Family Matters – How To Define Loved Ones In The Modern Age

by - Sunday, August 04, 2013

Trying to define what exactly a family is can be challenging. Some might argue that a family consists of parents and their children, making it a nuclear entity that lives together in one home. Others paint family as a broader picture including anyone related to you, which means that your family might include dozens of cousins, great-nephews and everything in between. Another popular school of thought is that a family is who claims you. This might be a relative, but it might also be a close friend who you can relate to better than your own siblings. Discover what it means to be a family by considering each of the scenarios below.

Families of Origin

One of the most basic explanations of what a family is starts with birth. In a clearly defined way, the parents who are responsible for your genetic material will always be considered family. You may grow up not to like your parents, or you may never even meet your biological family. Either way, their connection to you will always be present. For many, the family of their origin remains their tight familial unit for all time, but it is not the only option. Friends, lovers and adopted parents can all take over the role of family, depending on the situation.


As a baby, a child and even a teenager, you cannot properly care for yourself. You need adults to guide you, educators to teach you and guardians to feed and clothe you. Whoever takes over this role in your life will often be considered a member of your family whether they are biologically related to you or not. Children can be raised by adoptive parents, grandparents or even by older siblings. In some cases, you might identify with a caring neighbour or a teacher who took a special interest in your education. There is no question that receiving care from someone makes them a part of your family.

Genetic Ties

The common adage that blood is thicker than water may not be believed by everyone, but there is no question that even your extended relatives are often a part of your family. You might rarely see an aunt or a cousin, but you know that they would always be there for you in a time of need. Similarly, you might drop everything to care for an ailing grandparent, even if you typically only see them once or twice a year. Even if you don't think of relatives as particularly close friends, they are linked to you in a very real way.

Lovers and Spouses

Perhaps the most obvious non-genetic family member for many people is their partner, lover or spouse. The person you choose to spend your life with will often quickly become the most important person to you, and marriage or a serious relationship starts a new nuclear family of sorts. There is no question that romantic love, even that which is short-lived, created a bond that connects you to a person in a strong way.

Friends You Choose and Those Who Choose You

As adults, it is important to realise that the idea of family becomes those who you choose and those who choose you. You might spend far more time with your best friend than with your sister, for example. The relationships you cultivate over time have the potential to become unbreakable bonds, and they tie you with your friends just as if you were family. You might want to care for them in the same way you would a sibling or parent, and they can become a part of who you are.

No matter who your family consists of, you will want to provide for them and show them your love whenever possible. By securing life insurance quotes online, you might decide to financially care for them in even the worst circumstances. Whether your best friend, your adoptive parents, your children or your cousins, your family is always who you want to protect and care for.

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