2. Emotional Basis: The family is grounded in emotions and sentiments. It is based on our impulses of mating, procreation, maternal devotion, fraternal love and parental care. It is built upon sentiments of love, affection, sympathy, co-operation and friendship. 3. Limited Size: The family is smaller in size. As a primary group its size is necessarily limited. It seems to be the smallest social unit.
The biological conditions have also contributed to its small size. 4. Formative Influence: The family is the earliest social environment which surrounds, trains and educates the child. It shapes the personality and moulds the character of its members. It emotionally conditions the child. It is the ‘nursery of human nature’ and the ‘breeding ground of our mores and the nurse of our loyalties’. 5. Nuclear Position in the Social Structure: The family is the nucleus of all other social organisations.
The whole social structure is built of family units. It influences the whole life of society. 6. Responsibility of the Members: The member of the family has certain responsibilities, duties and obligations. The smooth running of family depends on how best the members discharge their responsibilities in co-ordination with the other individuals of the family. As MacIver points out, “In times of crisis men may work and fight and die for their country, but they toil for their families all their lives”. 7.
Social Regulation: The family is peculiarly guarded both by social taboos and by legal regulations. The society takes precaution to safeguard this organisation from any possible breakdown: by divorce, desertion or separation. 8. The Permanent and Temporary Nature of the Family: The family as an institution is permanent. Since it is based on the organic and emotional nature of man, it continues to exist.
But family as an association may be temporary in character. These characteristics indeed reveal the sociological significance of the family.