From earliest times some form of family organization has existed, although no one really knows how the first family started. Archeologists have found out that men, women, and children lived together in small groups in the ancient caves. It is not certain that the groups separated at the first into the father, mother, and children units that we think of as family. However, the women probably cared for their own children. The family kept warm with fire and protected themselves against wild animals with simple weapons.
The most helpless creature on earth is the human baby. Most insects and other members of the lower forms of live can move around and get their own food as soon as. They are born or hatched. But the young of high forms of life—human babies, baby bears, and other animals—must be fed and protected. The father, human and animal, usually brings the food for the mother and protects the young against enemies. The mother is the most important, for she provides the milk for the baby. Thus the family is formed because it is necessary for the young and the adults to stay together.
People who are born into the same family are known as blood relatives. Relatives on the mother`s side are known as maternal relatives and those on the father`s as paternal relatives.
Grandparents are the mother and father of person`s parents. Great-grandparents are the parents of the grandparents. The parents` children are grandsons and granddaughters to their grandparents.
An aunt is the sister of a mother or father. An uncle is the brother of a mother or father. Although they are not blood relatives, the uncle`s wife is also called aunt and the aunt`s husband, uncle. A girl is a niece to her parent`s brothers and sisters, a boy is nephew.
A sister or brother of a grandparent is a great-aunt or great-uncle. A grand child is a great-niece or great- nephew to the grand parents` sisters and brothers. The children of brothers and sisters are cousins to each other.
Marriage brings a whole new set of relatives. They are called in-law. Relationship through marriage is known as affinity. A husband`s mother is a mother-in-low to the husband`s wife, who is her daughter-in-law. The husband brothers and sisters are brothers-in-law and sister in-law to the wife.
Children of various marriages become stepsons or stepdaughter to the new parent. The new parent is either a stepmother or stepfather.
Marriage between relatives is not common, especially in eastern countries such as Indonesia. Most governments, however, do not permit marriages between close blood relatives.
During the hundreds of thousands of years that family life has existed, there have been different forms of family organization among different peoples.
In some tribes the mother`s brother was head of the family. The father had little to with the children. The pharaohs. or kings, in ancient Egypt married their own sisters, In ancient time a man might have several wives. Among some tribes in Africa, a woman might have several husbands. The marriage of a man or woman to more than one mate called polygamy.
Modern life has changed the relationship of family to community. In days gone by, relatives could be expected to give help if there was trouble in family. Grandparents brothers, sisters, or cousins: would gather around to assist if someone was ill, was going to build a new house or faced some other kind of problem. Today however, families are smaller and relatives are likely to be living a greater distance away.
Many aspects of family life have changed from the time people lived in forests and caves. Nevertheless, the unit of father, mother and children continues as the most desirable way of living. Life has become most complicated, but thousands of years of experience have taught us new ways of solving problem. We have discovered new ways of understanding and have continued to find deep satisfaction in family life.