individuals and provide feedback. This control contributes to the socialization process and protects the reputation of individuals identified with family group within society.
5. Maintain morale and motivate individuals to participate in society. Commitment to family may be based on a spiritual sense of duty, or economic necessity. People assume that affective nurturance, meeting the emotional needs of individuals, is the foundation of our commitment to each other. Participation in appropriate social roles contributes to the health of the society as well as providing the means with which families care for their members.
6. Economic function of producing and consuming goods and services. At one time, each family produced all the goods and services it consumed, and used only what it could produce. Now individuals sell their time and skills by producing goods and services within a specialized economy.
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