Each human being originates from a particular family. Even the orphans and street children originated from families. For the orphans it is just that they lost their parents along the way. For the street children some were dumped and others run away from their families either due to oppression or their ill-mannered behaviors.
Family is one of most important institution in life of a human being. It plays a pivotal role in primary socialization which a human being has to undergo to be able to interact with others. Socialization is the process of learning how to live in a way acceptable in one’s own society. Family being an important unit in the society has to socialize the children.
When a child is born to a family, some will consider the child as a blessing, others as a gift and still to others as a burden quoting the current economic situations. Those families that consider the child as a blessing or a gift are largely responsible for the emerging identity, self-esteem and personality of the child.
Families also provide the first social placement of the child. They bestow social class on their children along with race, ethnicity, community and religion. For clarity let us look at examples of some famous personalities. The current president of the republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta gained his social class, self-esteem and power from his family. His father being the 1st president of Kenya and a rich man too placed him a better place in politics. Barack Obama will always be considered as a black American president because his father hailed from the people of lakeside in Kenya. This placed him in a certain race of black Americans. Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem according to the bible found himself in the midst of Jews who practiced Judaism and that explains the reason why he received a lot of opposition for teaching a doctrine that was in contrary to his family’s religion. William Ruto is considered as a hustler due to his social economic background.
The first attitudes and values that one embraces as a child are from the family, parents as well as siblings. Ben Carson in his book “Think Big” writes of how his attitude towards education changed after her mother spoke to her and how his brother responded to her mother’s advice. Attitudes related to gender are not an exception. A child is likely to be gender biased if the family he/she is raised in has some forms of gender discrimination. When this biasement is based on roles and responsibilities the child will grow up with the perception that some roles are for women and others for men.
The collapse of the family and of its socialization roles has popularly been expressed in the media. Families are leaving the role of socialization to the school and house helps. Sociological studies carried out in American families show that the family is still the critical agent and oversees the socialization process. This finding is illustrated by research showing that when parents get involved with their children, they can minimize the emotional stress children experience when moving to a new community.
East or west, home is the best. Socialization experienced in the family is never erased according to that saying. Reproduction is the most fundamental lesson learned, the future of the society is in the hands of the family. Families always ensure that dying members of society will be replaced in an orderly fashion so there is a new generation to carry on. In most societies, the family of procreation is established at marriage and is culturally approved sexual union that legitimizes child bearing.
Homosexuality, lesbianism, gaysm, incest, rape, adultery and fornication will continue to haunt the society unless the family unit is strengthened. Regulation of sexual behavior was traditionally left at the control of the family members. All societies had restricted sexual relation and reproduction among certain family members. The incest taboo was a powerful norm culturally. Children were taught on how to relate with different sex and taught that sex was only between a man and a woman. Sex was only to take place after marriage.
Families in those days offered protection, affection and companionship. The family was responsible for providing the economic resources to support its members during all events and inevitable crises. Nowadays it is easier to sleep hungry with the family members around. It is easier to commit suicide which remains with unknown cause still with the family members around.
Traditionally, families usually assigned roles to the father or the husband to maintain the physical integrity of the family by providing food and shelter and linking the family to the outside world. With many families going with the new trend of single mothers, children remain unprotected and thus are at risk to outside attack. Children also remain without link to the outside world and thus you will find children tarmacking in search of jobs after school. The mother/wife was expected to retain the expressive role and expected to cement relationships and emotional support. Children nowadays are contracting stress related disease such as depression, ulcers, insanity among others due to lack of somebody to express their problems to. Siblings fighting and homicide cases are nowadays common due to lack of somebody to cement relationships in the family.
The roles that the family played have being left to other institutions like religion, school and the government. Nowadays the role of emotional support and values development has being left at the hands of religious leaders. The school has taken the roles of teaching the children about sexuality and reproduction in science subjects. The government is left with the roles of controlling and settling disputes in the family. For instance the Kenyan parliament has proposed the marriage bill which is waiting an assent from the president to become a law. The bill deals with issues of polygamy, inheritance, and conjugal rights. Traditionally this was the role of the elders and members of the family. The homosexuality bill has also being an issue in Uganda. Traditionally this was left to grandparents to teach their children on sexual orientation.
In conclusion, unless the family mostly the parents take their roles in socializing the young ones we are at risk as a nation to moral decadence. Social evils will continue to increase in the society if family roles are taken seriously.