Notes on the secondary or non-essential functions of family

Apart from the primary or essential functions, the family also performs some other functions. To these other functions MacIver termed as non-essential functions and some other sociologists as secondary functions. These functions are treated as secondary or non-essential functions of the family because there are other institutions established in the human society to perform these functions. In other words, these functions are performed simultaneously by family and other social institutions. Some of the secondary or non-essential functions are enumerated below:

(1) Economic Functions:

Previously family was an economic unit. It was a center of both production & consumption. It used to fulfill the economic needs of its members such as food, clothing, housing etc. To maintain the family all the members take up responsibility and work co­operatively. The family used to follow simple division of labour i.e. women engaged themselves in all domestic work and the men work outside. The family was economically self-sufficient. But today, the situation has changed. The modern family is more a consumption unit than a production one. In many respect, the family is slowly transferring its economic functions to the external agencies.

(2) Educational Function:

As an educational institution family used to teach the knowledge, skill and trade secret. The child learns the first letters under the direct supervision of the family members. All sorts of informal education i.e. manners, equates, discipline, obedience etc. the child receives from the family. Family also teaches morality, honesty, loyalty etc.

To-day, many of the educational functions of the family have been taken over by the schools, still it has increased the family's responsibility for the education of the children. No-a-days, the learning activities of the children are taking place mostly under alert supervision of the family members.

(3) Religious Functions:

Family is a center of religious activity. All the family members together perform all religious ceremony at home. The children learn various religious virtues from their parents. The elder family members use to teach the children the religious values, morals etc. Thus, family helps in transmitting the religious belief from one generation to another.

(4) Recreational Functions:

Family is one of the most important centers of recreation. It provides various entertainments to its members. Members of the family sit together, gossip, play, make jokes visit family relation for a change, interact with small children, observe different types of festivals etc. In this way, family provides reservation to all of its members.

(5) Function relating to health:

Family not only rears the small children but also takes care of both young and old. It looks after the health of its member. It takes care of sick and disabled persons. As a whole, family takes up the responsibility of health and vigour of its member.