What is a family?
a. Types of families
i. Nuclear Family
Nuclear family is parents and their children, it is father, mother, and children. There is an increase of monogamous families or nuclear because of urbanization as rural youth come to towns in search of white-collar jobs. Migration to cities by people of different tribes has led to pluralism. Education, high cost of living have led to the death of the African culture, which required men and women to marry many partners to produce many children to defend their tribe.
Advantages of nuclear families are many.
One, the man is able to give undivided attention to one wife and children. Two, there is sharing of mutual love, and peace in the home. Three it is economical to manage one family. Four there is little competition for attention, less strife, quarrels and stress. Five, it is easier to monitor the behaviour of a few children.
ii. Polygamous family
Polygamous family consist of Father, mothers, children. These type of family have disadvantages in modern Kenya. Modern society is a cash economy. Thus if a man has many wives and children, they may lack basic necessities like food, shelter, education and clothes.
iii. Single parent family
Single parent family has one parent, and children. Single — parent families are created by several circumstances. One is by parents separating. Separation of parents is due to several reasons. These are for example,
iv. Extended family
Extended family — father, mother, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins. This is the common family type in traditional African communities.
v. Children led family
Children led family. This happens when parents die and the 1st born takes care of brothers and sisters including cousins.
vi. Grandparent headed family
Grandparent headed family. The HIV/AIDs epidemic has introduced this type of family where grandparents take care of their grandchildren due to the death of both parents especially the mother due to HIV / AIDS disease. This scourge has made many children orphans. In other cases parents go for further studies abroad and leave their children with their parents.
b. Traditional African family values and practices
The African family had well-stated and practiced values There were
Children were taken through a rigorous physical curriculum of games such as wrestling, swimming and running to develop their physical strength, Children’s bodies were nourished thoroughly. They were served good and nutritious food, which improved their muscle strength.
Children were taught social skills. They learnt how to behave towards adults, peers and grandparents. They developed social skills since parents allowed them to socialize and interact with other children, grandparents and the community. This made them grow socially, emotionally and psychologically. They had a curriculum for teaching and training in traditional African religious values, family matters, moral and social values.
This teaching of children started from an early age. The teaching method used was observation and practice. Parents taught by being good role models. They were expected to model desired values and family practices. Children were taught how to relate with one another as brothers and sisters. Parents were to show tolerance to children.
These values show that African parents understood their parental roles and responsibilities. These values were sometimes; exploited by the irresponsible family members or specific individuals. This exploitation encouraged dependency, leading to conflicts, competition, hatred, and jealousy.
Christian parents are expected to train their children to know God, be self -disciplined, and follow the Christian way of living. Another duty is to provide basic needs to their children.
Christian understanding of the family
Problems related to family life today
Families are faced with numerous problems such as:-
Traditional African approaches to problems related to family life today
Christian’s approaches to problems related to family life today
Atika School Team