Parsons: Family Performs Two
Basic and Irreducible Functions
1 Primary Socialisation
1.1 Equips children with basic skills and society's values, enabling
them to cooperate with others and integrate into society.
1.2 Without it, individuals would
have no understanding of norms
or values and become feral.
1.3 Eg. Washing, eating, dressing.
2 Stabilisation of Adult Personalities
2.1 Adults can relax and release tensions.
2.2 Parsons believes a one-person family cannot do this adequately.
2.3 Providing emotional support
and advice, financial support.
3 As it performs these functions, the family has the same
comforting effects as a warm bath, so that children are happy
to integrate the norms and values into their personalities and
adults can return to work from home feeling relaxed and ready.
4 Criticism: feminists argue that Parsons sees through
rose-tinted glasses - a distorted view of reality that focuses on
positive aspects of the family and ignores the rest.
4.1 He ignores the dark side of the family, for example, neglect, addiction and debt.