Unit 5.1

The family unit: Concept and structure


Concept and Types of Family Unit

  • Single-parent Families: A single parent is an individual. He/she takes on most of or all of the day-to-day responsibilities for raising a child. Death of one parent, divorce and a break up are reasons for single parenting.
  • Common-law Couples: Common-law couples are considered valid by both partners, but it is not officially recorded. They live together and raise their children together, but they are not deemed as being married in official records.
  • Married Couples: Marriage is a socially recognized union or legal contract between people. Married couples live together and raise their children together. They have more rights than common-law couples.
  • Same-sex is a marriage where both parents are of the same gender. Those marriages are legal in the United Kingdom.
  • Families of Two/Three Generations: Two or more generation families consist of grandparents, children and grandchildren living under the same roof together.

Types of Links which Unite Couples

  • In the United Kingdom, couples marry by having a wedding ceremony. It can be a religious or civil ceremony.
  • Sometimes couples share a common domestic lifestyle, but they are unmarried, a relationship like that is called a domestic partnership.
  • There are also common-law marriages which are marriages that are considered valid by both partners, but they are not officially recorded.

Concept of in-laws

In-laws are people who are related to you by marriage but not by blood. For example parent of your husband or wife or a member of his or her family.

  • A parent-in-law is a parent of your husband or wife.
  • A sibling-in-law is the sibling of a person’s spouse or the spouse of a person’s sibling.
  • A son-in-law is the husband of a person’s daughter.
  • A daughter-in-law is the wife of a person’s son.


  • Most important parent responsibilities in England and Wales are responsibilities to:
    • Provide a home for the child.
    • Protect and maintain the child.
  • Parents are also responsible for:
    • Disciplining the child.
    • Choosing and providing for the child’s education.
    • Agreeing to the child’s medical treatment.
    • Naming the child and agreeing to any change of name.
    • Looking after the child’s property.
  • In Scotland, parents have parental responsibilities to:
    • Protect and promote the child’s health, development and welfare.
    • Provide, in a manner appropriate to the stage of development of the child: direction and guidance.
    • Act as the child’s legal representative
    • If the child is not living with the parent, parents should maintain personal relations and direct contact with the child regularly.
  • Parents must ensure that their child is supported financially, whether they have parental responsibility or not.
  • Women got more involved in the labour market but still take care of home and family. This trend is slowly changing as new families try to divide household work between both men and women.
  • A mother has parental responsibility for the child from birth. Father has it if he is married to the child’s mother or is listed on the birth certificate.
  • You can apply for parental responsibility if you do not have one over a kid.
  • Same-sex partners both can receive parental responsibility.


Open TextBooks are collaborative projects, with people from all over the world bringing their skills and interests to join in the compilation and dissemination of knowledge to everyone and everywhere.

Become an Ambassador and write your textbooks.

Online Teaching

Become a Books4Languages Online tutor & teacher.

More information here about how to be a tutor.



The Books4Languages is a collaborative projects, with people from all over the world bringing their skills and interests to join in the compilation and dissemination of knowledge to everyone, everywhere.