Functionalists view the family as a nuclear family structure, that is children and their parents (UKEssays, 2016). According to structural functionalism, the family is a significant unit for sexual reproduction, social identity and in which socialization takes place. Parents and siblings help socialize children from the time they are born (Barkan, 2012).The family also plays an important role in supporting its members as it provides them with basic needs, love, comfort, and console in times of emotional distress (Barkan, 2012).
Children sense of belonging through their parent’s social class, race, ethnicity and religion. Major changes in the family structure and processes are a threat to society and family’s stability (Barkan, 2012). In early years men were breadwinners while women were caretakers of the family, this was the best arrangement for children, as it provided for a family’s economic and child-rearing needs (Barkan, 2012).
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Any shift in this arrangement would harm children, the family as a social institution and even society itself. For example if a married couple divorce/the other spouse die, it leaves a single parent family and this can have an impact on children.