“The concept of traditional marriage and family are endangered, and the way of life as we know it in the Caribbean will soon be extinction. New forms of marriage and family structure are becoming the norm.” These two statements may initially shock the reader, but upon further examination, one uncovers the layers of stereotyping and fear that go into it. The family is considered to be the foundation of society. Traditionally, that family unit has meant a father, a mother, and one or more children living in the same household. The father and mother are married to each other, have their children and live happily ever after. The author of this statement is afraid that same sex marriages and cohabitation outside the confines of marriage will damage the traditional family unit and may even make it extinct.
The functionalist’s perspective on family is that children are socialized, and the family unit stays intact. The symbolic interactionist has a script for what a traditional family looks like, anything that deviates from that script is considered abnormal. The conflict theory perspective on family looks at how family reinforces stereotypes with regards to gender and class. All three of these views intersect at some point while they agree that the family unit is the basis for how a society functions.
The family of orientation refers to the family into which a person is born. For example, Jima and Jane get married and have a child they name Jamie. Therefore, Jamie’s family of orientation is the one that is created by Jim and Jane. Jamie grows up and marries Michael. They have three children who are termed to be their family of procreation. In other words, this is the family that is created either by birth or adoption. These family structures influence society through their intergenerational rules and expectations for what is considered normal.