There are many sociologists who have many different views on the family and the functions that they require. For example, George Murdock and Talcott Parsons who are functionalists. The warm bath theory and feminists.
A famous sociologist who looked at the family is Murdock; he thought that the nuclear family was universal. He came to believe that the family had four main functions; economic – the family pool their resources and share financial responsibility, sexual – a male and female relationship that is socially accepted within society, reproduction – spouses reproduce and have children, educational – the family learns the shared norms and values of society. This theory however has its critics, it is outdated and other structures within society, such as, banks, benefits, schools and adoption can take over to help the family perform its functions.
Another functionalist is Parsons, he believed that families were to fulfil two basic irreducible functions; the primary socialisation of children – this was important to Parsons because he thought that everyone should know the shared norms and values of society and a child begins to learn at a very young age at home. Without this there would be no consensus and without this a social life would not be possible as people would not know how to act and greet people in a respectable way. The second function is the stabilisation of adult personalities – unstable personalities can threaten the smooth-running and stability of society. Parsons believed that having a family can help support the adults and help them stay grounded.