Functions of the family
The main functions of the family, according to I. V. Grebennikov (Grebennikov I. V., 1991), are:
reproductive (reproduction of life, that is, the birth of children, the continuation of the human race);
economic (social production of means of life, restoration of the forces spent on production of their adult members, management of their economy, availability of their budget, organization of consumer activities);
educational (the formation of the child’s personality, the systematic educational impact of the family team on each of its members throughout their lives, the constant influence of children on parents and other adult family members);
communication (mediation of the family in the contact of its members with the media, literature and art, the influence of the family on the diverse relationships of its members with the natural environment and the nature of its perception, the organization of intra-family communication, leisure and recreation).
M. S. Matskovsky (1989) complements the main functions of the modern family with the following: household, social status, emotional, sexual, primary social control, and spiritual communication.
Some authors distinguish specific and non-specific functions of the family (Kharchev A. G., 1968; Antonova. I., Medkov V. M., 1996; Navaitis G., 1999). According to A. G. Kharchev, the specific functions of the family follow from the essence of the family and reflect its features as a social phenomenon, while non-specific functions are those to which the family was forced or adapted in certain historical circumstances.
According to the author, the specific functions of the family, which include birth (reproductive function), maintenance of children (existential function) and their upbringing (socialization function), remain with all changes in society, although the nature of the relationship between the family and society may change in the course of history.
Non-specific functions of the family related to the accumulation and transfer of property, status, organization of production and consumption, recreation and leisure, with care for the health and well-being of family members, with the creation of a microclimate that helps to relieve stress and self-preservation. All these functions reflect the historical nature of the relationship between the family and society, reveal a historically transient picture of how exactly the birth, maintenance and upbringing of children in the family occurs (Antonov A. I., Medkov V. M., 1996).
In some historical periods, the family performs all or almost all of the above-mentioned functions; in other periods, some of these functions are assumed by the state.
G. Navaitis highlights complexity as the most important feature of family functions. Every need that is met by the family can be met without it, but only the family can satisfy them in a complex that, if the family is preserved, cannot be divided or distributed among other people. This understanding of the functions of the family, according to the author, makes it possible to reasonably separate the family from other small groups similar to it in some respects (for example, couples who maintain constant sexual relations) (Navaitis G., 1999). The same author, based on family functions, lists several groups of needs that are met by the family: needs related to fatherhood and motherhood, needs related to the creation and maintenance of certain material conditions of family life, and needs for physical and mental intimacy (ibid., p. 6-7).