When studying families we must look at the first family
forms and we need to see that they are very different from what we are now. The earliest form of families that
researchers have studied are the Hunter-Gatherers. These hunter-gatherer groups consisted of hordes who lived together
to support one another with ties on consanguinity. Hunting and gathering was the major means subsistence for our
ancestors. Driven by a daily quest for food, both men and women worked full time in search of it (Mandell,
1995). As we can see, our family systems normally do not hunt and gather our food but use consumerism to support
ourselves. These family forms followed consanguinity lines and had very informal rules and laws.
After hunter-gatherer family forms began to change a new
type came into effect when animals were domesticated and plants were grown to produce food (Diamond,1999). Agricultural
families began to grow food and produce animals to feed themselves and their families and the families becamse bigger in order
to allow more help to harvest. Monogamy became the most preferred arrangement for women and they wanted to marry, but
men however wanted to have polygamous relationships because he could now support more than one spouse (Maslen,2005).
As we can see through studies this was the start of becoming a more modern family system. Marriage was starting to play
an important part in the family system, but we have monogamous marriages in our canadian society unlike the agricultural families.
Although in different countries around the world there are still agricultural familes and men still have polygamous relationships
At this point in time the economy was struggling and families
had to change because of this factor. In this time period children didn't have the luxury of going to school and enjoying
their childhood because they were to go out in the job force and earn money for the family (Maslen, 2004). When couples
were married in this time period it wasn't fully based on love, marriage became and economic necessity so that both of the
spouses would work and support themselves and the family (Maslen,2004).
Urban Industrial Family
This time for families improved a great deal and the modern
and contemporary family we are accustomed to now was starting to form. The main points of this time period was that
women now did not have to work and could stay home and be the "homemakers". Things in this time period also changed
for children too, they now were not to work and had to go to school untill the age of 16. We can see that in this time
period the family was beginning to be a structure that many people envisioned and dreamed of. Mandell (1995) states
that " For many Canadians in the nineteenth century, the vision of a family was their ideal, but not necessarily their reality".
We can see that the family has changed a great deal from the original Hunter-Gatherer groups and the definition of a family
will continue to change.