My Parents Essay Wikipedia

Abuse of parents by their children is one of the most under-reported and under-researched subject areas in the field of psychology. Parents are quite often subject to levels of childhood aggression in excess of normal childhood aggressive outbursts, typically in the form of verbal or physical abuse. Parents feel a sense of shame and humiliation to have that problem, so they rarely seek help and there is usually little or no help available anyway.[1][2]

Parent abuse is defined by Cottrell as ‘any harmful act of a teenager that physically harms another person, in this case the parents.' He goes on to say that although parental abuse is real, it is never really caused by the child but by the parents themselves. (This is not always the case though as some parents have done everything in their power to help their child.) Although many people try and convince themselves that someone else is to blame for their child's actions, yet they are only making it worse for the child. Parents must take the time to learn their child so they can have a meaningful relationship that the kid wants to keep healthy. [3]

Introduction[edit]

Adolescent abuse towards parents and even grandparents is a problem in the United States as well as other countries around the world but it is something not often discussed or reported because most family abuse in general remains hidden from public view until law enforcement becomes involved.[4]Child abuse and spousal abuse are discussed, but parents abused by their own offspring are still considered by many to be a taboo subject, according to some researchers. Reasons for this may be parents feel ashamed and/or think they should be able to handle the situation by themselves without outside assistance.[5] In addition, some parents may feel it is not safe for them to attempt to control the situation for it might enrage their child more. But any form of abuse is harmful to the victim as well as the abuser and may lead to more serious consequences if ignored. Identifying or admitting there is a problem is the first step to finding a solution to adolescent parental abuse and seeking help through intervention is the next step to attempt to resolve problematic adolescent behavior.

It is difficult to ascertain the prevalence of the phenomenon due to the fact that it is hugely under reported by parents. Research carried out in Canada, United States and Oceania suggest that mothers, lone parents as well as parents facing social and family difficulties are more probable to experience parental abuse, especially if a child has experienced violence in the family.

A unique factor in parental abuse is 'the culture of blame', which has deepened over the past decade.[6]

Demographics[edit]

Age[edit]

Parental abuse by adolescents may be relatively common; an adolescent is a young person between the ages of 12 and 19.[7] However, abusers can be younger or older; in fact, according to a review, 11% of abusers may be less than age 10.[8]

Types of abuse[edit]

According to Cottrell[4] and Bobic,[7] abuse may appear in one or a combination of five forms; physical, verbal, psychological, emotional, and financial. Bobic mentioned only four of the five listed abuses; verbal abuse was not included in her 2004 article, Adolescent Violence Towards Parents.[7]

Multiple causes of abusive behavior[edit]

According to Purplefairy, many people consider parent abuse to be the result of bad parenting, neglect, or the child suffering abuse themselves, which some certainly have experienced, but other adolescent abusers have had "normal" upbringing and have not suffered from these situations. Children may be subjected to violence on TV, in movies and in music, and that violence may come to be considered "normal." The breakdown of the family unit, poor or nonexistent relationships with an absent parent, as well as, debt, unemployment, and parental drug/alcohol abuse may all be contributing factors to abuse. Some other reasons for parental abuse according to several experts are:[4][7]

  • arguments getting out of control;
  • aggressive behavioral tendencies;
  • frustration or inability to deal with problems;
  • not having learned how to manage (or control) angry feelings;
  • not able to learn how to manage or control behavior due to brain damage;
  • witnessing other abuses at home can cause similar behaviors;
  • lack of respect for their parents – perceived weakness;
  • lack of consequences for bad behavior;
  • children who have been abused may begin to fight back against their abusers.
  • fear;
  • drugs and alcohol;
  • gang culture;
  • not having adequate role models;
  • not being able to properly deal with a disabled or mentally ill parent(s);
  • revenge or punishment for something the parents did or did not do; and
  • mental illness.
  • corporal punishment.

History[edit]

Parental abuse is a relatively new term. In 1979, Harbin and Madden[9] released a study using the term “parent battery” but juvenile delinquency, which is a major factor, has been studied since the late 19th century.[8] Even though some studies have been done in the United States, Australia, Canada, and other countries, the lack of reporting of adolescent abuse toward parents makes it difficult to accurately determine the extent of it. Many studies have to rely on self-reporting by adolescents.[10][11] In 2004, Robinson,[8] of Brigham Young University, published: Parent Abuse on the Rise: A Historical Review in the American Association of Behavioral Social Science Online Journal, reporting results of the 1988 study performed by Evans and Warren-Sohlberg.[12] The results reported that 57% of parental abuse was physical; using a weapon at 17%; throwing items at 5% and verbal abuse reported at 22%. With 82% of the abuse being against mothers (5 times greater than against fathers) and 11% of the abusers were under the age of 10 years. The highest rate of abuse happens within families with a single mother. Mothers are usually the primary caregiver; they spend more time with their children than fathers and have closer emotional connections to them. It can also be due to the size and strength of the abuser and women are often thought of as weaker and even powerless. Parental abuse can occur in any family and it is not necessarily associated with ethnic background, socio-economic class, or sexual orientation.

Numerous studies concluded that gender does not play a role in the total number of perpetrators; however, males are more likely to inflict physical abuse and females are more likely to inflict emotional abuse.[4][11][13] Studies from the United States estimate that violence among adolescents peaks at 15–17 years old.[12][14][15] However, a Canadian study done by Barbara Cottrell in 2001 suggests the ages are 12–14 years old.[4]

Parental abuse does not happen just inside the home but can be in public places, further adding to the humiliation of the parents. Abuse is not only a domestic affair but can be criminal as well. Most teenagers experience a normal transition in which they try to go from being dependent to independent, but there are some dynamics of unhealthy parental control that also play a direct part in the failure to properly raise a child in this regard. There will always be times of resistance toward parental authority. According to the Canadian National Clearinghouse on Family Violence the abuse generally begins with verbal abuse, but even then, some females can be very physically abusive towards a child who is smaller and more vulnerable than they are, and to cover their abuse, they often lie to the other parent about actual events that led to "severe punishment." The child, adolescent or parent may show no remorse or guilt and feels justified in the behavior, but many times when the child is the one who is being abused, they are very remorseful for being forced to defend themselves, especially when they are not the aggressor.[16] Parents must examine their children’s behavior and determine if it is acceptable or if it crosses the line of abusiveness, just as a parent has the responsibility as an adult who is supposed to know better should be responsible for his/her own abuses towards a child. Some teenagers can become aggressive as a result of parental abuses and dysfunction or psychological problems. Some children may have trouble dealing with their emotions, that is all part of growing up but there is a line that should not be crossed and parents may determine where that line is. Unfortunately, abused children are not afforded protections from abusive parents. This practice often helps discourage abusive behavior and show that it will not be tolerated.[4]

Typical model of adolescent-parent abuse interaction[edit]

According to Spitzberg the typical interaction leading to parental abuse often seems to occur in the following sequence:[17]

  1. the adolescent makes a request;
  2. the parent asks for clarifying information;
  3. the adolescent responds courteously and provides the requested information;
  4. the parent acknowledges the teen’s point of view but decides to say “no” based on the information provided, while possibly continuing the conversation regarding a possible “next time”;
  5. the adolescent tries to change the mind of the parent by asking the parent to explain the decision, sometimes using the information to continue to challenge the parent until certain that the answer would not change; and
  6. if the parent holds firm to his or her decision, the teen may start using abusive remarks and threats, harass the parent by following the parent around, and finally responding with verbal threats, physical force, emotional abuse, and often destruction of property or financial damage.

These types of aggressive behaviors are very important to recognize for appropriate treatment of adolescents and parents abused by the same. Yet the escalation of violence is an interactive process. When parents or others overreact and intervene emotionally, they can cause the adolescent’s aggression to escalate to a higher level, by exerting examples of violence and unreasonableness as a parent. The more tendency towards abuse and negative behaviors that the parent exemplifies, the more reactive the child will also be, more often in a negative manner. Balancing these two dynamics is the key to healthy family dynamics in reducing potential abuse within families, whether it be parental abuses or child abuses.

Intervention[edit]

Intervention is perhaps the best solution to confront adolescent parental abuse and the key to turn aggressive behavior by adolescents, teenagers, and young adults during its early stages and help prevent any other form of parental abuse from taking place.

While Intervention is an option, it may not always work. There are times when the child does have a mental illness that does not allow the child, adolescent or teenager to understand what is exactly happening. Therefore, the individual acts out their emotions the only way they understand. This can present itself as violence, emotional abuse, destructive behaviors such as destroying personal property or self bodily injury. The United States currently protects abused children using Courts, Child Protective Services and other agencies. The US also has Adult Protective Services which is provided to abused, neglected, or exploited older adults and adults with significant disabilities. There are no agencies or programs that protect parents from abusive children, adolescents or teenagers other than giving up their Parental Rights to the state they live in.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^Growing levels of concern from parents and carers experiencing aggression from their children
  2. ^WHEN FAMILY LIFE HURTS: Family experience of aggression in children - Parentline plus 31 October 2010Archived 19 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^"Responding to 'parent abuse' | The Psychologist". thepsychologist.bps.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-11-20. 
  4. ^ abcdefCottrell, B., (2001). The abuse of parents by their teenage children(PDF). Parent Abuse. Archived from the original(PDF) on February 27, 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  5. ^Marin, B., (2010). "Parent Abused By Teens". Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  6. ^"Responding to 'parent abuse'". The British Psychological Society. 
  7. ^ abcdBobic, N., (2004). "Adolescent Violence Towards Parents"(PDF). Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  8. ^ abcRobinson, P.W., et al. (2004). "Parents Abuse on the Rise"(PDF). A Historical Review. Archived from the original(PDF) on January 29, 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  9. ^Harbin,, H.T.; Madden, D.J. (1979). "Battered Parents: A New Syndrome". American Journal of Psychiatry. 136 (10): 1288–1291. doi:10.1176/ajp.136.10.1288. 
  10. ^Paterson, R., et al. (2002). "Maintaining Family Connections When The Going Gets Tough"(PDF). Adolescent Violence Towards Parents. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  11. ^ abAgnew, R.; Huguley, S. (1989). "Adolescent violence towards parents". Journal of marriage and family. 51 (3): 699–771. doi:10.2307/352169. 
  12. ^ abEvans, D.; Warren-Sohlberg, L. (1989). "A pattern analysis of adolescent abusive behaviour towards parents". Journal of Adolescent Research. 3 (2): 210–216. doi:10.1177/074355488832007. 
  13. ^"World report on violence and health"(PDF). Summary. World Health Organization (2002). Retrieved 13 Jun 2012. 
  14. ^Stauss, M., Gelles, R., & Steinmetz S. (1988). Behind closed doors: violence in the American family. New York: Anchor Books. 
  15. ^Wilson, J., (1996). Physical abuse of parents by adolescent children, in Busby, D.M. (ed) The impact of violence on the family: treatment approaches for therapists and other professionals. Massachusetts: Allyn & Bacon. pp. 101–103. 
  16. ^Stephenson, K., (2008). "Parents Abuse on the Rise"(PDF). A Historical Review. Archived from the original(PDF) on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  17. ^Spitzberg, B.H. & Cupach, W.R. (Eds.) (2011). Adolescent-to-Parent Abuse: Exploring the Communicative Patterns Leading to Verbal, Physical, and Emotional Abuse. The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. pp. 363–385. ISBN 978-0-8058-4450-4. 

Further reading[edit]

This article is about the group of people such as a mother and a father. For the family in biology, see Family (biology). For other uses, see Family (disambiguation).

In the context of humansociety, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated either by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage or other relationship), or co-residence (as implied by the etymology of the English word "family"[citation needed] [...] from Latin familia 'family servants, domestics collectively, the servants in a household,' thus also 'members of a household, the estate, property; the household, including relatives and servants,' abstract noun formed from famulus 'servant, slave [...]'[1]) or some combination of these.[citation needed] Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters[citation needed]. Members of the extended family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law[citation needed]. Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual's specific relationship with them[citation needed].

In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children. As the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists generally classify most family organizations as matrifocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a wife, her husband, and children, also called the nuclear family); avuncular (for example, a grandparent, a brother, his sister, and her children); or extended (parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family). Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo.

The word "family" can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, nationhood, global village, and humanism.

The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history.

The family is also an important economic unit studied in family economics.

Social[edit]

One of the primary functions of the family involves providing a framework for the production and reproduction of persons biologically and socially. This can occur through the sharing of material substances (such as food); the giving and receiving of care and nurture (nurture kinship); jural rights and obligations; and moral and sentimental ties.[3][4] Thus, one's experience of one's family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is a "family of orientation": the family serves to locate children socially and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization.[5] From the point of view of the parent(s), the family is a "family of procreation", the goal of which is to produce and enculturate and socialize children.[6][7] However, producing children is not the only function of the family; in societies with a sexual division of labor, marriage, and the resulting relationship between two people, it is necessary for the formation of an economically productive household.[8][9][10]

Christopher Harris notes that the western conception of family is ambiguous and confused with the household, as revealed in the different contexts in which the word is used.[11]Olivia Harris states this confusion is not accidental, but indicative of the familial ideology of capitalist, western countries that pass social legislation that insists members of a nuclear family should live together, and that those not so related should not live together; despite the ideological and legal pressures, a large percentage of families do not conform to the ideal nuclear family type.[12]

Size[edit]

Further information: Fertility factor (demography)

The total fertility rate of women varies from country to country, from a high of 6.76 children born/woman in Niger to a low of 0.81 in Singapore (as of 2015).[13] Fertility is low in most Eastern European and Southern European countries; and high in most Sub-Saharan African countries.[13]

In some cultures, the mother's preference of family size influences that of the children through early adulthood.[14] A parent's number of children strongly correlates with the number of children that they will eventually have.[15]

Types of family[edit]

Although early western cultural anthropologists and sociologists considered family and kinship to be universally associated with relations by "blood" (based on ideas common in their own cultures) later research[3] has shown that many societies instead understand family through ideas of living together, the sharing of food (e.g. milk kinship) and sharing care and nurture. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of family forms in stratified (especially capitalist) societies.[citation needed]

According to the work of scholars Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was "fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation".[16]

Much sociological, historical and anthropological research dedicates itself to the understanding of this variation, and of changes in the family that form over time. Levitan claims:

"Times have changed; it is more acceptable and encouraged for mothers to work and fathers to spend more time at home with the children. The way roles are balanced between the parents will help children grow and learn valuable life lessons. There is [the] great importance of communication and equality in families, in order to avoid role strain."[17]

Conjugal (nuclear or single) family[edit]

The term "nuclear family" is commonly used, especially in the United States of America, to refer to conjugal families. A "conjugal" family includes only the husband, the wife, and unmarried children who are not of age.[18] Sociologists distinguish between conjugal families (relatively independent of the kindred of the parents and of other families in general) and nuclear families (which maintain relatively close ties with their kindred).[citation needed] Other family structures, such as blended parents, single parents, and domestic partnerships have begun to challenge the normality of the nuclear family.[19][20][21]

Matrifocal family[edit]

Main article: Matrifocal family

A "matrifocal" family consists of a mother and her children. Generally, these children are her biological offspring, although adoption of children is a practice in nearly every society. This kind of family occurs commonly where women have the resources to rear their children by themselves, or where men are more mobile than women. As a definition, "a family or domestic group is matrifocal when it is centred on a woman and her children. In this case, the father(s) of these children are intermittently present in the life of the group and occupy a secondary place. The children's mother is not necessarily the wife of one of the children's fathers."[22]

Extended family[edit]

The term "extended family" is also common, especially in the United States. This term has two distinct meanings:

  1. First, it serves as a synonym of "consanguinal family" (consanguine means "of the same blood").
  2. Second, in societies dominated by the conjugal family, it refers to "kindred" (an egocentric network of relatives that extends beyond the domestic group) who do not belong to the conjugal family.

These types refer to ideal or normative structures found in particular societies. Any society will exhibit some variation in the actual composition and conception of families.

Family of choice[edit]

The term "family of choice," also sometimes referred to as "chosen family," is common within the LGBT community, both in academic literature and in colloquial vocabulary. It refers to the group of people in an individual's life that satisfies the typical role of family as a support system. The term differentiates between the "family of origin" (the biological family or that in which people are raised) and those that actively assume that ideal role.[23] The family of choice may or may not include some or all of the members of the family of origin. This terminology stems from the fact that many LGBT individuals, upon coming out, face rejection or shame from the families they were raised in. The term family of choice is also used by individuals in the 12 step communities, who create close-knit "family" ties through the recovery process.

Blended family[edit]

The term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family.[24] Also in sociology, particularly in the works of social psychologist Michael Lamb,[25]traditional family refers to "a middle-class family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children," and nontraditional to exceptions from this rule. Most of the US households are now non-traditional under this definition.[26]

In terms of communication patterns in families, there are a certain set of beliefs within the family that reflect how its members should communicate and interact. These family communication patterns arise from two underlying sets of beliefs. One being conversation orientation (the degree to which the importance of communication is valued) and two, conformity orientation (the degree to which families should emphasize similarities or differences regarding attitudes, beliefs, and values).[27]

Monogamous family[edit]

A monogamous family is based on a legal or social monogamy. In this case, an individual has only one (official) partner during their lifetime or at any one time (i.e. serial monogamy).[28] This means that a person may not have several different legal spouses at the same time, as this is usually prohibited by bigamy laws, in jurisdictions that require monogamous marriages.

Polygamous family[edit]

Polygamy is a marriage that includes more than two partners.[29][30] When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny; and when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called polyamory,[31]group or conjoint marriage.[30]

Polygyny is a form of plural marriage, in which a man is allowed more than one wife .[32] In modern countries that permit polygamy, polygyny is typically the only form permitted. Polygyny is practiced primarily (but not only) in parts of the Middle East and Africa; and is often associated with Islam, however, there are certain conditions in Islam that must be met to perform polygyny.

Polyandry is a form of marriage whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time.[33] Fraternal polyandry, where two or more brothers are married to the same wife, is a common form of polyandry. Polyandry was traditionally practiced in areas of the Himalayan mountains, among Tibetans in Nepal, in parts of China and in parts of northern India. Polyandry is most common in societies marked by high male mortality or where males will often be apart from the rest of the family for a considerable period of time.[33]

Kinship terminology[edit]

Degrees of kinship[edit]

Main article: Coefficient of relationship

A first-degree relative is one who shares 50% of your DNA through direct inheritance, such as a full sibling, parent or progeny.

KinshipDegree of
relationship by coefficient
Coefficient of
relationship
Degree of relationship by counting up generations to common ancestor and back down to target individual (used for various genealogical and legal purposes)
Identical twins0100%[34]second-degree
Full siblingfirst-degree50% (2×2−2)second-degree
Parent-offspring[35]first-degree50% (2−1)first-degree
Half-siblingsecond-degree25% (2−2)second-degree
Grandmother/grandfathersecond-degree25% (2−2)second-degree
Niece/nephew/aunt/unclesecond-degree25% (2×2−3)third-degree
Half Niece/nephew/aunt/unclethird-degree12.5% (2−3)third-degree
First cousinthird-degree12.5% (2×2−4)fourth-degree
Half first cousinfourth-degree6.25% (2−4)fourth-degree
Great grandparentthird-degree12.5% (2−3)third-degree
First cousin once removedfifth-degree6.25% (2⋅2−5)fifth-degree
Second cousinsixth-degree3.125% (2−6+2−6)sixth-degree

Terminologies[edit]

Main article: Kinship terminology

In his book Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818–1881) performed the first survey of kinship terminologies in use around the world. Although much of his work is now considered dated, he argued that kinship terminologies reflect different sets of distinctions. For example, most kinship terminologies distinguish between sexes (the difference between a brother and a sister) and between generations (the difference between a child and a parent). Moreover, he argued, kinship terminologies distinguish between relatives by blood and marriage (although recently some anthropologists have argued that many societies define kinship in terms other than "blood").

Morgan made a distinction between kinship systems that use classificatory terminology and those that use descriptive terminology. Classificatory systems are generally and erroneously understood to be those that "class together" with a single term relatives who actually do not have the same type of relationship to ego. (What defines "same type of relationship" under such definitions seems to be genealogical relationship. This is problematic given that any genealogical description, no matter how standardized, employs words originating in a folk understanding of kinship.) What Morgan's terminology actually differentiates are those (classificatory) kinship systems that do not distinguish lineal and collateral relationships and those (descriptive) kinship systems that do. Morgan, a lawyer, came to make this distinction in an effort to understand Seneca inheritance practices. A Seneca man's effects were inherited by his sisters' children rather than by his own children.[36] Morgan identified six basic patterns of kinship terminologies:

  • Hawaiian: only distinguishes relatives based upon sex and generation.
  • Sudanese: no two relatives share the same term.
  • Eskimo: in addition to distinguishing relatives based upon sex and generation, also distinguishes between lineal relatives and collateral relatives.
  • Iroquois: in addition to sex and generation, also distinguishes between siblings of opposite sexes in the parental generation.
  • Crow: a matrilineal system with some features of an Iroquois system, but with a "skewing" feature in which generation is "frozen" for some relatives.
  • Omaha: like a Crow system but patrilineal.

Roles[edit]

Most Western societies employ Eskimo kinship terminology.[citation needed] This kinship terminology commonly occurs in societies based on conjugal (or nuclear) families, where nuclear families have a degree of relative mobility. Members of the nuclear use descriptive kinship terms:

Such systems generally assume that the mother's husband is also the biological father. In some families, a woman may have children with more than one man or a man may have children with more than one woman. The system refers to a child who shares only one parent with another child as a "half-brother" or "half-sister". For children who do not share biological or adoptive parents in common, English-speakers use the term "stepbrother" or "stepsister" to refer to their new relationship with each other when one of their biological parents marries one of the other child's biological parents. Any person (other than the biological parent of a child) who marries the parent of that child becomes the "stepparent" of the child, either the "stepmother" or "stepfather". The same terms generally apply to children adopted into a family as to children born into the family. In the United States, one in five mothers have children by different fathers; among mothers with two or more children the figure is higher, with 28% having children with at least two different men. Such families are more common among Blacks and Hispanics, and among the lower socioeconomic class.[37]

Typically, societies with conjugal families also favor neolocal residence; thus upon marriage, a person separates from the nuclear family of their childhood (family of orientation) and forms a new nuclear family (family of procreation). However, in western society, the single parent family has been growing more accepted and has begun to make an impact on culture. Single parent families are more commonly single mother families than single father. These families sometimes face difficult issues besides the fact that they have to rear their children on their own, for example, low income making it difficult to pay for rent, child care, and other necessities for a healthy and safe home. Members of the nuclear families of members of one's own (former) nuclear family may class as lineal or as collateral. Kin who regard them as lineal refer to them in terms that build on the terms used within the nuclear family:

  • Grandparent
    • Grandfather: a parent's father
    • Grandmother: a parent's mother
  • Grandchild
    • Grandson: a child's son
    • Granddaughter: a child's daughter

For collateral relatives, more classificatory terms come into play, terms that do not build on the terms used within the nuclear family:

  • Uncle: parent's brother, or male spouse of parent's sibling
  • Aunt: parent's sister, or female spouse of parent's sibling
  • Nephew: sibling's son, or spouse's sibling's son
  • Niece: sibling's daughter, or spouse's sibling's daughter

When additional generations intervene (in other words, when one's collateral relatives belong to the same generation as one's grandparents or grandchildren), the prefixes "great-" or "grand-" modifies these terms. Also, as with grandparents and grandchildren, as more generations intervene the prefix becomes "great-grand-," adding another "great-" for each additional generation. Most collateral relatives have never had membership of the nuclear family of the members of one's own nuclear family.

  • Cousin: the most classificatory term; the children of uncles or aunts. One can further distinguish cousins by degrees of collaterality and by generation. Two persons of the same generation who share a grandparent count as "first cousins" (one degree of collaterality); if they share a great-grandparent they count as "second cousins" (two degrees of collaterality) and so on. If two persons share an ancestor, one as a grandchild and the other as a great-grandchild of that individual, then the two descendants class as "first cousins once removed" (removed by one generation); if they shared ancestor figures as the grandparent of one individual and the great-great-grandparent of the other, the individuals class as "first cousins twice removed" (removed by two generations), and so on. Similarly, if they shared ancestor figures as the great-grandparent of one person and the great-great-grandparent of the other, the individuals class as "second cousins once removed". Hence one can refer to a "third cousin once removed upwards."

Cousins of an older generation (in other words, one's parents' first cousins), although technically first cousins once removed, are often classified with "aunts" and "uncles." Similarly, a person may refer to close friends of one's parents as "aunt" or "uncle," or may refer to close friends as "brother" or "sister," using the practice of fictive kinship. English-speakers mark relationships by marriage (except for wife/husband) with the tag "-in-law." The mother and father of one's spouse become one's mother-in-law and father-in-law; the female spouse of one's child becomes one's daughter-in-law and the male spouse of one's child becomes one's son-in-law. The term "sister-in-law" refers to three essentially different relationships, either the wife of one's sibling, or the sister of one's spouse, or, in some uses, the wife of one's spouse's sibling. "Brother-in-law" expresses a similar ambiguity. The terms "half-brother" and "half-sister" indicate siblings who share only one biological or adoptive parent.

Types of kinship[edit]

Patrilineal[edit]

Patrilineality, also known as the male line or agnatic kinship, is a form of kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is traced through his or her father's lineage.[38] It generally involves the inheritance of property, rights, names, or titles by persons related through male kin.

A patriline ("father line") is a person's father, and additional ancestors that are traced only through males. One's patriline is thus a record of descent from a man in which the individuals in all intervening generations are male. In cultural anthropology, a patrilineage is a consanguineal male and female kinship group, each of whose members is descended from the common ancestor through male forebears.

Matrilineal[edit]

Matrilineality is a form of kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is traced through his or her mother's lineage.

It may also correlate with a societal system in which each person is identified with their matriline—their mother's lineage—and which can involve the inheritance of property and titles. A matriline is a line of descent from a femaleancestor to a descendant in which the individuals in all intervening generations are mothers – in other words, a "mother line".

In a matrilineal descent system, an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as her or his mother. This matrilineal descent pattern is in contrasts to the more common pattern of patrilineal descent pattern.

Bilateral descent[edit]

Bilateral descent is a form of kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is traced through both the paternal and maternal sides. The relatives on the mother's side and father's side are equally important for emotional ties or for transfer of property or wealth. It is a family arrangement where descent and inheritance are passed equally through both parents.[39] Families who use this system trace descent through both parents simultaneously and recognize multiple ancestors, but unlike with cognatic descent it is not used to form descent groups.[40]

Traditionally, this is found among some groups in West Africa, India, Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Malaysia and Polynesia. Anthropologists believe that a tribal structure based on bilateral descent helps members live in extreme environments because it allows individuals to rely on two sets of families dispersed over a wide area.[41]

History of theories[edit]

Main article: History of the family

Social Darwinists[edit]

A mother with her children, Berlin, Germany, 1962
A miner with his children
Family in a wagon, Lee County, Mississippi, August 1935.
Family tree showing the relationship of each person to the blue person.
Swedish family eating, 1902
Group photograph of a Norwegian family by Gustav Borgen ca. 1900: Father, mother, three sons and two daughters.
Extended family with roots in Cape Town, Kimberley and Pretoria, South Africa
Father and child, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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