By the end of this Post, the reader should be able to:

·             Explain the meaning and types of the family.

·             Explain the functions of the family.

·         Analyze the rights and responsibilities of family members.

·    Describe the various stages of the family life cycle.

·         Outline the needs, goals and resources of families at the various stages. 

Definition Of Family

(a) A family is made up of parents and their children living together.

(b) A group of people closely related by blood, parents, children, aunts, uncles, members of the extended family.

(c) All those descended from a common ancestor.

(d) Persons related by marriage or adoption.

(e) A group of people that pool their resources together (Economic family).

Importance of Family

As a social institution, a family performs the following functions:

(i) Procreation: The family is responsible for procreation. It therefore ensures replacement of lost members of the society and increase in family size. This ensures the continuity of the society.

(ii) Socialization: A family is also responsible for socialization (the transmission of culture). A family therefore provides moral training to the young members of the society and serves as a check on the moral and social life of adults. Hence the family can be seen as an agent of socialization.

(iii) Ensures discipline: A family ensures the maintenance of law and order through discipline and the teaching of harmonious living habits. It therefore serves as a means of social control and order and ensures discipline, good behavior, peace and harmony among its members.

(iv)  Provides identity: The family gives identity to its members. In many Ghanaian societies, people can be identified by their family names.

(v) Provides occupational training: A family provides occupational training to its young members so as to enable them acquire useful skills for their benefit and the benefit of the society at large. People stay with their clan members to learn trades or crafts like carpentry, masonry, wood carving, tailoring etc.

(vi) Provides basic needs: The family provides the physical or material needs of its members, such as food, shelter and clothing.

(vii) Provides security or protection: The family provides security for its members. It also provides all forms of assistance including financial and cooperation in funerals from family members. The poor members in the family are often supported by the richer members.

(viii) Politically, the family helps in the government of the town. The town council, headed by the chief, is made up of family heads and elders who are drawn from the various families in the town.

Types Of Family

A family can take the form of a nuclear family or an extended family.

The Nuclear Family

This type of family is limited to parents (father and mother) and their immediate offspring (children or siblings) or adopted children. The nuclear family is called elementary or conjugal or primary family or monogamous or geological family. It is made up of a man, his wife and their children. This type of family arises from the marriage of one man and one wife.

types of family

A nuclear family consists of husband, wife with or without children living together. Also referred to as "natural", primary" or restricted family.

Advantages of the Nuclear Family

(i) It does not involve unnecessary financial burden resulting from pressure by extended family members.

(ii) Parents are in a position to train their children in their own way since there may be little or no external interference by other relatives

(iii) The capabilities, talents or skills of children can easily be identified by parents due to the small nature of the family.

(iv) A nuclear family promotes love and peace due to the blood relations existing between members.

(v) The needs and wants of the family can easily be provided.

Disadvantages of the Nuclear Family

(i) Children do not have opportunity to learn from other relatives as it is with the extended family system.

(ii) In case of the death of one or both parents, the upbringing of offspring already born to the family will be very difficult. Children may, for example, face financial problems if enough money and assets are not left behind for their use.

(iii) The socialization process may not be adequate or complete since children may not know those aspects of their culture which are not known to their parents 

(vi) In case of crises such as that of finance, a member of a nuclear family would not have a wide range of relatives to turn to for help.

The Extended Family

This type of family goes beyond the parents and immediate siblings. It involves blood relations that go beyond parents and immediate offspring. The extended family is made up of more than one nuclear unit. An extended family normally consists of father, mother and their children, parents of father, parents of mother, brothers and sisters of the father and mother, and children of the brothers and sisters of father and mother. It also includes aunts, uncles, cousins, wives of sons and their children etc. Or Extended family refers to nuclear family together with other relatives related by blood. Each of the husband or wife has his/her own extended family. They may not share a common residence.

types of family

Advantages of the Extended Family

(i) Children have a wide range of extended relatives from whom they can learn things that are not known by their parents.

(ii) It can promote unity within a society since members regard one another as relatives

(iii) In the absence of parents, other relatives can take up the responsibility of the bringing up of their children.

(iv) In case of any crisis or difficult problem, a member of an extended family may have a wide range of relatives to whom he can turn f or help. Thus, it ensures the security of family members.

(v) In traditional homes, it provides a large supply of farm labor. 


Disadvantages of Extended Family

(i) It may lead to a great financial burden on some members particularly those who are well to do in the family.

(ii) It can lead to a situation whereby overdependence of some members on others will end up in encouraging laziness. Such dependents always refuse to be hardworking with the hope that other members will always be there to help them.

(iii) The consequences of a negative act such as rape and indebtedness committed by a family member may be borne by other members of the family.

(iv) The extended family system makes it difficult for hardworking members to save because they usually have more people to cater for. This can lead to low investment and development within a country.

(v) It brings about low investment and development due to low savings associated with it.


Single Parent Family

A family headed by one parent that is either the mother or father is referred to as single parent family. In this case either the father (man) or mother (woman) or husband or wife lives with one or more children. The causes of single parent family include, divorce, separation, death of a spouse or unmarried or never married procreation.

Advantage of Single Parent Family 

Children learn to be independent at a very tender or early age than they otherwise would/might.


Disadvantages of Single Parent Family

(i)  Children do not have an opportunity to learn from the parent who is not with   them. 

(ii)  Children also take up extra responsibilities at home.

(iii) The single parent would also have to undertake the responsibilities or functions of the family all alone without support from a partner or spouse.


Blended Family

It refers to a family that is made up of the father, mother and children from their present marriage as well as children from their previous marriage or relationship. Blended family thus means joining of two separate families through marriage.


Advantages of Blended Family

(i) It makes it possible to provide the basic needs of the family.

(ii) Provide adequate sense of security for the couple and children.

(iii) Provide companionship for the couple.

(iv) With increased resources of the couple, they will be able to provide recreational facilities and opportunities for family members


Disadvantages of Blended Family

(i) Blended family may lead to clashes of habits and attitude of other children.

(ii) Increase of financial burden on couple

(iii) Children may be maltreated by step parent.

(iv) Discipline of step children by step parents is a major problem as step parent may only act as a disciplinarian when the natural parent is absent.

(v) Merging of children from different backgrounds may lead to clashes in habits and outlook.



The Polygamous Family

In a polygamous family, a man is legally married to more than one wife. Thus the polygamous family is made up of a man, his wives and their children. This type of family is not as universal as the nuclear family. It is mostly found in Africa and Asia.


Advantages of a Polygamous family

1. The possession of many wives and children could be a source of prestige and emotional security for a man.

2. More wives and children could mean an increased labor force for the man's farm work, resulting in more wealth.

3. Childlessness is not a problem in polygamous families.

4. The man has many wives to satisfy his different needs.


Disadvantages of a Polygamous family

1. The size of the polygamous family is often large and control of members may be difficult.

2. Family resources may not always be enough to give the children adequate care. They may not be given good food, clothing, housing, education, health care, etc.

3. Children from a polygamous family may turn delinquent owing to lack of care and love from parents.

4.There is often rivalry, jealousy and unhealthy competition among wives in the attempt to win their husbands love and attention. These often affect the children.

5. Where there are many children, the father may not be able to recognize all of them and relate with each of them as he ought to.

6. In many cases, the provision of food for the man becomes a problem because some wives may decide to shun their responsibilities. This may result in health problems for the man.

7. Where the man fails to satisfy his wives sexually, there may be the tendency for some to have extra-marital relations.

8. At the death of the father in a polygamous family, there are always serious problems about the sharing of the family assets.


Family Relationships

Family relationships are long-lasting and can be grouped into three types; husband-wife relationship, parents-children relationships, and brother-sister (siblings) relationships.


a. Husband-Wife Relationship

The husband and his wife (father and mother) are the key persons in a family. The family resulted from the initial relationship they established. For the well-being of the family, the husband-wife relationship must continue to be strengthened through:

(i) Effective communication: Although a couple can and should learn to communicate well before they are married, there is need to continue to strengthen their communication channels. Communication involves recognizing and expressing one's own feelings as well as recognizing the other persons. Differences or conflicts can be resolved through communication.

(ii)  Affection: In a husband-wife relationship the pattern of love changes from being-in-love to marital love. The latter is realistic, less exciting, more security-giving and satisfying. The love must be kept alive. It generates trust and strengthens relationship.

(iii) Companionship: The couple needs to view themselves as companions working towards the same goal. There should be cooperation and mutual trust in one another.

(iv) Sex relationship: This becomes more satisfying as the couple develop the ability to satisfy one another's needs.


b. Parents-Child Relationships

Parent-child relationships can be broken down into four sub-relationships. In effect, it is often very rare for any of the four sub relationships to be shown in pure form. This classification makes it possible to see that the ways parents and children relate to each other, are not the same throughout the child's life.


Types of Parent-Child Relationships

i. Protection-Dependence Relationship: At first, the child is almost completely dependent on the parents, who are generally looked upon to give protection to the child. Before birth, a child is completely dependent on his mother for all the functions of living. At this time the father can protect the child by protecting the mother. After birth, and as the child grows up, the parents continue to protect him by showing love, feeding him, playing with him, etc.


ii. Instruction-Learning relationship: Through parental love, the provision of toys and experiences, rewarding good behavior etc. parents establish the instruction-learning relationship with their children. They teach skills and attitudes both directly and indirectly. Parents even influence those skills and attitudes. which children learn from their brothers and sisters. The parents set the stage and either approve the kind of teaching that brothers and sisters give to one another, or try to prevent situations in which undesirable learning might be referred to as family culture. This is the way of life of the family, which is often related to those of the community. The culture of some families includes table manners, going-to-bed routines, sharing of possessions, helping with domestic chores, use of family property such as television, etc.


iii.. Enjoyment-Companionship Relationship: As the child comes closer to adulthood, a feeling of companionship with the parents arises. Companionship here means the sharing of interests and pleasures by parents and children on the basis of equality. The relationship increases as the children grow older, and become more nearly like their parents in maturity. This type of relationship develops the personalities of both children and parents. Enjoyment arises from watching development and achievements in the child, sharing pleasant activities, and noticing children's fresh viewpoints and joy in living.


iv. Advising-Evaluation Relationship: When the child has reached adulthood and has gained a large amount of independence from parents, the relationship gives rise to a situation in which the parents give advice to the child. The child evaluates this advice as one item of his experience.


c. Brother-Sister or Sibling Relationship

Siblings are children of the same parents. A sibling may be either a brother or a sister. Individual differences exist among siblings in size, good looks, intelligence, special talents, sensitivity, etc. However, strong relationships exist among siblings. For instance,

a. Siblings give each other companionship. Those who are close together in age are more likely to find companionship with one another, but nearly all siblings have some common meeting ground.

b. They help each other learn how to give and take and how to respect each other's point of view.

c. Adolescent siblings can check each other on manners and etiquette, clothes, language, ways of making the hair, etc. This is indirect teaching.

d. Siblings also give each other security, understanding and support against adults. Sometimes, siblings are jealous of each other.


Factors That Influence Family Relationships

The factors that influence family relationships include:

i. Changes Due to Growth and Development 

The most important influence is the growth of the child because it is taken place at a rapid rate. The age of the child, for instance, affects the way he views the parents and how he relates to them. The parents are also changing. These changes may also have a strong effect on the parent child relationships.


ii. Individual Differences 

No two individuals are the same, not even siblings. Individual differences may arise from heredity and environmental factors, e.g., some members of the family may be slow, quiet, not outgoing while others could be fast, noisy, and out-going. These different behavior patterns affect how the two groups relate to each other.


iii. Home conditions 

The general conditions existing in a home affect the relationships of family members. For example, in a home where parents are always fighting, children are likely to

feel insecure, and relationships will be poor. Again, if the father is constantly away from home, parent-child relationship will be affected.


iv. Family Size 

A large family broadens the scope of family relationships. It means that parents have more children to relate to. A child will have more siblings to relate to Where resources are very scarce, there may be a lot of friction and jealousy among the siblings. Parents might find it difficult to meet the needs of the children adequately.


v. Human Needs

Every human being, including each family member, has certain needs. These needs range from the basic ones such as food, water, safety, and love to self-worth. Family relationships will be strengthened if members' needs are met adequately; otherwise, there might be frictions, unhealthy competition and even hatred within the family.


 vi. Parental Altitudes 

The attitude of the parents towards each other and their children, affects family relationships. For instance, where parents attempt to favor some children in preference to others, conflicts, jealousy and rivalry may be the result.


vii. Child Training Methods

Children have different personality profiles. They differ in their temperament, attitudes and capabilities. Some are slow learners while others are fast learners. When they are all handled on the same basis, friction might result in family relationships. So the same methods may not be suitable for instructing or guiding all the children in a family. For good family relationship, parents should consider each child as a unique person when instructing him/her.


Family Relationship and Management

For any family to function properly and achieve its set goals, each member has to perform his or her role effectively. Promoting good family management involves:

(i) Collective decision making

Decision making in the family should be a corporative activity rather than one person's decision or only the parents business. When decision making in the family is a corporative one, members accept responsibilities willingly. Willingness to accept responsibilities promotes good family management and the well-being of the family.

(ii) Provision of basic needs 

Parents should provide for children's needs adequately, so that they enjoy family life and contribute to the welfare of the family. When children perform their roles as expected, parents also find it easy to provide for their needs.

(iii) Fostering cooperation

The basis for happy relationship within the family is cooperation and sharing. Families should learn to share and cooperate to solve their problems and get what they want by: doing things together; talking things over; giving each member opportunities to try out new ideas.

(iv) Effective communication

Family members have feelings, resolve conflicts peacefully and share moments of joy of happiness OR sorrow with other members. Good family relations therefore contribute to a great deal to success in family management.



Socialization is the process through which the older generation of a society consciously makes an effort to pass on the culture of the society to the individual. Culture which is the totality of the way of life of a given group of people is not static but dynamic. Hence culture changes with time and for that matter, needs to be passed on to new members of the society from time to time.


Types of socialization

Primary socialization: This is the initial training the individual acquires from childhood or during infancy and it begins with the immediate family or parents.


Secondary socialization: This follows the primary type, and it is the subsequent or later process of training. It involves the induction of an already socialized person into new sector or area of the society, e.g., school, church etc.


Propose / Significance / Importance of Socialization

Some of the reasons for which socialization is important to both the individual and the society include the following:

(i) Socialization enables the individual to fit very well into the society since it helps the individual to know the way of life of the society.

(ii) It enables the individual to function effectively in the society. It enables the individual to learn values and develop his or her talents.

(iii) Socialization also ensures that the culture of the society continues to exist from generation to generation

(iv) By ensuring the continuous existence of culture, socialization ensures the preservation and transmission of culture.


Agencies Responsible for Socialization

The agencies responsible for the socialization of the individual in Ghana include the following:

(i) The home, the family and parents 

These are the primary sources of socialization in every country. Through parents or the home, the child learns the culture, values and language of the community. The child learns these so that he can fit well into the society.

Despite this important position of the family in the socialization process, the breakdown of the extended family system due to urbanization and the demand of work among others have weakened the family as an agency of socialization.

(ii) The school

Schools are formal means of socialization. The schools/teachers play important roles in the socialization of the individual by way of transmitting or imparting knowledge and skills, discipline of the individual, and character formation of the person. In short, they guide and impart to students the approved behavior of the society. The school as an agency of socialization has not fully adjusted to the needs of the society. In order to function effectively as an agency of socialization, the school should demonstrate how knowledge acquired can be applied in life for the benefit of the entire society. Knowledge acquired from the school should be relevant to the needs of the society.

(iii) Peer

Peers are the age mates or equals with whom an individual relates more informally and closely. Children spend more time with their peers in school than their parents and more often their views are most easily accepted than the views of parents. During interactions they exchange certain values and behaviors which may not be      acceptable by adults in the society.

(iv) The Mass Media 

The mass media which includes television, radio, magazines, newspapers, etc. also constitute a strong source of socialization. The mass media is the medium through which information is carried to a large number of people in our society. The mass media therefore influence the behavior and attitude of people.

(v) Religious Institutions 

Within the church, church elders, pastors or priests serve as agents of socialization. They   are able to change the behavior of people and influence those with negative attitudes, e.g., criminals, prostitutes, drug addicts etc. to do away with such attitudes.

(vi) The Workplace/ Organization 

Organizations and workplaces also act as agents of socialization. Within the organization or workplace, one is compelled to behave appropriately. Boys Scouts, Boys Brigade, Girls Guide, Debating Societies, and Drama Clubs etc. in schools afford students an opportunity to cultivate a sense of public spiritedness. They also share opinions, ideas and advice, accept criticism and emulate/ copy the lifestyle of others.


Family Obligations

Family obligations implies what the individual member of the family has to do as a matter of duty, or something that a family member has to do in return for favor, goodwill or privilege enjoyed from the family. Family obligation involves things to be done by family members as a matter of course or by way of expectations from society. For instance, parents are expected to socialize, educate and feed their children and children are expected to perform household chores and run errands.


Role And Obligations of The Father

The father performs the duties in the family:

(i) Provide material and physical needs 

He is expected to provide the material and physical needs (food, shelter, clothing etc.) of his wife and children. He is the bread winner of the family. It is therefore his duty to work hard to provide the financial needs of the family.

(ii) Discipline and correct children

It is the responsibility of the father to discipline and correct the siblings any time they go wrong. He therefore maintains law, order, peace and harmony within the family or at home.

(iii) Social support

The father has the responsibility of accompanying his wife to social gatherings such as funerals and other places such as hospitals.

(iv) Assist children in decision making 

The father has to help the children to make good decisions about their education/ career and their lives. For example, the father is supposed to guide his children in the selection of occupations.

(v) Procreation

The father has the responsibility of teaming up with his wife to procreate through sexual intercourse.

(vi) Educate and feed children

It is the responsibility of the father to educate and feed his children through all the levels of education that they are capable of attaining.

(vii) It is his responsibility to socialize the family.

Role And Obligations of The Father

Responsibilities of The Mother

(i) Provide physical and material needs 

It is the responsibility of the mother to provide some of the physical and material needs of the children to supplement what is provided by their husbands.

(ii) Responsible for household chores 

She is responsible for the household chores of the family such as sweeping, cooking, washing etc. and the sharing of such chores among the children.

(iii) Social support and companionship 

It is her duty to accompany her husband to social gatherings and other places.

(iv) Train daughter(s) for the future integration

It is the responsibility of the mother to prepare her daughter(s) for marriage and womanhood.

(v) Procreation 

The mother is responsible for teaming up with her husband for procreation

(vi) Education, nourishment and socialization of children 

She is also a party to the education, feeding and socialization of the children.


The Role or Responsibilities of Children

(i) They are expected to perform household chores.

(ii) It is the responsibility of children to run errands for their parents and other elderly members of the family.

(iii) Children are responsible for catering for their young ones any time their parents are not around

(iv) It is the responsibility of every child to respect his parents and other elders of his family.

(v) Children have a duty to help their parents in their various economic activities such as farming, fishing and trading.

(vi) Show appreciation and uphold family values, e.g., faithfulness, understanding, honesty, etc.

(vii) Care and provide for their parents especially during their old age or when they are ill.


Rights And Responsibilities of The Family


Claims family members should have as members of the family to ensure growth and development as individuals

(i) Right to be cared for by the family.

(ii) To be provided with basic needs.

(iii) Right to security.

(iv) Equal treatment without discrimination.

(v) Have emotional support.

(vi) Enjoy opportunities in the society.



What the Individual Is Obliged to Do as Member of a Family

(i) Respect authority.

(ii) Respect privacy of others.

(iii) Support others.

(iv) Take responsibility of their personal effects and those of the family and the society.

(v) Show respect to others.


Working Mothers and Management

A working mother is someone who works in a paid job or income generating activity to make a living in addition to her responsibilities in the home.


Traditional Roles of Mothers

(i) Child-bearing / procreation: The mother is responsible for the bearing and rearing of children

(ii) Meeting or providing children's basic needs: Taking care of children by feeding, bathing, clothing and nurturing them

(iii) Cooking / preparing food: The mother prepares and serves meals for the family. It is her responsibility to ensure that every family member is well fed.

(iv) House care/ care of the home: The mother takes care of the house by ensuring that the house is clean, healthy and comfortable.

(v) Laundering: The mother takes care of family clothing and household articles

e.g., Washing, ironing, mending, storing etc.


Reasons Why Mothers Work Outside the Home

(i) To increase family income: Mothers work outside the home to increase family income and thus helping to meet family needs and goals.

(ii) Separation / divorce: Women who have separated or divorced are compelled to work to take care of themselves and their children.

(iii) Social interaction: By working outside the home, women meet other people, share ideas and avoid boredom.

(iv) Education of women: The education of women, has increased their chances of getting paid jobs. The opening of day care centers has also made it possible for women to leave their children in good hands and take up jobs outside the house.

v) Provision of basic needs: Women also work outside the home because they want to earn their own money to buy personal items, support their children and help their parents rather than asking their husbands for money all the time.

Roles of Mothers

Effects Of Mothers Working Outside the Home (Problems Related to Mothers Working Outside the Home)

(i) Mothers overwork because they have to get up early to prepare the children for school and prepare breakfast and lunch before going to work.

(ii) Sometimes, mothers’ jobs suffer due to lateness, absenteeism, lack of concentration which sometimes results in conflict with their bosses.

(iii) Housework also suffers, because mothers, do not have enough time to take care of the home.

(iv) It affects their relationship, because of lack of time and frustration, they may not give enough love and attention to their husbands and children.


Ways By Which the Burden of Housekeeping on The Mother Can Be Reduced

(i) The husband or father should be encouraged to help by taking up jobs they are capable of doing in the house.

(ii) House helps may be employed to take care of some of the household jobs.

(iii) Older children can help with household chores.

(iv) Families should plan their house keeping activities carefully for effective management.

(v) Use labor saving devices if available.

Jobs That Both Men and Women Can Do

These include:

(i) Nursing

(ii) Teaching

(iii) Medicine

(iv) Catering

(v) Engineering

(vi) Fashion Designing

(vii) Law

(viii) Banking

(ix) Broadcasting / communication

(x) Armed forces or security service



Family life cycle refers to the stages of growth or changes a family goes through as it goes through life.


Stages Of the Family Life Cycle

The stages a family passes through can be simply represented by four distinct periods namely:

(i) Beginning  

(ii) Expanding

(iii) Contracting         

(iv) Empty nest


Beginning Stage

This is usually a short state of the family. It starts when a couple marries and ends when the first child arrives.

Expanding stage

This stage covers a longer period than the beginning stage. It begins when the first child arrives to the time children begin to leave home and become independent.

Contracting Stage

This stage begins when the first child leaves home and ends when the last child goes

away. It is marked by a young person's departure for marriage or full-time employment after his/her education.

Empty Nest (Dissolution’s stage)

The stage when all the children leave home and the couple are left alone.

Family Needs, Goals and Resources at The Different Stages of The Life Cycle (Various Stages)

Beginning Stage

(i) The couple needs to establish the kind of relationship and home they want. They learn to know each other better and change certain habits and accept each other's likes and dislikes.

(ii) They make a choice of a house depending on the economic situation. That is the couple's jobs, availability of modern amenities and their economic status.

(iii) They set financial goals.

(iv) Time and energy demands are minimal unless when there are children already.

(v) The couple may have few resources in terms of income, space, household equipment.

(vi) The couple should work hard to contribute to the successful running of the home and also start saving and accumulating goods for the future.


Expanding Stage

This is the stage when the couple bears children, brings them up and sees them through school. Increased size of the family means increases in need for other resources such as:

(i) Demands on income, space, time and energy increase. During this period, parents spend much of their time, money, energy and all other resources on bringing up the children.

(ii) Housing needs may increase as the number of children in the family Increase.

(iii) Parents set goals for socializing children especially education.


Contracting stage

This is a period when children begin to leave home to get established jobs. The result is the following:

(i) Demands on time, energy and financial resources may decrease.

(ii) Parents may recover financially. Financial expenses of the family drops rapidly. Couples can now start saving for retirement.

(iii) Parents may set new financial goals for retirement. For example, pay all debts, invest in insurance, etc.


Empty Nest

At this stage, all the children have left home to establish their own homes, the couple is left alone. This stage is characterized by:

(i) Income may be low.

(ii) Couples have more time to themselves.

(iii) Couple's energy will decline due to age and poor health.

(iv) They may set new goals.


Disruptions/Variations in the family life cycle

The family life cycle may be disrupted and thus not all families go through all the stages of the cycle. The following reasons will account for that.

i. There is the possibility that couples separate or divorce or die at any of the stages without completing the cycle.

ii. Not all families have children and may adopt children

iii. There are individuals who want to remain single parents and yet have children.

iv. Some children may leave home at the time some are still being born. Thus, some of the stages overlap.

v. There are instances where children will never leave home at all, and some who have left may return.

vi. In very large families, it may take a long time for all the children to leave home.

vii. In extended families, some members will leave with their relatives throughout the stages of the family lifecycle.



1a. Discuss the purpose of socialization by the family (Nov 1997)

(i) Socialization helps to preserve the culture of the society. Through socialization, the culture of the society is transmitted or transferred to the individual from generation to generation e.g., cultural practices

(ii) Socialization also helps the society to transmit values, attitudes, skills and customs to its members.

(iii) As the individual imbibes good values, attitudes, and customs through the process of socialization, he becomes responsible and fits very well into the society.       

(iv) Socialization provides the individual with a sense of security and belonging.

(v) Through socialization, individuals learn to interact and work with others.         


(b). Explain five factors that may contribute to the breakdown of the family and the results of this on the family members

Factors that contribute to the breakdown of the family

(i). Financial Problems: The family may not have enough/adequate funds to run the home. The inability of the man to provide money to cater for basic things like food and clothing puts the family under serious stress. It results in anger and unhappiness.

(ii). Interference from In-laws: Unnecessary interference from in-laws which tends to create unhealthy relationships and conflicts culminating in family instability. Where in-laws interfere in the affairs of the family, denying them of their privacy and independence, it could lead to family breakdown.

(iii). Lack of Effective Communication: Inadequate or even lack of effective communication or free flow of information among family members may lead to conflict and subsequent break-up of the family. Effective communication or free flow of information help correct misconceptions and solve many problems or misunderstandings in the family.

IV. Infidelity or unfaithfulness: Especially adultery on the part of the woman and/or the man can result in the breakdown of marriage and thus, the family. Where the man or woman flirts outside the marriage, one may feel disgraced and will like to end the relationship.


Effects of breakdown of the family:

(i) Leads to children living wayward due to broken home. The result is teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, prostitution etc.

(ii) Inadequate provision of basic needs for the family.

(iii) Results in division among family members especially children.

(iv) Loss of respect and trust.

(v) It also leads to psychological problems

e.g. insecurity, mental disorders etc.


2.a. Discuss the difference between family of orientation and the family of procreation. Illustrate your answer with appropriate examples,

The family of orientation, is the family into which a person is born, consisting of self (that is the person), brothers and sisters and parents. Family of procreation arises when through marriage, a person leaves the family of orientation to create a new family consisting of self (the person) wife or husband (spouse) and children. It therefore becomes a new nuclear family emanating from the family of orientation.

b. Describe two roles each that the following members play in the family to ensure successful living.


(i) Procreation or child bearing.

(ii) Care for family members.

(iii) Preparation of food.

(iv) Satisfy husband sexually.

(v) Contribute to the education of the children.

(vi) Takes care of the house-cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry, etc.



(i) Satisfy wife sexually.

(ii) Provides money needed for the upkeep of the family.

(iii) He maintains discipline in the family.

(iv) Socialization.

(v) Procreation\ reproduction.

(vi) He should be a role model for the children.



(i) Respect and obey parents and other adults.

(ii) Help with domestic or household chores.

(iii) Should appreciate and reciprocate the love given to them by their parents.

(iv) Learn the culture of the society.

(v) Work with parents on the farm where such exists or in other activities.

(vi) Perform their civic responsibilities.


3. a. List the main stages of the family life cycle (Nov 1998)

(i) The beginning stages.

(ii)        The expanding stage.

(iii)       The contracting stage.

(iv)       The empty nest stages.


b. Identify and bring out the characteristics of the stage, where there is greatest pressure on family resources

Characteristics of the family at the expanding stage are:

 (i) Children begin to arrive. 

(ii) Demands on income, space, time and energy increase.

(iii) Housing needs may increase.

(iv) Parents set goals for socializing children especially education.


c. Discuss the pressures on the resources of money, time and energy at this stage

(i) Pressure on money: Money is needed to provide for the physical and other needs of the family e.g., food, clothing, medical bills, living space, recreational and education facilities and opportunities for the children.

(ii) Pressure on energy: Parents need energy to work, earn money to provide the physical needs of the family e.g., food, clothing, health care, shelter for the children at different stages of development.

(iii) Pressure on time: Parents need time to interact with the children and teach them basic skills of life and on individual needs to be able to fit into the larger society as responsible adults.


4.a.i. Give two examples of the traditional work of women (Nov 2000)

(i) Housekeeping or taking care of the house e.g., cooking, sweeping, washing,


(ii) Reproducing children or child bearing.

(iii) Taking care of children or child upkeep or bringing up children.

(iv) Trading

(v) Engaging in handicraft e.g., basketry, bead making, pottery, etc.

a.ii. Give two reasons why some women work outside the home

(i) To help increase family income or contribute to finances of the family.

(ii) High rates of divorce and separation have also forced many women to support themselves and their children.

(iii) To earn their own income or money to buy personal items rather than asking their husbands.

(iv) Working outside the home also enable women to meet other people, share ideas and avoid boredom.

(v) Education of women also increases women's chances of getting paid jobs.

(vi) The opening of day-care centers enables women to leave their children in good hands and take jobs away from home.


b. State any three jobs that both men and women do

(i) Nursing

(ii) Engineering

(iii) Medicine

(iv) Farming

(v) Trading

(vi) Catering

(vii) Teaching


c. Give two problems or disadvantages of mothers working outside the home

(i) Mother has to get up very early to prepare children for school and prepare breakfast and lunch before going to work.

(ii) Household chores may be left unattended to or may suffer due to lack of time.

(iii) Mother can get very tired because of the double workload and this may affect the relationship with her husband and children.

(iv) Mother may not be able to give children enough time and motherly care or love that they need.

(v) After a hard day's work, she comes home to prepare meals and put the children to bed.

(vi) Work output of working mothers may be low.

(vii) House helps may take over         the functions of wives.

(viii) Combining work outside the home and in the home may lead to fatigue.

5.a.i. What is a family? (Nov 2000)

A family is a group of people or persons related by blood, marriage or adoption who may or may not live together or is a group of people related to each other by or through marriage, blood or adoption.

a.ii. State the two main types of families we have in Ghana

(i) Nuclear family

(ii) Extended family


b. Describe anyone of the types of families you have mentioned above

Nuclear family: The nuclear family, which is sometimes called monogamous or biological family is made up of a man, his wife and their children or without children.

Extended family: This is made up of more than one nuclear unit and extends across two generations. It includes aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, wives, sons and their children.


c.i. List and explain any two functions of the family

(i) Child bearing: The family bears and rears children for society. By this function, the family contributes to the nation's population.

(ii) Socialization: The family helps to socialize its members by bringing up children in the ways of the community.

(iii) Protection: The family protects its members. For instance, the health of members is protected through the provision of food, clothing, shelter, etc.

(iv) Recreation: The family provides recreational activities for its members and other people.

(v) Security: The family provides a sense of security for its members. The love, affection and support shown by parents make children feel secure.

(vi)       Physical maintenance: Provides for the physical needs of the family such as food, clothing, shelter, health care and other material needs of its members.


c.ii State any two roles children play in the family

(i) They help each other and their parents with domestic chores e.g., sweeping, fetching water, washing plates and their clothes etc.

(ii) They respect and obey their parents and other adults.

(iii) They appreciate and reciprocate the love given to them by their parents.

(iv) They help on the farm.

(v) They run errands for parents.

(vi) They also contribute to family finances by selling few items.


d.i Give two reasons why it is necessary to manage family income

(i) You manage family income to ensure that your expenditure is within the limits of your income.

(ii) You manage family income to avoid the use of limited family money for items, which are not important to the family.


d.ii State two things you have to consider before setting up a budget

(i) The family income

(ii) Family needs

(iii) Family size

(iv) Family values


6.a) who is a working mother?

A mother who works in a paid job or any income generation activity to earn a living in addition to her responsibilities in the home.


(b) State and explain five factors that make women work outside the home 

(i) To increase family income: Mothers work outside the home to increase family income and thus helping to meet family needs and goals.

(ii) Separation / divorce: Women who have separated or divorced are compelled to work to take care of themselves and their children.

(iii) Social interaction: By working outside the home, women meet other people, share ideas and avoid boredom.

(iv) Education of women: The education of women, has increased their chances of getting paid jobs. The opening of day care centers has also made it possible for women to leave their children in good hands and take up jobs outside the home.

(v) Provision of basic needs: Women also work outside the home because they want to earn their own money to buy personal items, support their children and help their parents rather than asking their husbands for money.


c) State six problems that a working mother faces at home and her work place

(i) Mothers overwork because they have to get up early to prepare the children for school and prepare breakfast and lunch before going to work.

(ii) Sometimes, mothers’ jobs suffer due to lateness, absenteeism, lack of concentration which sometimes results in conflict with their bosses.

(iii) Housework also suffers because mothers do not have enough time to take care of the home.

(iv) lt affects their relationship, because of lack of time and frustration, they may not give enough love and attention to their husbands and children.

(v) The mother can get tired because of double workload and this affect her relationship with her husband and children.

(vi) Working mothers need to plan their time to suit or fit into their work demands.

(viii) Some working mothers sometimes face discrimination from their bosses or employees. e.g. refusal to promote them to managerial positions.


7.(a) (i) At which stage of the family cycle does the couple need adjustment most.

The beginning stage of the family cycle needs adjustment most.


(ii) State and explain two reasons to support your answer in (a) (i)

(i) The man and woman have been brought up in different environments and would have acquired different values and habits.

ii) They were also socialized by different parents and families.

(iii)They have different identities and aspirations or goals in life.

(iv) Ethnic and cultural differences affect their attitudes and beliefs.

(b) Explain the term expanding phase or expanding stage

Expanding stage or phase is the period when the couple bears children, brings them up, educate them or see them through school. The children become adults, independent and leave home to start their family. It starts with the birth of the first child and ends when the last child leaves home.


(c) State five problems parents are likely to face during the expanding stage.

(i) Parents must work extra hard to meet the needs of family members e.g., food, clothing, shelter, etc.

(ii) Pressure on the use of family resources e.g., income, space etc.

(iii) Problems of raising or bringing up children especially adolescents.

(iv) Problem of managing household chores by parents and children at different stages of development.

(v) Parents sometimes go through emotions due to failures, misfortunes in their aspirations.

(vi) Brings a lot of stress and strain to the mother because of pressure on the use of time and energy for work and at home.


8.a) (i) Describe the four major stages each family is likely to go through

Beginning stage

(i) This is the period of adjustment.

(ii) Couples set financial goals.

(iii) Need to establish the kind of relationships and home they want.

(iv) Time and energy demands are minimal.

Expanding stage

(i) Children begin to arrive.

(ii) Demands on income, space, time and energy increase.

(iii) Housing needs may increase.

(iv) Parents set goals for socializing children especially education.

Contracting stage

(i) Demands on time, energy and financial resources may decrease.

(ii) Older children begin to leave home to start their own families or set up their own household

(iii) Couples may retire from employment or their jobs

(iv) Parents may. recover financially.

(v) Parents may set new financial goals for retirement.

Empty nest

(i) All children move out living parents alone.

(ii) Couple are left to themselves until they die.

(iii) Everyone will decline due to age and poor health.

(iv) Couple may have more time. (v) Set new goals.


9.(a) Explain four ways in which a family can attain a successful life.

(i) Love/affection: There should be love and affection among family members. This will ensure healthy relationship, respect for each other’s opinions or views, security and happiness

(ii) Provision of basic needs: The provision of basic necessities of life e.g., food, shelter, clothing, health care and family values e.g., loyalty, faithfulness, understanding and trustworthiness, etc.

(iii) Effective communication: Effective or good communication among family members can be the key to family harmony

(iv) Conflict resolution: The effective resolution of family conflicts will help family members to get along with each other.

(v) Collective decisions: Making good decisions collectively or together with family members help to making families spend quality time with the children

(vi) Support for each other (co-operation): The need for family members to come together to support each other in time of need


(b) State four responsibilities children have towards their parents

(i) Children should respect and obey their parents

(ii) They should help parents with domestic chores such as cleaning the house, washing plates, washing their clothes etc.

(iii)They should appreciate and reciprocate the love given to them by their parents

(iv) They should be made familiar with their family's values, standards and religious beliefs and should follow their parents good examples e.g. hardworking, honesty, obedient etc

(v) They should show love, affection, kindness and loyalty towards their parents


10.(a) Explain the term one-parent family?

One-parent family also referred to as single parent family is a family headed by one parent either a man or woman (father or mother) and the children. Such families arise because of separation, divorce or death of one of the parents or by people who have never married.


(b) State six disadvantages of a one-parent family

(i) Discipline and control of children will be very difficult

(ii) Children may feel lonely in the absence of the other partner

(iii) Children may drop out of school because of inadequate funds

(iv) Responsibilities may be too much for the single parent alone

(v) One parent family sometimes leads to prostitution

(vi) The lack of parental control may lead children into engaging in social vices such as armed robbery, drug addiction and prostitution.

(vii) Children may also capitalize on the fact that parents do not leave together to play them against each other

(viii) Children in single parent family may be suppressed, over worked or neglected


Examination Questions

1. State five things a family should do in order to function well (Nov. 2006)

2. a. Explain how parents play the following roles in the family.

(i) Provision of psychological needs

(ii) Provision of social needs

b. State any two factors that are considered when assigning roles to children in the family

c. State two roles children can play in the family.

d. Explain four ways by which good family relationship can promote good family management.


3. Who is a single parent? Explain five causes of a single-parent family.


4. Suggest five disadvantages of a blended family.


5. State and explain six problems that a working mother encounters both at home and at her workplace.


6.a. Define the term family

b. Explain the various types of family in Ghana


7. Identify and explain the various stages of family life cycle


8 a. Who is a working mother?

b. Discuss five factors that make women work outside the home.


9. Outline and describe four major stages each family is likely to go through.


10.a. Mention and explain three factors which affects the stability of families (Nov. 1999)

b. How can families cope with any two of the factors mentioned in (a) above?

c. Explain two ways in which the extended family can be of help to the nuclear family.


11. a. What are the functions of the family?

b. Describe the extended family

c. Importance of extended family

d. Disadvantages of the extended family (Nov 2001)


12.a. Describe three ways in which the   families function of socialization has changed over the years.

b. Esi is living with her step parent and step sibling. What four things can she do to maintain good family relationship.


13 a. Describe the two-family systems of the Ghanaian society.

b. State the four distinct stages of the family life cycle and give two characteristics of each.

c. State three negative effects of child labor on a child. (2004)


14 a. Explain three traditional roles of mothers

b. Give five reasons why mothers work outside the home

c. Explain three disadvantages of mothers working outside the home.

d. State three ways by which the burden of housekeeping on the mother can be reduced (2005)


15.a. Explain four ways in which a family can attain a successful life.

b. State four responsibilities children have towards their parents

c. State four (4) duties that children perform at home (2006)


16.a. What is the main difference between a polygamous     marriage          and      a monogamous marriage?

b. State three factors that will contribute to

(i) A successful marriage

(ii) An unsuccessful marriage (2008)


17.a. Explain five factors that contribute to failure in a marriage (2009)


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