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Sociologists distinguish between conjugal families (relatively independent of the kindred of the parents and of other families in general) and nuclear families (which maintain relatively close ties with their kindred).

"Times have changed; it is more acceptable and encouraged for mothers to work and fathers to spend more time at home with the children.

The way roles are balanced between the parents will help children grow and learn valuable life lessons.

The term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family.

traditional family refers to "a middleclass family with a bread-winning father and a stay-at-home mother, married to each other and raising their biological children," and nontraditional to exceptions from this rule.

The children's mother is not necessarily the wife of one of the children's fathers." These types refer to ideal or normative structures found in particular societies.

Any society will exhibit some variation in the actual composition and conception of families.

Olivia Harris states this confusion is not accidental, but indicative of the familial ideology of capitalist, western countries that pass social legislation that insists members of a nuclear family should live together, and that those not so related should not live together; despite the ideological and legal pressures, a large percentage of families do not conform to the ideal nuclear family type.

The different types of families occur in a wide variety of settings, and their specific functions and meanings depend largely on their relationship to other social institutions.

The term differentiates between the "family of origin" (the biological family or that in which people are raised) and those that actively assume that ideal role.

The family of choice may or may not include some or all of the members of the family of origin.

Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.

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