The Fluidity of Defining Family

A guest blog article by Hayley Dantona (student, world citizen)

Everyone starts somewhere and that somewhere usually starts with family. Family is difficult to define, in the traditional sense of the word it could be as simple as saying family are the people to whom a person is related to by blood, but that is not always the case. Family can also be a group of people with no biological connection but who love each other all the same.

A group of friends can be family.

An adopted family is still family.

There are factors that play into the way a person defines the word family, such as their culture and the time period in which they live.

Family is a fluid word. It can change and stretch to fit into multitudes of situations. However, a true family are people who love and support one another, despite whether they have blood ties or not.
People start out in the world with a family of people they have no choice in being around, but are simply considered “family” because they are related by blood or legality.

This first family can be awful or wonderful.

Some parents are too busy to pay attention to their children, some are abusive, siblings fight, and some relatives refuse to talk to others; every family has problems but some can have piles and piles of problems. People who grow up in these families seem to not actually consider them family, but instead refer to their close friends as true family instead. Relatives are not all bad though, some related families are very close. In these families it is unnecessary to turn to other people because the people they are related to fulfill the love and affection and support people crave from their family. That does not exclude them from including friends nor does it exclude relatives from being counted as family to those with less loving families.

Adoption works in a similar way. The family that adopted the child may or may not be better than the family they were taken away from, but it’s more about the family that supports them. If their birth mother was not able to afford them that does not make her a bad person but that also does not mean the child would refer to her as family: the child would have never met her, she would not be family as defined by some.

The way a person defines family is different for each person and is affected by their culture and the time period in which they live.

During the 1950s, family revolved around the man and his happiness, woman were expected to prepare for and please him. Children were supposed to be perfect and quiet. The Good Wife’s Guide states that the woman’s goal is to make sure the home is peaceful and orderly so the husband may relax (Housekeeping Monthly, 1955). The article no longer applies in the current time period, and in fact was proven to be a hoax as to its publishing; But it is, however, a fairly accurate picture of what family was in that time.

All of it is relative to what was taught and what was going on and how families were then. Years and years ago it was perfectly acceptable, even sometimes encouraged, to marry a cousin to keep the bloodline strong. In our current time, marrying a relative is unacceptable and disgusting, at least in most places.

Family has indeed changed and evolved. It will continue to do so.

In the end, family is about love and trust, support and forgiveness. If what one calls “family” does not provide those things, then it is not a real family.

“The Good Wife’s Guide” Housekeeping Monthly. 13 May, 1955.


79 thoughts on “The Fluidity of Defining Family

  1. I was brought up to believe that family is family no matter what. In my culture it is this way. My mother left us which was shameful and not common amongst our community. People within my community have trouble understanding that I have disconnected with her. I do not consider her to be family. I agree that friends are the family you choose and that the family your born in sometimes means nothing. It took along time for me to understand that.

    1. I am so sorry that you had to go through with all of that. i agree with you that if someone leaves your life with no reconnecting there is no reason to do so. People think of the word family and think blood but it can mean friends and anyone close to you whom shares the same ideas, interests, and passion as you and can be anyone.

      1. I agree Family is family. I am also sorry you had to go through that. And yes family is the people you choose to have as family. Yes it is very rough when somebody that you though were your family leaves you. I had a something like that happen to me now mine was within a friend group. We had someone who was a close friend since kindergarten just up and move and left us with no way of contacting them and we never heard from the person again. It took us a very longtime to learn that if you are family you should never just up and leave without even a goodbye.

    2. Agree in every way. I am so sorry you went through that. I was taught that your family is whoever you make your family. Anywhere there is trust and love you are part of the family. I have friends that are considered part of my family. They don’t have to be blood to be family. I have family that doesn’t mean anything to me because of issues in the past. I can walk past them and not say a word because there is no connection what so ever. My parents friends are more family than my family from my dad’s side would ever be.

  2. I was intrigued by the Good Wife’s guide from the 50s when I looked over it the first time as well. The evolution or marriage and family is greatly related to the times. In the 50s, after the Depression, money was tight. Men were already present in the workplace due to gender roles of previous decades stating so. It is the men who stayed in the workplace and often worked long hours. This was also a time where lifestyle wasn’t as sophisticated and women had to stay home with the kids instead of work due to high costs or simply the lack of babysitting services and access. A functionalist would describe the tasks of the men (work for the money) and women (stay at home with kids, cook, clean) as necessary for the functioning of society. Due to more recent developments in history and society, this is no longer the case. This is related to Mill’s “Sociological Imagination” in the sense that history affects family and marriage.

    1. The functionalist model makes me laugh when I think of my own family. My mother makes a lot more money for my dad and they have no problem with that. My dad does almost all of the domestic work as well as working a full time job that takes him out of state every week. This was all normal to me growing up and I nor he have never had the feelings to reestablish any proper functions. I think if you use mills with my family it would be that hard work is the mentality of my family and it is taught to me and in turn I will teach it to my children thus with a little change can cause history and thoughts can be re written.

  3. I understand where your coming from. Although from personal experience, I believe “forgiveness” is almost a guarantee when it comes to blood relatives but in terms of “Friends considered family” It is not always a guarantee. I have had many people I thought truly cared about me walk out of my life like it was a revolving door. As for my siblings and parents, we have gotten in some of the nastiest physical/word exchanging fights known to man and are still closer than ever today. Blood family is forever, and as close as a great friend may be there is no telling when or if detachment may come. For the people who were unfortunate and don’t have a supportive family, friends are a great source of support but definitely not family.

  4. I truly could not agree more. Coming from a family where many members are (to put it nicely) less than respectable in the public eye I have made my own family out of my friends. These are people I choose to care about and love and they have done the same for me. I understand the idea of family bonding the idea that “Family is all you have in this world” but I would much rather spend my time with people who want to be with me than who have to be with me simply because I share their last name.

    1. Agreed, it is a shame that nuclear families can break apart.. or maybe were never even together to begin with. This is why – if and when – those who have suffered from this choose to create a family of their own, they must strive to be the best for their spouse and children. The continuation of no support from a father or mother is not acceptable, in my opinion. Family is a fluid word, and whoever is considered family should be cared for deeply by the individual considering them family.

      1. I would say that a mother and father figure are needed, even if those are not the biological parents of that person. In the past we have taken in friends who have no where else to go and my parents quickly become theirs too. While my mom does not share their last name she is still as kind and as caring to them as her own children. Same with my father, he might not have the same blood as someone we bring in but he will still fill that role in their lives. While yes, I do agree that you choose your family as your life goes forward you still need the cornerstones of a basic family structure.

      2. I also agree with Emily. I consider many people outside my blood line my family. They have helped bring me out of some dark times, and were there for me in ways only blood relatives would. I probably do this more than most people because I am an only child. I see my family as something I can define because I was raised more with non related children. The things that hold people together are common values, love, respect.

      3. WordPress doesn’t like me and it won’t let me respond to Pat above so I will here.

        Coming from a house where I lived with a really bad brother I can easily say that he is not part of my family. He shares my same last name, we come from the same parents, and our DNA is nearly identical but he is not part of my family. I chose to remove him from the people I love and care about simply because he does not deserve the little value that can be found in my care for another person. However, other people outside of my house are my brothers and sisters because they do deserve that and I am happy to give it to them.

      4. I’m sorry to hear that has happened to Larsen no one should have to decide in a negative way who is family. This is another aspect of this article we can think about, can you consider people who are blood who betray or hurt you family? I haven’t been put into a situation like that but I bet that it was very hard. To have someone you are raised with as blood betray and hurt you can leave scars that are irreparable.

      5. I can relate in a sort of similar way to Larsen. Growing up, I truly feel that I was favored over my little sister by my father and our friends. This, and many other contributions I’m sure, led her to develop this hardened thick skin with a very sensitive core. Now that I am older, and during my own dark times learned the value of family and friendship, I am trying very hard to make amends with her for whatever I did to her (during those dark times of mine, I was a very lost person and was unkind to her). She is trying to forgive me, and she sees my trying to make amends. So I suppose that my bond to my sister goes deep, and although I messed up with her and there was jealousy between us, we are still sisters and I hope we can become good friends one day again.
        I consider her my blood and would defend her until death. As for my father, who I am now learning how selfish he was and has been my whole life, although I consider him my blood, it would be harder for me to lay down my life for him.
        As for my best friend/soul sister’s 11 month old daughter, I would not hesitate to lay my life down for her little self. Her and I are not related by blood; but through soul we are.
        Since I am someone of faith, I also believe that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ (please don’t be offended to those who may be inclined) so this could also be a definition of family. I learned recently that through baptism we are all united even more, to me this is beautiful and I could consider others my family too, even those who are not baptized in Christian faith because that is my choice as a follower of Christ.
        My point is many definitions of family!

      6. This is in reply to Emily’s post starting with “I can relate in a sort of similar way to Larsen.”

        It’s freeing, in a way. After I ejected him from what I consider to be my family I didn’t have to associate with him or show him any kind of attention. I was able to fill that spot with someone I really do consider to be my brother and completely left any and all feelings behind. Through that I gained this immense sense of relief and happiness, like a weight was lifted off of me and an actual sense of brotherhood replaced it.

    2. This is again in response to Emily; specifically her final point about her friends daughter.

      That part was truly touching and represents everything I feel about the “brothers” in my family. I would honestly do anything for them and that includes risking my life to save them if that situation would ever come up and I know they would do the same. It’s great feeling to know that somewhere in the world someone you care about would do anything for you and you would repay them without even a second to think about it.

    3. As much as I agree with the statement of you making your own family out of of your friends, I don’t think you should exclude your immediate family just because they aren’t seen respectable in the public eye. Just because others, or the public don’t agree with your family doesn’t mean you should shut them out. If they are there for you to show you love and support it should not matter what anybody else sees. That being said, I consider my nuclear family my family, but I also have a group of friends who are just as close to me as my “real” family. You should never forget where you came from though, whether it was a bad experience or good experience it shaped you into the person you are, and you should always remember your roots.

      1. I agree with you. You should also always have a family of friends. But you should never forget about your blood family no matter what they are like. Your roots are so important in your life. And yes I also agree with you with the fact even if society frowns upon your blood family, you should still love them as well.

  5. Agreed 100%. There are people in my extended family that I do not consider “family”. I do not know them well, what I do know I do not like, and I know I am sounding judgmental but that is only because they started it. My family at home is my true family along with my bestfriends. People who you can actually trust and be able to be there when you need someone is family. Someone you love and would look out for their well being not only your brother your sister and your mother but your bestfriend of 16 years and maybe your girlfriend of 5. Family will continue to change just like very other word in the dictionary. There’s a thing on google that you can look at the history of a word and how much it has changed and I bet family is up there.

    1. Yeah, family can be anyone important in your life. Like you said, a best friend of 16 years or a girlfriend of 5. People grow attachments with others on such a level sometimes. When that bond can never be broken is when I consider someone outside of my bloodline to be my family member. For instance, my best friend and I have been like actual sisters for years, it would be crazy if I didn’t consider her a family member. She’s the person I tell everything to, and the person who probably knows me best.

  6. I think the change in the American rate of divorce and rate of marriage has greatly changed our outlook on families. For example, by the time US women turn 24 nearly 1 in 2 will be married; however, in 1960 that number was nearly 3 in 4. Mills’ “Sociological Imagination” would recognize this as a great social change. Moveover, more than half of the US divorces occur by the seventh year of marriage. Divorces often occur with small children in the picture, drastically changing the child’s perception of family.


  7. I agree with what Stefan said when he explained the fine line between family and friends. There are multiple situations in which friends become true family; blood relations tend to keep certain people relevant within our lives but can sometimes fail to surpass some personal life decisions based on the broad expectation of a family reputation. Generally, it is obviously important to maintain a balance of both influences.

  8. The definition of family tends to reach far beyond the blood relation of another. The interpretation and time can definitely effect the definition of what family can mean to an individual. The one aspect of this article I can completely agree on is that family consists of those who support and love one another despite any blood relation or it is just love that is unconditional. Time does matter according to the definition of family because the variation of roles in a functional family today can wide. For example, mother could potentially have a mother and father role to be played in the family and vise versa.

  9. Once an individual has reached the age of reason (personally, I would say mid-twenties) or perhaps, the age of full development would be a better way to put it, the individual has full capacity to think through their thoughts and actions. Meaning, when they consider another individual to be family, they have an obligation to care for this individual. The word family has become fluid, and right fully so. This has fortunate and unfortunate circumstance. Since the fortunate has been discussed, I will address the unfortunate in this comment. This could mean that, like the original nuclear family – that has either knowingly or unknowingly hurt the individual – those considered family may change over time. Either through growth, departure/moving locations, betrayal etc. There are many possibilities. This brings home the thought that those that one considers friends and family should be worthy of such a title. The heart is sacred, and should be cared for, even ones own heart. And unfortunately, there are good and bad people in this world. And even those who are good can be selfish or foolish.

  10. There are a lot of different types of family. I do understand that a lot of people are not lucky enough to have a mom and dad and siblings. They have to find a family that fits them. But I don’t think that it can ever be the same kind of bound that your close family has. when you are raised with a family your whole life you have this bound that no matter what you stay by their side and you will always be there for them. I think that it is a very rare thing to find people who will always be their for you who is not you biological family. Because of that I’m not sure if it is possible to have a family outside of your biological one.

  11. I understand where your coming from. Growing up I was disconnected from most of my family. The love/attention/care you get from your blood family is more meaningful to a person growing up. I think we try to replace family with friends because friends are more loyal and they say what you wanna hear and do stuff your more interested in. As much as I love my little brother me and him don’t see eye to eye on most stuff and we are completely opposite of each other. I think we replace family with friends because you find friends that like to do what you do and have many qualities that are similar to yours. Blood related or not if you show Love/attention/care/loyalty your considered “family”.

  12. I have always found it hard to relate and bond to my own family. I don’t share the same interests and Ideas. I have often found myself gravitating toward those outside my family for that feeling. I have felt that I need to create bonds with them because of what a family culture brings. My mother always says that you will always have your family and they will love you. I want that trust and respect because as I slowly face the realities that come with growing up I am worried I can fail. But I know not all families are mine. But even though I don’t relate to them all that well I feel like I need to.

  13. Some strictly believe that family is family and are the people you are related to by blood. I do not agree with this. I concur with the statements provided, family has nothing to do with blood or legal relations. Family are the people that are there for you through the good and the bad. They are the ones that you can trust with you entire life. There are no rules or guidelines to follow as to who your family ends up being, it is just those who are there for you and won’t leave your side when the going gets tough.

  14. I have always been slightly annoyed by the Good Wife’s Guide and those who refer to it. Like you pointed out, it’s source is questionable, and that makes me hesitant to say that it is an accurate description of how family life was structured in the 1950s. It makes our society at the time look downright disturbing. Although women were certainly repressed and lacked equality in many areas, in most cases they weren’t treated as slaves like that article suggests. They held an important role in society and its functioning, and most men respected women (just like today). I am not advocating the way things were, but I don’t like the way that article is used most of the time. It is from a different time, and it paints a somewhat inaccurate picture in people’s heads. I think it should be taken with a grain of salt.

  15. I strongly agree with many of the main points of this article. One point that I liked especially is the idea that friends can be family as well. Friends are just as important if not more important than family. Friends are in some ways closer knit then your own family, for example there are just some things you would not necessarily want to tell your family. Friends can also be much more understanding then family because your friends are around the same age and they can be more relatable. My parents are older than most of my friends which makes it difficult for them to relate, they are about as old-fashioned as they come. I also enjoyed the idea of family being a fluid term, because that is the perfect way to describe it, it is ever-changing. But the one thing is that family is important no matter what. Family is the collection of people who will always be there for you no matter what, and a family of any sort, no matter how dysfunctional, is important.

  16. I agree with the definition of what one can consider of being a family because it does not just relate to people who are biologically related to you. You make friends who care about you and are always there for you and that makes them family to you. There can be instances where a friend of you can be closer than a family because you are able to open up to them. They can be more understanding because they are the ones you go to when you have problems instead of your family because you are too embarrassed to tell them. Family is important because they are the ones who are there for you and will have your back when you need them. Friends or biologically related members, they are going to be there for you no matter the issue.

  17. I agree with this article and specifically the passage that says “Family can also be a group of people with no biological connection but who love each other all the same”. Most of my family is in Guatemala so I do not see them very often. When I do see them, I am not very close with them because of our geographic differences. With that said, I consider my close friends and my girlfriend’s family as my own family, they a true family because they support me and love me. I enjoyed reading this article because I can relate with it.

  18. I agree with you in the fact that you describe that family is hard to define. Because as it was said in the article can be anyone you consider close to you or that you consider a part of your life. Everyone has a different definition of what family is. And also, everyone has a different attitude towards their family. Some people like you said have good experiences in their family and others don’t and that is simply the case. I believe that in the end no one will always have the same definition of what family is or the same experiences but I believe that, that in a way shapes them into being the people they will later become.

  19. I agree with this article for more reasons than one. Family doesn’t specifically have to be the actual group of people who raised you or who you were born from. I consider my best friend to be my sister because she has always been there for me. Although I do still consider my biological family to be my actual family, I also believe that family is hard to define. As stated in the article, family can be biological, adopted, or even a group of friends. Personally, I believe family to be anyone you feel is there for you, a group of people who support you and loves you unconditionally.

  20. I would definitely have to agree with this article. Family certainly does not have to be people you are related to by blood. I personally consider some of my friends as family because they help me get through certain problems, tell me what’s right and what’s wrong, and they also want what’s best for me. Even though I was born with my real family and my parents raised me, I still have different groups of people who I’d consider family as well. When I say ‘real family,’ I mean the family I am related to by blood. Yes, I love them very much. But I know some people who don’t feel this way about their real family, but instead feel this way about friends who they consider their family. We don’t get to choose our family, but we do get a choice in who we are friends with.

  21. I agree with the article 100%. I totally believe that family doesn’t have to be blood. I personally think that some of my friends like my friend Kylia are like family to me because they help me get through a lot of problems I go through, they help me figure out what I should do in certain situations and they also want me to have the best life possible. When I was first born I lived with my mom and dad, but sadly my mom and dad divorced, because of that I ended up living with my aunt (mom’s sister). Who I feel is like my 2nd mother for taking me in. When I say ‘real family,’ I mean the family I grew up with. I love them with all my heart. Yet there are some friends I know who love their none blood family more then there real family. I believe that family is forever but we can’t choose them. Yet if we want friends like family we can choose them.

  22. I completely agree with this article. While my immediate family has always been supportive, I can’t say that for the rest of the family. I also come from a family with an adopted sibling. He knows he’s different and adopted, but we still fully think of him as family. We support him and care for him because in our eyes, he is family even without being blood related. Family is all about who proves to be there for you, not who you’re blood related to.

  23. I completely agree with this article. My immediate family I will always have. However, my second cousins and family from out of state I have trouble saying they are a part of my family because I don’t associate myself with them. I don’t have anyone adopted in my family but I will stress that those people are a part of your family.

  24. I agree with this article. I haven’t had the chance to experience an adopted sibling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know. Anyone that you experience yourself with, family or friend. they are your family. The love and happiness you experience with these people prove that they are your family. An adopted sibling is still family and will do anything for your family.

    1. I stand 100% by your statement about the people who bring you love and happiness, as well as support are the ones considered as your family, because that’s truly what it is based off of. However when you say an adopted sibling will do anything your family, I don’t think that is always the case in some adopted children’s situations. I have heard of many different cases where sometimes an adopted child acts out with their adoptive parents, and the parents struggle to raise them. Sometimes the adoptive child don’t consider them their real parents because they solely aren’t their biological parents. This goes to show that some people just consider family to be those biological and nuclear family members, rather than a deeper meaning of what they consider family.

    2. I agree with you. I know what it is like to adopt. I have cousins that are adopted and yet even though they aren’t blood related we still love them as much as we do each other. Personally I think no matter what their race, gender, or ethnicity if your family adopts them you should have the same unconditional love for them as you do for everyone else in your family.

  25. I agree that family can have many different definitions depending on who you are. If you are an only child and have close friends you would tend to think of them as your siblings. I have a best friend and we have been friends for 40 years. I consider her my family and love her like a sister. I have actually known her longer than my biological sister who is 38 years old. I will always remember Brian he was my older brother’s best friend. His parents died in an automobile accident when he was 17 years old. My mother took him in and he lived with us. During the holidays Brian always had gifts under the tree from all of us. On his birthday Brian was treated special and always had a birthday cake and presents waiting for him when he got home from work. Although Brian has passed away I will always consider him my brother. I recall how devastated we all were at his funeral and how much he is missed. Brian was part of my family and always will be.

    1. I loved reading your comment to this article because I can relate greatly to your situation. I have a cousin, my aunt was a single mom and worked a lot so he often lived at our house for weeks. I’ve always considered him my brother and part of my immediate family since we were little, he often said my mom was more a mother to him than his real mom. These situations just prove that family isn’t always considered as your biological mother, father, brother, and sisters; it can be anywhere from your third cousin to your best friend for the past year. My cousin now has passed away as well and my entire family was left devastated, me and my brothers had special part in the funeral service, because he considered us to be his brothers and sister.

  26. I do agree that the concept of family has changed over time. In the 1950s, the traditional nuclear family was seen as the model family. There was a husband, a wife, and at least a child. Since then, society has becoming more accepting of other types of families. For example, gay marriage was legalized last year on a national level. Finally, same sex couples can have the same rights as straight couples. I think same sex couples will continue to gain more of an acceptance as society re-evaluates what it means to be a family. Families are based off of love, and love knows no boundaries.

    1. I completely agree that same sex couples should have the same rights as everybody else. Love is love regardless if you are two males, or two females you should have the freedom to be with the people that make you happiest, give you meaning in life and are supportive. I love the fact you added that families are based off love, and love has no boundaries. That is absolutely the truth and shows how family really has no boundaries, and depending who you talk to really anybody could be considered family. Do you believe that things like trans-gender bathrooms are inappropriate, or socially acceptable in today’s day and age?

  27. This article really nails on the head the definition of family, and how there really is no true definition and depending on who you talk to their definition will always vary from the next person’s. I agree and believe family has completely evolved from earlier generations as it says in the article. Things like same sex marriage is now acceptable and things like incest or marrying a relative has become completely, morally wrong. I like how the author of the article said family is about love, trust, support, and forgiveness because to me this could not be more true I have a family of my mom, dad, and two brothers who I love so much. At the same time, I also have a group close friends who are also considered my family by all means. In my family I have two brothers, one of my brothers is my half brother and has a different father, but my dad has adopted him since age 2. My brother still feels completely apart of our family and never once doubts that my dad loves him any less than he loves my brother and I; his own children. It just goes to show that family truly is different in every individuals eyes and really anybody be considered your family, whether their your blood or not, and whether you’ve known them your whole life or only for a year.

  28. The roles of family members and the dynamic of a marriage has been consistent for so long in history. However I think this traditional approach to behavior based on gender is detrimental to a more equal and free society. The way in which women have been treated as objects in the past is unacceptable. The impact family has on an individual is enormous and I believe in order to make progressions society should start with kids and refrain from perpetuating gender roles and stray from the traditional conditioning of youth.

    1. Family does play a huge role in the way a child a raised, but i feel like it will be easier said than done. I am about to get married and have actually had this conversation with my fiancé, about let our son play with dolls or daughter play with cars. Yes it could help men grow up to be more sensitive and appreciate women better, but being a man or a father, I think it would be hard to give your son a doll or raise them in a non-traditional way.

      1. Not to mention the fact that individuals who stray from the norm in their socialization are more easily rejected by society. Although promoting a non binary approach to parenting has its pros and cons I think its very dependent on the situation. You might raise a more emotionally expressive and free-thinking child but on the other hand allowing for too much deviance may present itself with issues like your kid being bullied for being different.

      2. There is no real definition of family because family can be whoever you make it. It does indeed play a large role in how someone brings up a child to understand whats around them. Tho the norm would be to give your son a car and daughter a doll and not the other way around for worries that your kids may be looked at as different and stand out from the rest. I feel that it should be more open minded to the way we bring up our children and let them choose how they want to live and be.

    2. Yes, definitely agree, pros and cons to both sides, but I think the important part is that I am open to the non-traditional way of raising a child. But at the same time I’m the kind of guy that will teach my kids all about self-defense so hopefully bullying won’t be an issue, but you never know. Doesn’t matter how we raise kids, there will be all kinds of issues that will go through and we as parents will be there for them for whatever they need.

      1. Plus traditions change through society over time. A non-traditional approach to parenting might expand more and more as it seems to be in modern society. I think with parents initiating a more accepting and open-minded view whether their kid is gay, trans or deviant from the norm in any way that will make way for a culture change. When those kids who were raised by accepting parents grow up and raise children of their own those kids will be even more accepting and there wont be the same hardships for minorities.

    3. Yes, true, our parents being a major source of how we see the world will play a big part in the type of person we grow up to be. The parents will either raise someone one who is like them or maybe in another case, the child will grow up and not agree with parents and grow up to be total opposite. But yes, it all starts with us, we can affect how are kids grow up and how they raise their kids, and so on.

  29. Family should include love and trust and support, and yes, like you said sometimes that isn’t present but that doesn’t mean you can’t call a real family. I’ve known a lot of families that unfortunately don’t provide any kind of love and support. It is very sad but they are still family, maybe its me coming from a Hispanic family, one thing you never do is turn your back on the family no matter what is going on. We all would like to live in a perfect world but this isn’t a perfect world, and sometimes we have to play the cards we are dealt.

  30. I agree, family definitely does not have to mean “blood related”. You could have best friends or neighbors that you consider family, they might even feel more like family to you than your actual relatives. It is all about who is there for you during your highs and lows and who is there to unconditionally love and accept you for who you are and with whatever you do. People even consider their teammates family, playing sports with people will bring you all very close and build a bond like no other because only you all know the blood, sweat, and tears you all conquered to get where you are. Also, I agree that adoptive parents are family because they picked you up and took you in to be with them and by doing that they chose to love and support you forever. The way you were raised definitely helps you define what family is, whether your parents were always supportive and taking care or you or if they were abusive and distant. Each culture has their own way of defining family and time periods have changed how a typical household family is supposed to work. Back then it was the husband goes to work and the wife stays home and cleans and takes care of the children and her husband. Now, things are much different because more women work now and they do not bow-down to their husbands and take their shoes off for them after a long day at work.

    1. I think the biggest factor that makes someone family is them taking an active part in your development as a person through your childhood. For example, a sibling who someone never saw growing up may be related by blood but they never played an active role in your life and therefore don’t fulfill their roll to an extent. I think its great that times are changing and women are given more options than the past decades in their role in a family and I hope this improves even more with time.

      1. I agree, times are changing the the definition of family is no longer just bloodline because sometimes your own family doesn’t feel like a family at all. Not having someone in your life even tho there related to you doesn’t mean they have to be your family if you don’t view them as such for personal reasons. I also hope that the role of women changes over time and we already have seen it happen in the last 90 years and i’m interested to see what’s next for women and the definition of what family can and will become.

      2. That is true, family is mostly who is there for you throughout life, watching you grow and helping you through obstacles. Family members who were absent during your childhood or adult life may not be considered family because they are not there sticking by you on your journey through life. And yes, women are now working and helping to support the family as well as the husband and they are slowly becoming more equal to each other.

    2. I think that if you have a friend that you have known since you were little that is when you would consider them family. If you just meet a friend and have only known them a year, then that to me would just be a friend not family. To me family are the people you grow up with not who you think would be a good addition to your family. I do agree with you that people on sports teams can be considered family because of all they go through together.

      1. Yes I agree with you that the longer you know someone, the more they could be considered “family”. The people you grew up with and were always there for you growing up, even if you are not blood related could definitely be considered family. It is all about who is there for you through your highs and lows and to be a shoulder to cry on.

  31. This entry is very well written! I completely agree with the word family– it can be used with people who are not blood related to you. Growing up in a corrupt family, I can relate to this article and I see and feel how it holds true. People that I know that do not have a close, caring, and loving family seek that affection elsewhere through friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend. And in some cases, the people that the get the affection from are better “family” than their blood family. I also like how this article does not use absolutes and does not generalize.

    1. I agree with you that people who do come from families that don’t have a lot of love look for affection elsewhere. Also I think that people who do grow up in unloving homes also look for validation from the people that they are looking to for affection because they don’t get that validation at home. I also agree with you that this article was very well written and that the use of the word family can be used in the general sense.

  32. This entry is very well written! I completely agree with the word family– it can be used with people who are not blood related to you. Growing up in a corrupt family, I can relate to this article and I see and feel how it holds true. People that I know that do not have a close, caring, and loving family seek that affection elsewhere through friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend. And in some cases, the people that the get the affection from are better “family” than their blood family. I also like how this article does not use absolutes and doesn’t generalize.

  33. I agree, family isn’t always those who are related to you by blood. Family to me is about who you feel safe and comfortable and would those who would do just as much for you as you would for them physically and emotionally. Personally, coming from a family whose parents always fought it made me grow a negative idea over my dad. If he wasn’t my dad, I don’t think I would talk to him. Family is who supports you and helps you become a better person and advises you when you need help. Family friends also can become family, I know this relates to myself because my family invites one of my close friends to family events and everyone likes them and it feels comfortable. On the other hand, seeing the whole wife does cooking and cleaning portion meanwhile the husband goes out and works is kinda commonly seen in Hispanic families, not all. Whatever works for each family is fine.

  34. Family is not who your blood family is it can also be about who you are around with. friends, significant others can also be seen as family and who will do anything for you when you need them too. The entry is right when over the years the definition of family has changed from the 1950s to today. Family can mean a great number of things and it changes in the eyes of everyone and it always will depending on the person and there situation.

  35. I agree that everyone has their own definition of family. For me Family is both blood related and non- blood related. I have one close friend that I have known since we were around 5 years old and even though she is not related to me I consider her to be my sister in some ways. Also I call one of my mom’s Friend an aunt because even though she is not related by blood she is part of my family. Family is something that everyone has their own idea about and everyone should have a family whether they are blood related or not. Family is who teaches us, cares for us and people we teach as well. I think family is one of the most important things in the world.

  36. This article speaks to me because my friends are my family, just as much as my parents and siblings. I was lucky enough to get love, support, and a home from my family. This doesn’t mean I don’t consider my friends my family. Family truly is who is there for you through the thick and thin. Family is defined by who you are as a person. You can have a two people who you consider family and get just as much love as a person who has 50 members in their family.

    1. I agree that your family is who is with you through the hard times and the good times. Like you, I also grew up in a house full of support and love. Even if I think of someone as a friend it doesn’t mean I think of them as just a friend they might be considered family to me. For me someone is considered family when they are there for you, trust you, and can go through the good and bad times together.

    2. I can relate to you because I was lucky enough to grow up in a very close, loving, supportive family as well and also have close friends who I consider family too. Family is defined by who you are as a person and by the way your “family experience” was growing up in either a close-knit family or a distant, colder family. Also you are right when you say there could be anywhere from two people you consider family up to fifty, it is all about who is there with you for your entire journey through life.

  37. Family can include your real family or your friends and I consider my friends my family because they are always there for me like my family is. My friends are always supportive and there for me when I need them. Yeah friends fight but its like adding an extra sibling to your real family. Like you said at the end of your article “In the end, family is about love and trust, support and forgiveness. If what one calls “family” does not provide those things, then it is not a real family.” If your not getting the love and support from your family that you need, that don’t consider them “family”

    1. I agree completely with you. Close friends can definitely be considered family if they are always there for you through your ups and downs like a true family member would be. If they love and support you and want the best for you then they can definitely be considered family, it does not matter if they are not blood. Some people do not even consider some of their blood related relatives to be “family”.

    2. I agree with you that there’s a difference between just family that’s related by blood and the different definition of a “real family”. Like stated a real family member needs to offer things such as love trust support and forgiveness. I think society has changed in a way that we can communicate, keep in touch and travel to those people who who we consider our family. I think now more than ever people can be part of communities and get support even if their real family offers them a problematic environment.

  38. I consider my blood family my family well some more than others. Even outside of my blood family I consider my best friend my family I also consider her blood family my family as well. Describing what family was back then was just someone’s blood related folks, but now family can be anybody who is not blood related. This is really amazing because not everyone in my family is family material. Back then it was so unbelievable that only the women had to be the glue of the family. The women back then also had to cater to the man which is not okay because families is about everybody pitching in to be the best they can be. Thankfully a lot has changed since then.

    1. I also consider my friend’s blood related family my family. They are always so nice to me and care about me that I think of them as my own family. I agree with you that it is strange how the idea of family has changed over time. I think family means a lot more now because not everyone has a good family and when they find a good family they try to cherish it as much as possible. Family is something that no one should take for granted whether blood related of not because in the end they are the ones who are going to be there for you.

  39. I agree with what the article is saying your family will always be the ones who raised you and brought you to this world. I have lots of best friends but my brother will always be first. I guess I was fortunate to grow up in a family where I was treated well and we all got along. I understand why people might not consider there true family “family.”

  40. I agree with everything this author has stated. In my personal experience, I have not considered some of the people I am related to by blood party of my “family”. When I was young there was a lot of physical and verbal abuse towards my dad, my sister and I think after several years I started to not include myself in this specific “family”. I actually consider the family who lives across the street from me to be more of a family and support system when compared to my own. I enjoy their company, I feel safe and I even like to help with chores just to see smiles on their faces. There have been many times where I would tell the mother, Karen, things about what happened at school or what I’m upset about or even how cold my ears are! I feel like I can tell her anything and not get judged for saying what’s on my mind. That’s how a family should be, supportive, loving and willing to listen.

  41. I still believe that even if your biological family treats you bad or leaves you, they’re still family no matter what. Because you will always be connected. You have their bloodline. My father used to beat me up everytime he was drunk and then he left us and had his own family. Never helped us or communicated, but since he is my biological father, he will always be family to me and I have to respect that even if I have grudges held against him. I don’t disagree that friends can be family because I have a lot of friends that I consider family, some I don’t even say they’re my friends but rather, they’re my cousins. But bloodline family will always be family no matter what you do.

  42. I totally agree with you Shakira, The family is the basis of everything, and in my concept our friends and friends also create strong bases and strong connections in us, which is why I agree with you, because I also had a family that is not very functional, it is a family a Little abnormal in many ways and thanks to my friends I have had those who listen to me in my moments of sadness. My friends are also my family, because the family is not only linked by DNA, the family is family when it creates those strong bases in us but sometimes it is not so, that is why we seek refuge in our friends and these friends can reach Sr as special for us as a relative.

  43. Just because you have the same blood pumping through your veins doesn’t truly make you family. My biological father was never around. I only met him 2 or 3 times in my entire life. Yea, we have the same blood and same nose, I do not consider my father. My grandfather, on the other hand, is someone I can call my father. He was there to take care of me when my mom would work two jobs. He was the man who taught me right from wrong. There is no ideal family. Every family has their flaws, secrets, and histories. I have cousins who literally live 2 blocks from me but I only hear from them twice a year which is messed up. But at the end of the day, it’s the ones who are there for you who are family. Family is not bound by blood, but by kinship, love, and respect.

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