There are certain functions which can be fulfilled by a family only. These functions are known as primary functions of a family.
The secondary functions of an individual can be fulfilled even by other institutions in the society such as schools and colleges, and other societal institutions.
Functions of a Family
1. Stable Satisfaction of Sexual Needs:
Sexual urge is common among all the individuals alike and this basic urge can only be fulfilled by a family, a family in which a husband and a wife stays together as partners for life. Both the husband and the wife can only satisfy their sexual needs in the family. Only a family provides appropriate provision for the fulfillment of sexual needs of an individual through the sacred institution of marriage.
2. Procreation or Reproduction:
Apart from satisfying the sexual needs procreation or reproduction is another basic function of a family. Reproduction is essential for two basic reasons; to carry the legacy of the family and for the continuation of the human race as a whole. Just like the family provides the legitimate base for the sacred institution of marriage, similarly, it is the family that provides a legitimate ground for reproduction or procreation.
3. Protecting and Taking Care of the Young:
It is the family and the family alone which is responsible for taking care of the children when they are young. When a child is born in a family, he or she is helpless and is completely dependent on family care, so much so that if the child is not taken care of, the basic need of food especially, he or she might even die. Even after the child grows up and reaches adolescence, it is essential for the family to take care of the individual because that individual might adopt unfair means such as smoking, drinking and even unfair means to earn money. If proper care is taken at least till the child turns into an individual, the future of a child definitely turns out to be bright. Even after the individual attains adulthood, they should be provided guidance by the elders because the elders are far more experienced.
4. Provision of the Basic Necessities of Life; Food, Clothing and Shelter:
It is essential for a family to fulfil the three basic needs of an individual namely food, clothing and shelter. It is only in the family that a husband and a wife along with their children reside peacefully and thus provide an excellent ambience for the growth and development of an individual. As a matter of fact, a family cannot be named as a proper family if it fails to fulfil these basic necessities.
5. Proper Interaction with the Society:
A family cannot acquire a proper social status if it fails to interact properly with other members of the society. Man is a social being and it is impossible for any individual to alienate from the society he or she lives in.