There are now six different types of family structures recognized by modern society. The nuclear family, traditionally, has been held in high regard by society as being the best possible in which to raising children. Children in nuclear families generally receive stability and emotional support from both parents and in most cases, receive greater educational advantages due to the monetary ease of two parents sharing time and responsibility for their children. However, many single parents and gay families have chosen not to follow this traditional family structure, finding other family structures that work better for them.
The blended family is another type of family structure, which has its own unique, and accepted meaning by many. The blended family is when two or more people are married to one parent and have children together. This arrangement is not considered a true family because one person is not primarily responsible for the children and they can live away from both parent and be cared for by the grandparents or other relatives who are still part of the chosen family structure. Children in these arrangements are usually much happier because there are more involvement and oversight by all members of the family. However, not everyone chooses to join this type of family and it can be much harder for a child to feel connected to his or her extended family.
Most non-custodial families fall into one of three categories: extended families with two to three parent families, extended families with four to seven parent families, and a combination of families with two to four parents and extended family. All three of these types of families have different, subjective definitions. Extended families may have two, three, or four parent families; however, they will usually have two or three sibling families. A mixture of extended and single parent families has a slightly different subjective definition because they may have two or four sibling families and two or three parent families.
The only family structure that we know to exist in all families, across all cultures and religions, is the nuclear family. The nuclear family consists of a husband and wife, their children (if any), and sometimes a brother or sister. Nontraditional families do exist, including cohabiting couples and same sex families, but they are very rare. The nuclear family is the most common family structure in the United States. With the exception of blended families, which are very rare, the most commonly adopted family structure is the nuclear family.
Some families have varying family definition of family members because they adopt differing family structures. In a blended family, the children of one parent will live with their grandparents and most of the time with their parents. In other family structures, children will live with their biological parents and their grandparents. Some adoptive families also allow the biological children of one parent to live with the foster children of the other parent. And, some even allow same-sex families to form a family without any other family members.
The family structures that people adopt are based on their own family structure and their own family life experiences. Some families have extended family structure where there are a mother, father, and several older children who are close in age and have known the whole family since they were small. These families adopt different family structures for different needs, depending on whether they are close in age or not. Adoption is a good way to create family structures that suit everyone’s family needs. It also allows families to get to know each other and find out more about themselves by living with someone else, especially if they have children together.