Structural and Functional Changes in the Indian family system

Basically, family structure is simply the people that make up a family unit and how they all connect. With the advent of industrialization and modern technology, both the structure and functions of the family have been changed.

Functions of the family

Primary function

Primary functions are those functions that are basic/essential to its continued existence these are:

  • Production and rearing of the child
  • Provision of home
  • Instrument of culture transmission
  • Agent of socialization
  • Status ascribing function
  • Agency of social control

Secondary function

Economic functions: With economic advancements, the family has become a more consuming unit than a producing one. Members are engaged in earning wages to ensure the family’s socioeconomic well-being.

 Educational functions: Family provides the basis for the child’s formal learning. In spite of great changes, the family still gives the child his basic training in the social attitudes and habits important to adult participation in social life

 Religious functions: The family is a centre for the religious training of the children. The children learn from their parents’ various religious virtues.

Recreational functions: Family provides opportunities for parents and children for engaging in various recreational activities such as playing indoor games, dancing, singing, reading, etc.

Structural Changes in the Indian Family

What is the traditional structure of the Indian family?

Traditionally India is known for its joint family with a patriarchal authority in the family, but we are witnessing various changes in this structure as discussed below:

The nuclearization of the family: Factory employment has freed young adults from direct dependence upon their families. This functional independence of the youngsters has weakened the authority of the head of the household over those earning members. In many cities, even women too joined men in working outside the families on a salary basis.

Reducing family size: Now people are preferring smaller families even though we are witnessing no-kid families.

Changes in the position of women: Main factor causing changes in the position of women in our society lie in their changing economic role. The new economic role provided a new position in society and especially with respect to men.

Changes in functions of family

Change in economic functions: Family which was a principal unit of production has been transformed into the consumption unit. Instead of all members working together in an integrated economic enterprise, a few male members go out of the home to earn the family’s living. These affected family relations.

Change in educational functions: Now family is no more playing its traditional educational role due to the emergence of a large network of formal public and private schools. New education policy recognizes the role of external agencies in educating children at the nursery level from the first year itself in the form of the preschool stage.

change in recreational functions: due to the spread of the entertainment industry and economic prosperity the dependence on family for entertainment is reducing this can be seen in the busyness of family members on their phones even being in the same home.

Reasons behind these changes

Industrialization: it led to urbanization and rural-to-urban migration where modernity grows this led to the popularisation of nuclear families. high living cost is also one of the major factors behind the growth of nuclear families.

Legislative measures: Prohibition of early marriage and fixing the minimum age of marriage by the child marriage Restraint Act, of 1929, and the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1955 have lengthened the period of education. Even other legislations such as the Widow Remarriage Act, of 1856, the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1955, and the Hindu Succession Act, of 1956, all have modified inter-personal relations within the family, the composition of the family, and the stability of the joint family. 

Influence of Western values: Values relating to modern science, rationalism, individualism, equality, free life, democracy, freedom of women, etc. have exerted a tremendous change on the joint family system in India.

Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar