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

There is [the] great importance of communication and equality in families, in order to avoid role strain." The term "nuclear family" is commonly used, especially in the United States of America, to refer to conjugal 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.

Although early western cultural anthropologists and sociologists considered family and kinship to be universally associated with relations by "blood" (based on ideas common in their own cultures) later research has shown that many societies instead understand family through ideas of living together, the sharing of food (e.g. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of family forms in stratified (especially capitalist) societies.

The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history.

As the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists generally classify most family organizations as matrifocal (a mother and her children); conjugal (a wife, her husband, and children, also called the nuclear family); avuncular (for example, a grandparent, a brother, his sister, and her children); or extended (parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family).

Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo.

According to the work of scholars Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was "fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation".

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

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