Notes on the changing Functions of Family


With the changing of time various external and internal forces have acted upon family and brought a great change both in the structure and functions of family. The changes particularly in the functions of family have reduced the importance of family considerably and also have drawn a line between traditional family and modern family. The changes which have occurred in the functions of family in modern times are examined below:

A. Changes in the primary functions:

Modern Family in most of the societies fails to exercise its traditional control in regulating sexual behavior. With the development of science and more particularly genetic engineering test tubes babies are born as a result bringing changes in the traditional reproduction function of family. The childcare functions of the family have been shifted to certain external agencies like hospital, maternity homes, nurseries, kindergartens etc. The modern family fails to give traditional protection for the aged, diseased, mentally retarded, physically handicapped etc. The modern family is gaining increased attention in socialization of it’s newly members. It is giving more attention to the all round development of child personality. Modern youngsters prefer to establish their own house for independent living.


B. Changes in the Secondary functions:

Now-a-days, family is no longer self-sufficient. It is more a consumer unit than a producing center. Whatever functions the family was performing as an economic unit have been shifted to market economy. Many external agencies are performing the economic functions, which the family used to perform in the past.

The religious functions of the family have also undergone a great change. The religious practices have lost their traditional importance. More secular attitude and outlook is spreading day by day. This secular outlook has considerably reduced the importance of religious function family.

The recreational functions of the family have been shared by the external agencies like movies, hotels, parks clubs, youth organisations and other centers of recreation. These recreation centers are highly commercialised. Thus, the recreational function which was considered as one of the thread of cohesion has lost its significance.


In spite of the above changes that have occurred in the functions of family in modern time the family is still persisting as one of the most important social institutions. This is because the traditional functions of family have been modified than lost. In this connection A.W. Green has rightly remarked, “Over the centuries, no permanent direction of change has ever been maintained. At some time in the future, the present forces of change may reach out in an unforeseen direction permitting family to regain its old strength and renew its old functions”.

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