How Do You Define ‘Family’?

What is the glue that holds a family together? Is it biological relationships? Love and support? Sharing the same home?

Comments: 141

  1. In my opinion, family is having people you love surrounded by you when you need it. Family is always there for you. Family isn’t just your parents and siblings it also your friends. You have your made family, but you also have a family that you pick. Family can be friends. Family is a supporting group, and loving. Family is always there for you.

  2. There are many ways to look at the word family. There is family who you share DNA with, family by marriage, and family between order and genus in taxonomy. In my eyes, family is defined as love. Not just any love, but unconditional love. Unconditional love means that no matter what happens, (people change, people move away, you spend years apart, someone does something horrible, etc.), you will still love one another. For me, these people are my parents, siblings, dogs, and my teammates. I have spent the last ten years dancing with the same group of people. We have had many ups and downs, which is expected with a large group of 12 year old girls. To be honest, a lot of us would probably not be friends if we did not dance. Although we may not be the best of friends, we are all still connected. It is almost unsettling when you sacrifice for people you would not normally like. However, in my experience, you do not have to like someone to love them. To love someone means to respect them. Each of us have tremendous respect for one another. All of us try our best to understand one another and to appreciate the others values and opinions even if we disagree. Family will always be there to not just hear, but listen to what you have to say. Family will support you no matter what circumstances come in between you. They are the people you can always rely on. All in all, family is a group of people (or pets) that have unconditional love for one another.

  3. @Bella Wow, that is very touching... and also I can really relate to that and I agree with what you said in the beginning and how you defined family.

  4. In my opinion you don’t need blood ties to be family . Family are people you can count on to have your back and comfort you when you’re in need of help . I consider my track team to be my family . I see them every day six days a week . Being around people who go through the same thing you go through makes you guys closer. Loving someone with all your heart, and being there for them also makes you family.

  5. In my opinion family means having loving parents or guardians that take care of you, and also love you for who you are. You don’t need to have 2 boilogical parents or having biological siblings.

  6. In regards to Ms. Haug, I do believe that friendships can reach a point of importance similar to a romantic relationship. However, there is a reason that the two remain separate categories. Despite the main reason, we know that romantic relationships involve extreme emotions, both negative and positive. Those in a romantic relationship are vulnerable to misjudgment whereas those in a friendship, share fondness, but the difference is the divergence of interests between the couple. Those interests will then develop into goals that may or may not lead away from your friends. Which, in turn, can avoid the negative aspects of a romantic relationship like jealousy, competition, and dominance. As opposed to the long-term relationship where the two involved may develop interests or endeavors orbiting the significant other causing chaos among everyone involved. Having aspirations strictly related to a significant other is sufficient, except if you don’t plan to marry that person. This can be an onset for crippling societal pressure, and persistent expectations when there shouldn’t be any at all. In perspective, I think that those who have a ‘traditional’ family cannot formulate a proper response to those who don’t. Therefore, I believe it necessary to broaden the definition of ‘family’ when it relates to relationships outside of your immediate dwelling. We can no longer pretend that anything deviated from the norm is something that should be scalded, or redefined as something else.

  7. To me, family is a collective group of people that matters to you regardless of blood relation.

  8. Family is defined as someone you love. You don't have to be related to the person just for them to be family. I call my friends family all the time because it is like another word for love.

  9. I absolutely agree that society needs a more expansive definition of "family," because they aren't just stuck with you because they gave birth to you. The love is continuous between one another, no matter what happens. If your child suddenly decides to rob a store and gets arrested, you will still love him, it's unconditional. That's what family is and that's what it should be. Family should be shaped around what you need them to be for you. If you're upset, they should be your shoulder to lean on. If you're happy, they should be there to stretch the happiness out for as long as them. Family is love, and that love should stick until the world ends.

  10. I define family as a group of people you can talk to anything about and not get embarassed or sad or anything. You can just discuss anything with them and you spend most of the day with them, or live with them.

  11. The confines of the word family have changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Everyone has a different meaning for the word as everyone has different families, but ‘normalcy’ is not one of the deafening factors. Haug writes in her article the statistics of two-parent households have dropped from 87 percent to 69 percent since 1960. With those stats, it is nearly impossible to say everyone thinks a family has to be blood-related. The perception of a family should be based on one thing. Love. Whether that be friendship or romantically, love is the glue that holds a family together. Haug agrees to say “Family should be, above all else, about love.” In my opinion, a family is the people you rely on and share compassion for and with. If everyone based family upon the ‘normal standards’, it would exclude so many differentiated families and people in flexible situations, such as Noa Kaufhold. A family should not be confined by standards it should be defined by the people you have in it.

  12. Family is defined as the people you love. You don't have to be related for them to be family. I call my friends family all the time because it is like another word for love. I define family as a group of people you can talk to about anything and not get embarrassed or sad. You can just discuss anything with them and you spend most of the day with them, or live with them.

  13. I think that family is more about love than the link of blood. There isn't a unique representation of families anymore in our society. Homosexuality and single parenthood is now more widespread, and even mainstream. It's also common to see recomposed families today. It's no longer suprising to see children with only one parent or with a lot of half brothers and sisters or step siblings. For example, my cousin lives alone with his mother and everything is fine. As long as they are happy, the composition of the family is not an issue. Everybody in the house will love and hate each other the same way as if they were linked by blood.

  14. I would say that family would be anyone that is emotionally/socially close to a person. That includes the immediate family, relatives, and friends. Romantic relationships can also be considered family after the wedding, as long as the two individuals enjoy the presence of each other. Thus, in my life, I consider my parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives, and my friends as my family. I entirely agree with the idea that friendships are just as important as romantic relationships. Even though a couple will most likely give more attention to each other, preserving other friendships are just as significant. For the fulfillment of life, I would say that having several strong relationships and many other friendships are key. The more friends, the merrier! Society would sometimes need to accept a more expansive definition of "family." Family is not limited to biological or legal ties; rather, it is the group of people that an individual would feel comfortable with, emotionally.

  15. People in society today view family in a variety of ways. Some see family in blood ties, while others believe that family is anyone you love. As I have been growing up, I have encountered many people that I have been closer to than my own siblings, directing me to believe that family are the people that you love. Just because you are not related to someone doesn’t mean that they can’t be your family. The ability to be able to trust someone and rely on them to be there for you should be enough to be able to call someone family. Me and my best friend Jacob Meaders have been friends for roughly nine years and I would easily be able to call him family because I trust him and I know I can rely on him. I think if people in society started to view others more openly and recognize them as family, then it would allow the world to be a better place.

  16. When you hear the word "family" you might think about living together with your biological parents and siblings. Our society has "they gave birth to me so they are my family" stuck in their head, but as our generation has expanded people view the word "family" different. In my opinion family is determined by the amount of love you share with each other. If you are always getting in arguments and dont talk to your OWN family members then that would be something I would consider not being a "true" family member. Claire Haug wrote, "Family should be, above all else, about love." This quote is showing that family should come before anything else in your life. Haug then writes, "But can anyone really say their experience of family was perfect?" My family imparticular is not one that is perfect. We sometimes come across having some sort of argument between my parents and I or even my siblings, but don't we all? In conclusion, family comes in all sorts of size, shapes, and meanings. We don't need to enclose our life to thinking family is just because of who gave birth to you but, who loves you.

  17. I think a familly is a sports team , I think it is a group who are helpful, people who love each other, who love hanging out together. I think is a clique . People who are same wavelength. A family is a legacy. Something we do not choose. Snap: Walabok_4

  18. Deciding exactly what a family can be is quite the enigma. It seems to be such a straightforward concept, yet it evades definition at every turn. Family is one of those things that almost everyone understands, but that no one can verbalize. Claire Huang’s article “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family Anyways,” perhaps offers the closest definition; ”Family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that.” Although this statement captures the cornerstone of what exactly defines family, and it paints an idealistic what we want for our families, conventional or otherwise, it fails to encompass the full meaning of the word. While everyone wants their family to be purely composed of love, there is copious amounts of internal conflict. Sibling rivalries, kids struggling for independence, and even bitter arguments. Family is flawed, and that is why it is so special, because even after all the distasteful things that family members may do to each other, they always find a way to come back together. This is not stating that family is a purely biological connection. In fact, some people’s biological families may not be their true families. True families are defined by the relationship described in the paragraph above, the unbreakable positive regard that can weather the squabbles and infighting that any family experiences. It is the ability not only to love, but to love through conflict and personal strife. That is what a family is.

  19. When I read this article, the definition of "family" reminded me of how society defines "home". To me, home is not a place, but the people you choose to surround yourself with. I feel this way, similarly, about the term "family". My older sister is 23 and I'm 18. When I tell most people that, they think it is absolutely crazy that my sibling is 5 years and 6 school grades older than me. However, what they don't know is that we are half-siblings, and only share the same DNA with our dad. Sure, we aren't 100% the same in terms of our DNA, and sometimes I am proven that we are polar opposites, but she is still my family and I love her to death. She treats my birth mom as her own mom and family, even though biologically she is not. The point I am trying to make is that family doesn't HAVE to be by blood. It can be by blood, half-blood, or no blood. Friends, cousins, and peers can all fit the term "family" in my opinion.

  20. I think a family is defined by the people you are/choose to be surrounded by. I go home each night to my family. I did not choose to live in that family but they surround me. I love my family. Every day I go to basketball or football practice. I choose to surround myself with those guys who call each other a family. I love this family too! Families should not be looked at as normal or not, because families are unique and special!

  21. When people hear family, they may think of a mother and father and their children, although family is really people who are always there for you cheering you on, giving you a shoulder to cry on, helping you, and being your number one supporters. Family shouldn't be defined by the structure of it because there are so many different types of families, but it should be defined by how you should be treated in one. My parents always tell me, "friends come and go but your family will always be there for you no matter what".

  22. Family is a very complicated topic. There are many different ways someone can define family, and in my opinion we should be able to accept all definitions. To me, family is about love and support. I was lucky enough to grow up with a family who loves one another so much and will always support each other with anything. However, my family isn't the "traditional two married parents living with their biological kids". My family is made up of two parents and four children, and I am the only biological kid from both of my parents. One of my siblings is adopted from Puerto Rico, and my other two siblings have a different mom than I do. But that doesn't make our love or support any weaker. I never call my half siblings my "half siblings" and I never call my adopted brother my "adopted brother". We are a family, regardless of blood, and we love and support each other no matter what. That is what family should stand for, whether or not that be a "traditional family", adoptive siblings, half siblings, step-mom, step-dad, adoptive parents, love is love, and a family should be a support group for anyone.

  23. Family, to me, is something about as gray as right and wrong. There is no black and white when it comes to family, and, as Haug writes in her article "What's a 'Normal' Family, Anyway?", "Family should be, above all else, about love". Family, in the end, is held together by the love we have for eachother. Pew Research Center, cited in the article, talks about how families can come in all shapes and sizes. Pew's Research states "...the number of two-parent households has been in steady decline since the 1960s, dropping from 87 percent of households in 1960 to 69 percent in 2014...". Family has always been about the unconditional love you have for someone else, and it doesn't matter what they're shape or size, or how many parents you have(or even if they're together).

  24. @Luka Yes, I think that's a very respectable motto to live by.

  25. Family isnt about whose blood you have, the people that you are born with or even conventional ideas of the structural dynamics of what a household should look like. Family is about unconditional love, support, and the closest people in your life, on your terms. Meaning, sometimes family by choice feel alot more like your "real" family. Family is not the last name you have or a mom and dad. As long as there is love, that overrides anything else. The gender of the partner doesent matter, age, race, or stigma. What matters is unconditional love. This can be difficult to prove but even best friends can become sisters and soulmates can take your last name and become an extended part of you. Family is an extension of you. A representation that no matter who you are or where you come from. A part of you. There is no stagnant definition family, no matter what society has drilled in our heads for centuries. Its what you want it to be. As stated in the article, "Family should be, above all else, about love " and you know what, it should be, above all else, about what you want it to be.

  26. @Claira Nice comment!

  27. A family isn't made up of people who share the same blood or DNA with you. Of course, a family could be made up of this type of relationship, but what a family is, is people who are bonded by unconditional love and support. Blood and legal ties don't always equal love and support. Because family is about caring, if those bonded through blood or law don't care, they're not truly family. My family consists of my mother, sister, aunts/uncles/cousins, grandma, and my closest friends. While many of my family members are biologically related to me, I also consider my best friends family because they care, love, and support me in the same way my blood relatives do. Because I believe that friends can be considered family, I feel as if friendships are just as important as romantic partners. It's important to surround oneself with a group of people who love you. Putting all of that responsibility onto one person isn't healthy. If things don't work out with your romantic partner, without friends, you may have lost the main source of love and support; without this, you lose a part of yourself. In general, I think that the younger generations have adopted this new idea of family. The more I talk to people my age, the less I hear of the belief that a family must contain two parents and children. I feel that as a society we're starting to become more caring towards one another, which allows us to build strong foundations for people we don't just view romantically.

  28. Throughout my 17 years on this earth, I have learned a lot about family bonds, and relationships. I have learned that often they are dynamic. Sometimes for good sometimes for the worse. As human beings, we are always learning and changing, adapting our behavior as we grow and become more mindful of our thoughts and emotions, what we need to fulfill ourselves and how others play a role in that as well as how we play a role in others lives. I grew up living with my mother, father, brother, and my favorite Uncle, Josh, who lived in our basement. Because of the fact that I was never close with my dad, I often leaned on my uncle for support and continued to do so to this day. He was the one who always understood me, who listened to me, who made me feel important as a young girl growing up in a complex society. He taught me lessons about life that I could not be more grateful to have learned from him. My point is, my uncle, being like a father figure to me growing up taught me that family doesn't always have to be a mother, a father, and a brother or sister. The definition of family to me is those who care about you. Those who stay up all night on the phone talking to me when I am upset or scared. Those who are always there for me when I am in need. People who I can truly trust with my life and rely on always. Those are the people that I hold close to my heart, blood-related or not.

  29. @Maya Your response was very touching and I share many of the same beliefs about family. Similar to your relationship with your uncle, I seem to depend a lot more on my stepfather then my biological one. Families don't always have a mother and father and society needs to be more accepting of this.

  30. Family means someone that you love and you are related to. This can be anyone that is related to my Mom and Dad. I don't find my friends as family, but I treat them like they are. Treating someone like they are family is when you treat them very kindly and most importantly, welcome. If someone doesn't feel welcome, it makes them feel uncomfortable. This is a key factor of treating somebody like family. In this day and age, people do not treat each other like family. I feel like the world is worse than it was when people treated each other like they were family. I do not think that family can be somebody that you do not like. Family should mean something happier to you. Family is what this world needs more of.

  31. @Michael Fenerty all of the commas after the first comma are incorrectly incorporated in your writing.

  32. My stereotypical idea of a family consists of two parents and their kids. The times are changing though, and families come in all variations. I think friendships are just as valuable as family relationships. Some friends basically are my family. Anyone who I can trust and know that they will be there for me even in the darkest of times I consider family. Blood ties are not as important as the people with whom you have ties with. I love my family, but sometimes they seem more of a hassle then family. But, I love my family and I would do anything for them. Society is not fully accepting of families that are different and sometimes the children have to deal with the negative end of it. People need to be more accepting of people who might not fit in the perfect box that some people have. Friends and family are needed in life because they help you get through the tough times in life.

  33. @Nicolas Dorazio Great comment! I think that it is very important that you talked about the effect on kids, but you may want to watch how you use the word "perfect".

  34. After 13 years in this world I have realized that just because somebody isn't related to you by blood, it doesn't mean that they're not family. Family, in a quite literal sense, is the people who are related to you through blood or by law. However, in a much more real way, a family is the people who you can always turn to when you feel like there is nobody left in the world. They are the people who can always be there, whether that means that they are friends or related to you in a definitive way. Sometimes I feel like I am closer to my friends than my own family, so the phrase "Blood is thicker than water" doesn't seem like a proper thing to say. And, as much as friendships can change and bend throughout one's lifetime, and as much as people can leave and join your family, there is always going to be somebody that is there for you, and that is what makes them your family.

  35. Despite living with my biological mother and father and my biological sister, I think that the word "family" has a much broader definition. For me, family is really any group of people, whether 2 or 20, who live together (to some extent) and care for and love each other. It doesn't matter if it's a mother and father, two moms, a single dad, or grandparents raising kids. It doesn't matter if the children are biologically related, adopted, half-siblings, cousins or a mix of different relationships under one roof. Family doesn't have to be adults raising children. For me, not only do I have my parents and sister, I also have my summer family, the 14 best friends and 6 counselors that I live with for 25 days, though the days seem like forever. None of us are biologically related to one another, but we don't need those kind of relationships to be a family. What unites us, and every family, is much stronger than blood: love. Family isn't people that are related to you, it's the people that love and support you. It can take the shape of parents or friends, but the love you feel for one another creates the unbreakable bond of family, one that no DNA could ever match.

  36. @Sivan Frankel I agree with your comment on how it isn't blood relations that unite people together, it's that special bond they have with one another.

  37. Family for me is my parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, pretty much anyone in my bloodline. However there is one exception my brothers. I’m not talking about the brothers that came from the same parents as I, but my friends who have always been there for me. My friends who were the stems of the leaf, me, the friends who I can lean on, the friends I can call for help or to hangout with, and finally the friends who I will catch a bullet for. When losing this friends, you are heart broken or in pain and discomfort, making you never want to let go. So when someone asks me do you have brothers, I don’t have any biological ones, but a few brothers I do. One thing that I will admit to is that those friends I have a bond with are from the same blood as I, most of which being form the roots of our Mother Ukraine.

  38. To me, family is those who are there for you when you need it the most, the ones who love you and who will take you in anyway. Even friends can be classified as family, if you are that close to them. For me, I have lots of non-biologically related family, like Uncles and Aunts that aren’t even related to me. They are just so close to my parents that we are told to call them family. My family is everyone who is exceptionally close to my biological family, and who even have permission from my parents to treat me like their own child, even are allowed to get after me for not cleaning up or for just being lazy. I agree with the statement from Ms. Haug when she says that no family is perfect… because I don’t know anybody who has a perfect family, a perfect life, including myself. I think single-long term relationships should not be the only goal for living a fulfilling life because everyone should be able to choose their own path, and the people supporting them, you got it… family.

  39. @Julia Fede, I absolutely agree with you. I also believe that just because a family is not collected biologically does not mean that they are separated, and even your friends can become a part of your family as well.

  40. My definition of a normal family has molded and changed many times over the past 13 years of my life. When I was but a wee child, my "ideal family" was considerably a husband and a wife, having a few biological children under the same roof. A few years ago, I got introduced to the topic of adoption and donors. Then, my perspective changed to a husband and a wife having children, biological or not. Around last year, I got familiar with the LGBTQ community, and I realized that a family could look like two men having children or no children, two women having children or no children, trans people having children or no children, etc... I've come to realize that you don't even need two parents to have what's considered a complete family. All throughout my life, I've heard people say "blood is thicker than water", and to be honest, I don't agree with that. You can have two people from the same family that hate each other, and purely because they are family doesn't mean they have a stronger bond than one of their friends. I think that as long as you love each other, and are supportive of each other's opinions, anyone can be family, it's not just based on the genes and the DNA you have inside of you.

  41. @Anna Praticò, I agree that people in a family do not always get along, and it is great that you recognized that friendships can be stronger than blood.

  42. I think that the definition mentioned in the article as a "normal family" is more the definition of a stereotypical family. Through this article I have learned that a lot of people who live in a more “normal” family do not understand that some people who live in a “strange” family think that they are odd and do not understand that some of them actually like to live in a family like that! It is showing up all across human behaviour that humans think that humans who do something else or are something else than them are strange, weird, and have to be taught how to be like them. I think that both love and genetics play a part in family, although you have to deal with your genetic family, and you have more freedom in choice in your friendship/romance family. You should think of each as a family, because they both are! There are many different kinds of family as well as these, like classroom/workplace families, families at places of worship, and sports families. A family is people who stand by you and care about you through times of trouble and despair, and when you most need help and love! Some families you just spend time with more than others! Society needs to broaden their definition of family because there is so much rancor and hostility in every corner of the Earth. Larger families would be more tolerable of each other all around the world, respect all the world's colours, and work together to solve pressing issues, which may help lessen the levels of the world unhappiness!

  43. I think of "family" as people who I am close to, so I do not only count those who are bound to me by blood or legal ties. I say that because I have friends who also fill some of the traditional role of family for me because I spend so much time with them. My family is my actual family and all my friends I spend the majority of my time with. The role my family plays in my life, in general, is to support and help me. I do think that society does need a more expansive definition of "family" because a family isn't always a father, mother, and children these days. There are other types of relationships now and I think they should be acknowledged. I do agree with Ms. Haug in the fact that no one can say that their family experience was perfect. I do think that friendships can be just as important as a romantic relationship because while a romantic relationship is special, sometimes you just want to hang out with friends. I feel like having a single long-term relationship should be a universal goal for living a fulfilling life but isn't necessary.

  44. @Benjamin Chiem I totally agree with you, I am also very close with family. I have friends who are similar to family that I can tell secretes to. Friends may not react the same as family to secretes because they are the same age and understand whats going on around them. There are people where you may tell different things to because of your relationship with them.

  45. Family to me, is defined by the experiences and relationships you may have with others. I believe that someone unrelated to you can be family but also; that just because you are related to someone blood doesn't mean that they are automatically your family. I know that personally my father’s blood brother and sister aren’t as close to me and my sister but; that my dad’s best friends known to me as Uncle Doug and Uncle Pat are more like Uncles to me. In recent years when asked are you the oldest by friends I respond with no because my dad has a son about 17 years older than me and 20 years older than my sister. This is also weird sometimes though because my brother is an adult with a job and other responsibilities which stop him from being around to vex me or hang out as much, I don’t know him as well as my BFF Rokia. Sometimes I find myself enjoying her company more than maybe my biological sister. I can also remember that once at my Uncle Doug’s parties my family and some of our super close friends, me, my little sister, my friend Paige, and Janyah said that it would be fun to just address each other by calling each other “Soul Sisters”. Although not connected by blood I believe that we are family.

  46. I believe that there can be a case when it seems as though there is blood that isn’t family, or when there is family that isn’t blood. For instance, just because individuals are related biologically by blood, it does not necessarily mean that they feel like family around each other. Someone who is “like family” to you can be defined as someone who you can rely on, someone who you can always trust, or ask for advice or support whenever need be. It is someone who you love, and someone who loves you, someone who is always willing to do anything for you, and is someone who you can move mountains for. Thus, there can be many different examples of “family” and society needs to learn to accept more different versions of family, whether biologically or legally related, or not related in any way. In romantic relationships, in my opinion, the two individuals should always trust each other, respect each other, and have fun, too, because if you are not enjoying your relationship with someone, I believe it is quite pointless to be seeing the person. Boring relationships do not last. There is always a want/need for passion and longing. If there is no excitement or unpredictability in a relationship, it might not progress or drive forward to develop into something greater. Ultimately, one’s final goal should be to have one, successful, long-term relationship.

  47. @Hanna Sh I like how you define what family is because I would say my definition of family is really close to what you said.

  48. To me, family means whoever you are close to, and people you know that will stay with you through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad times, and who are always there for you. A family could be your Mom, Dad, Brothers, or Sisters, as well as aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas. But a family could also be a tight-knit community, like a lifelong group of friends who treat each other like family, or a community where everyone is respected, and differences are seen as great things. A family could also be anything in between the things I mentioned, a family might be spread apart in different households, in different places, but they’re still a family. Sure, you might have two dads, but is that any better or worse than any other family - no, it is not, because a family is that special group of people who you love, and who love you back. A statement which has always been important to me is that blood is thicker than water. This means that your friends may come and go like the wind, but your family will always, without fail, be there for you, even in your darkest hour. Your family doesn't have to be your biological relatives, or those who are legally supposed to be your ¨family,¨ your family can be anyone who your close to in a special way.In conclusion, those are my thoughts on family.

  49. When it comes to the definition of a family, I think that there are almost no boundaries to what a family can be. Over the course of time, an ideal family would consist of two parents and their children, but now families can include multiple mothers, fathers, biological kids, and non biological kids. I think the expansion of the definition family has changed for the better because a family is about a stable foundation of people who can love each other in times of despair or happiness and can stand up to face problems as a group. My family is my mother, father, godmother, and people who have my best interests at heart. When it comes to idea of romantic relationships and friendships, I think that the importance can be on the same level, but the expression of how important someone is develops over time. In the end, the importance of both relationships depends on how you treat each other whether it is in the form of a friend or a soulmate. Some say that the universal goal of society should be having a single long term relationship. However, life is not just about relationships with others, it has a deeper meaning. Life is about fulfilling happiness, and going through struggles and achieving. To be happy, you don’t need a single long term relationship, you need time. Time will grant you different experiences and sometimes a long term relationship is not one of them. Some feel that they need someone else to be complete, but being independent could be your alternative.

  50. I believe that there are two kinds of family, the family your born with, and the family that you can choose. I think that these two things overlap frequently, but truly the only family that matters is the family and company that you choose to keep. You could be born to a family that neglects you, but while they would always be your biological family, your friends could form a more powerful closer family. While this is my interpretation of family, it is also my opinion that you are entitled to your own opinion, but so is everyone else. This basically means that what works for you works for you, but you can’t force it to work for others. I think that society needs to expand the definition of family beyond the stereotypes of the past, and make it, whoever the individual in question things of as their family. For example, I would consider a very close friend more like family than a step-uncle four times removed, because it is really about how connected you are to them. All in all, I think that family is what you think it is, and that is how we should define it.

  51. Family means a close knit relationship between people. We can tell each other anything without getting judged, and we have a soft side for each other. Also, we are always there for eachother when we need help. I count on both blood and friend ties to help fill the role of family. My blood family is always there for me and I know I can trust them. I also live with my blood family which makes us closer. My friends are also always there for me, I am able to tell a few friends secretes without them judging me. I can ask them for opinions that my parents may have a hard time giving because my friends understand me since we are the same age.

  52. I believe that family is not limited to just blood, there's more. My closest friends are treated like they've lived with me all my life, with love, respect, and kindness. Family to me are the one who comfort me the ones who understand my struggles and who keep me company. Our society has thought to believe the meaning of family as two parents and biological children, but now i think that belief has changed for the better. For example now they're no limits to how many parents you can have, or what gender they are. Or how many half or step siblings you have, as long as they'll have one thing that binds them all together. Love.

  53. My family plays a huge role in my life. Most of my friends would rather hang out with each other than spend time with their family, but I feel the complete opposite. I would give up going to a party in order to spend time with my family. Some of the people that I am closest to in my family are the people I am the least blood-related to. For example, my cousin is my best friend. My baby sister is technically only my half-sister. My grandma is one of the people I look up most to. I define the word family as people you would choose spend time with, take a bullet for and never get sick of. For me, family isn't just my parents and siblings, but everyone else that goes beyond it. I'm lucky enough to feel blessed that I am in a family that I would spend time with anytime of the day. They play a huge role in my life, and who I become, whether it be good or bad. They teach me how to be who I want to be, the best version of myself.

  54. To me, a family is not connected by blood, but instead of the bonds of the family members. Therefore, some friends that I know may count as family. A family, in my opinion, is one or more people that you can connect to and act truly like yourself in front of. For example, you could be tense in front of your friend because you don't want to look bad in front of him/her, but when when you are in front of our family, you don't need to care about that because they already know what you look when you are not tense and alone. Additionally, I also believe that friendships can be just as important as romantic relationships, since like I said before, friends can be a part of your family if you truly care about them, trust them, and can show your true self while relaxing in front of them. Due to this, I believe that society needs a more expansive definition family, since people are always seemingly assuming that when someone is your family, they are blood related.

  55. I like to think of family as anyone that you have a unique close tie to, whether that means you were adopted into a family or were born into a family where your parents were never married. Family is someone who you know always has your back, no matter what the situation you know you can always count on them to have a safe opinion. You could have been adopted into a household with a married man and woman and be raised by them for your whole life and they would be your family. You might not look like them and technically there not your biological parents, but they know you, and you know them better than anyone and you know that you can always let them into your life, and that's what makes them family. Family could also be a lifelong friend, an uncle, a long term nanny, step siblings. anyone who has really seen it all with you and someone you feel comfortable with, someone you know will have your back whether they like it or not, someone you could be angry at all day and wake up and act like nothing happened.

  56. People say that "blood is thicker than water" but I prefer the alternate version: "the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb." My family has never been traditional and it sometimes makes me feel embarrassed. When I was young, I would gladly explain the specifics to close friends, but I quickly grew a sense of shame and became quite secretive, letting people assume my family was normal. Even the child self-help books I consulted on divorce involved a normal divorce between two consenting, mature adults--not a messy, years-long affair filled with tears, insults, and legal battles. Nobody should associate with people that hurt them over and over because of some gene-related societal obligation. Those who love and support you are your family, and not necessarily those who are related to you. Growing up, I thought my mother's best friend and her friend's husband were my actual grandparents until my mother explained to me we had no blood relations. Even then, I loved them just the same and we didn't treat each other any differently. After my mother's friend died, our experience with her blood relatives was not pleasant. This combined with other experiences made me realize traditional people place more value on blood ties than emotional ones. Unfortunately, all this usually does is bring shame and pain to those around them who don't fit the cookie-cutter nuclear family mold. People's relationships are unique--it's nonsensical to treat them as if they're not.

  57. I have experienced family in many aspects. One example of family within my life could be my football team that I am a member of. During the season we are together for 3 to 5 hours a day at practice or a games. In the season we experienced an injury within the team. The injury was very sad moment because he was sent to the hospital mid game and was a cause for the people to work harder and play better in the game. It sucked seeing him leave, and directly after the game I felt a pain in my gut telling me I needed to go see him in the hospital. Thinking back on this now I realize that this feeling was caused by the fact that I thought of him as my brother on and off the field. We both worked out together, and pushed each other into being successful. Along with everybody else I felt like I would sacrifice anything for him at that point because there was nothing else but to hope for him to get better. The moment I heard him tell me he couldn't play for the rest of the season I worked harder for him and took it as my responsibility to dominate my side of the ball. Then, a month later he was able to come back for our final game. Everybody on the team took his side and told coach that we are behind him every step of the way. It turns out that during the game he was more than that he was a major aspect to why we won. This showed that family is relative in every team or community.

  58. Family is about being there for each other when they are in need. I have not seen family in traditional sense for almost the entirety of my life. From struggles like divorce and adoption and only seeing my siblings and mother every other week and many others, we are still family. We still support and love one another even if hard times create a disconnect. I have also seen family in biological aspects. A few years ago I set my mind out to find my biological family. I feel as if they are an extension to my family. I feel a bond with my biological brothers and biological parents in a different sense then with my actual family that not many people will understand. Family is about a connection you feel, whether through love and support or biological.

  59. I believe that the term family is up to interpretation. I count many people my family for various reasons. My childhood friends family is another family that I consider my own. I jokingly consider some of my friends as my brothers because we are super close, and argue the way that brothers would. I think family is whatever you want to make it, biological or not. My biological family is my sisters, Mother, and Father. However, my full family includes my Mom’s boyfriend and his family. It also includes my childhood friends family, because I am so close with them I refer to her Mom as “Mom” and her Grandmother as “Grandma”. My family is my foundation for my life, because if the world beats you down to nothing, you always have that foundation. I think that friends are a little less important than family, because family is always first. Whether it is your actual family or not, family is first. I think people can define their universal goal for living a fulfilling life, whether that means staying with the same person forever, or getting divorced or not marrying at all. I don’t think that society should change what family means. Family is a word that has an individual definition to everyone, and you should choose what that means for yourself. Live for yourself and don’t let society alter your experiences.

  60. Family is completely up for interpretation. Although I do consider my blood relatives family, I also consider other people as a part of my family. My mom, dad, and 3 little sisters are my family. Also, my family includes my grandparents, my aunts, my cousins, and even my aunts cousins grandfather's nephew. The biological term "family" expands and expands to complete and utter strangers. To be honest, I do not consider my aunts cousins grandfather's nephew a part of my family because I could not tell you who he is. I do, however, consider my best friends my family. The people who are always by my side and know me more than I know myself. They are family because they are who make me who I am. So, I believe family is whoever makes you "you".

  61. My family is made up of people who I love, and that is what family simply means- a group of people you love. My immediate family is just my mom, dad and brother. But I also have many grandparents that aren't all related to me. I have friends that I’ve known for so long, I call them my cousins. I love all of these people even though they may not be shown on my family tree. At first glance, my family looks normal. But a long line of divorces has made it big and dysfunctional. My great grandma has gotten remarried many times, so I have steps aunts and uncles from her second and third marriage. This also creates non related grandparents and cousins. I have a long line of family in Ireland that isn’t even related to me! Next, my grandma and pop pop had a divorce so i have a whole other family in Pittsburgh that don’t look like me and aren’t related to me, but still my family. I include my best friends in my family because they are family. I see them more that I see my cousins! We have known each other so long, I have a tighter bond with them than my biological family. We are family, just not to norms of society. Society does need a more expansive definition of society. Many people have been disowned by their biological family, or treated badly. That is when friends and neighbors and the people that really love them come into play. Toxic relationships shouldn’t be included in the definition of family, love should.

  62. I think that a “normal” family is a man, a woman, and their biological children. This does not mean that I think that they are the only families that I support, though. I think that families are held together by love and support no matter what. As long as the family is close and loves each other, then they are the perfect family. To me, family means a group of people strung together by strong love bonds and compassion for each other. Family does not have to be biological, because there are many families that have adopted or fostered a child and they still make sure that it feels like home. No matter what, as long as there is love, there is family. My family is my dad’s biological parents and my mom’s parents that she now has after she got adopted. My family plays a huge role in my life, they are with me through everything and I would be lost without them. Family doesn’t have to be biological and it does not have to be what you call a “normal” family because in the long run, nothing will ever compare to the feeling of love within your family.

  63. @Nico M. I agree with you that family does not have to be biological or ”normal”. All that matters is that they love and care about you. Anyone really can be your family.

  64. I think a family is similar to a tree. In life, you will go on countless journeys with experiences involving tons of different people from different backgrounds, gaining knowledge and perspective. But this life can be overwhelming, and having a system you can depend on is essential. Like a tree, a family is something you can lean on for its entire existence.

  65. My family is the most important thing in my life and these people expand past just blood. My immediate family, my extended family, and my friends that I think of as sisters are what make me me and have shaped the person I have become. I grew up with two amazing older brothers who were protective and tough and taught me to stand up for myself. My grandparents were always there for me at my games, performances or just a Sunday dinner and always stepped in when my parents couldn't be there. The one thing I always wanted was a sister and now I have 6. My friends and I have essentially meshed families and I can say I love them and their sisters, brothers, and parents like family. I think a good way to evaluate who your "family" is is who you want to spend your time with. Some people are not close with their parents at all and their friends are their everything. I am so blessed that I have a mix of this and feel close to many people. Family is not just defined by blood but rather who you would do anything for and who you think of when you think of love. Family is different for everyone and I am very grateful for mine. The author has a very unique situation when it comes to family but she loves all of them as her own blood. Families can be unconventional but all are special and all are important.

  66. Your family is whoever you choose to associate the word with. For me, my family is my blood and legal ties, as well as the communities I’m a part of. For example, I go to a sleep away camp for 1 month in the summer, and I’ve been going for 4 years. The more time I spend there, the closer I become with all of my friends there, and the camp community is basically my second family. I consider my closest friend as my sister from another mister, we’re sisters but not bound by blood. Your family doesn’t have to be blood-related either. I’m adopted yet I treat everyone in my adoptive family like I would treat my blood relatives. The word family is subjective because your family is whoever you determine, and of your choosing.

  67. @Lily Sklaver I agree with what you said about the camp family being like a second family, and I feel the exact same way. I feel just as supported and loved when I’m with my camp friends as I do with my biological family. Friends can and do become family...

  68. Coming from a family that would definitely be considered unconventional, I do think that the definition of "family" needs to be more broad in order to include more diverse and different types of families. I don't consider a normal family to consist of only a mother, father, and siblings. My family consists of many step-siblings, a step-mom and dad and a half-brother. Because of this, I believe that the idea of family is completely up to your own interpretation. I would include my closest friends in my definition of family as well as my blood relatives because they love and support me which is what a family should do.

  69. "Family" to me really doesn't have to have anything to do with strictly biological relationships. The emphasis on family being more about love and being there for eachother is especially important in my life because my family is pretty unconventional. I have two half siblings who I'm close with, but I also have a step-dad and two step-brothers who are no different that a biological dad or biological brothers. In my life my step-dad is who I call "dad" and has been my best friend, biggest role model, and biggest supporter my entire life, but none of this is based on blood because it really doesn't have to as long as you act as a family in your actions. My step-dad has never treated me any differently than his biological kids and in a way knowing that he cares so much about me even when I'm not his biological daughter makes the connection even more special. Also my step-brothers aren't just people that live in my house with me they are the people I tell everything to and they are always there to cheer me up and help me when I need a hand. Also, my mom being an immigrant to the US from Lithuania I know that family doesn't even have to be parent, sibling, or spouse relationships. My mom left her biological family behind in Lithuania, but she got another family of close friends here in the US because that's all she could have here. So what "family" is to me is a collection of people that treat each other with love and respect and are always there for each other no matter what.

  70. The nuclear family is a new and very deliberate invention. 70 years ago, it was normal for multiple generations (and non-blood relations) to share a house and raise children together. (In fact, many cultures still do this. It's a very American point of view that the nuclear family is "normal" while anything else is abnormal (and thus should be shunned).) However, it's in the interests of society to maintain the nuclear family. It facilitates hierarchy, teaching children that supervision is both constant and necessary-- key for creating the obedient workers of the future. The nuclear family also means that one parent must care for the children, cook, clean, etc., full-time, and the other must work for hours to make money to support the rest of the family (i. e. traditional gender roles). This way, one parent feels like he alone is responsible for holding up the family and stays loyal to the system, while the work to keep him going is unpaid. Finally, a communal family simply uses fewer resources. 50 people living in one home might need two or three hammers; 25 nuclear families need 25 hammers. For a capitalistic society, the latter is preferable. (Additionally, a system in which two people are given total control of another, more vulnerable person with next to no oversight is questionable at best.) In essence, family can and should mean much more, but society is too invested in maintaining the status quo for the definition to change without major societal overhaul.

  71. What does make a family? In my opinion all you need is love and care between people to make it a family. For example I have many different families such as my blood family, my church family, and my sports team family. I believe it does not matter if you are not blood related to the other people in you family. Since the traditional family rate has been in decline since the 1960's I feel lucky to have a "conventional" family unlike most people. Although, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be adopted, have divorced parents, or have half brothers and sisters. I take for granted the perfect lifestyle I have at times and do not think about the other people in this world that do not have it as good as I do. In the article " What's a "Normal" Family, Anyway?", Claire Haug writes that family should be, above all else, about love. I strongly agree with this statement in that if your family has love and support for each other then it does not matter if you are blood related or not. In the hit series television show "The Fosters" none of the family is blood related, yet it is the most love filled family I have ever seen. Their love for each other is portrayed and shown through their actions towards one another. Overall a "normal" family does not exist in my eyes. Everyone's family is different and unique in its own way and that's what makes it perfect.

  72. Personally, I do not just count those who are related to me by blood my family. To me, “family” is anyone who is there for you during times of need and people who you have a close relationship with. For example, I consider my soccer team “family” because we spend so much time together and come to learn so much about one another. This term should be more broad rather than just the people who you are biologically related to. People other than your biological family can feel like family because of the way they treat you. People may spend more time with other people than your biological family which would. I do agree with Ms Haug that friendships are just important as romantic relationships. Having a strong friendship with someone can be just as similar as having a romantic relationship. You spend a lot of time with that friend just like you will spend a lot of time with your significant other. I do think that society needs a more expansive definition of “family”. Even though our families are very important to us, they are other people in our lives that can be considered as family because of all they do for us.

  73. Family. Family is the feeling of comfort with a person. Having trust in a person. Being able to go to your home and to know you can give your family a hug. That they love you and you love them. Family is the friends that are always there for you. I have a couple of those. One of them is named Maeve. She is a bundle of joy to my day. She’s my coffee every day. I know that we are like sisters. Like family. I have another friend and her name is Olivia. She is a kid in a candy shop. She has so much joy and happiness that she shares with everyone. She is a true friend. She is family that will always be in my heart. Even if we are living in another state if we move on with our lives we’ll have those memories to hold onto forever. Family are people who don’t care if they get but give. They aren’t selfish. They have this part of their heart that they show to us. Make us feel cared for. Family are the real ones. The ones you can trust and cherish.

  74. I think to have a family all you really need is love and support. I mean sure if you asked me who my family was the first think I'd probably say is my mom, my dad, my brother. But that doesn't mean I think that's all a family is. A family can be made out of anyone who supports each other and help each other get through hard times. I also don't think you just have one family. I mean I have my immediate family and family I'm related to by blood, but I also have my camp family and my school family, my dance family, my theater family, the list goes on. You don't need to be related by blood to be part of a family with someone, all you need is a good relationship... sometimes you don't even really need that.

  75. I believe a person’s family is their right to interpret based on their perspectives. In the way that sex is different than gender (biological vs societal) relatives are different than family. The “traditional” mom, dad, children family structure is a lot less constant in 2019. The world's definition of family has expanded greatly since my grandparents were children and as the son of two mothers, I am very grateful for society's increase in acceptance to family situations like mine. I am very happy that families like Claire Haug’s and mine are more common because as I said before I think a person’s family should not be defined by the traditions before it. I am very grateful for the support I receive from my friends and most of the people around me and I do believe that friendship can be just as and sometimes more important than romantic relationships and I find satisfaction in the family I have created with my friends.

  76. To me, family is amazing. Whether its biological family, friends, or just people you know in general. Family is the representation of everyone knowing each other, getting along with each other, and supporting each other in life as well. Family is a very big part of your support system, which should encourage you to do the right thing, and to stay out of trouble. No matter who it is, there is always someone who you can consider family in life. Even if you've only seen them twice. Family is a system of people that you can feel comfortable around. You can share anything with them, and they'll be okay with it. They'll always try and protect you no matter what happens, under any circumstances. I'm pretty happy that I can consider a lot of people as family, because that's a lot of support. It's almost like a force, pushing you through that door, even if it seems like you'll never get there. You'll always have someone by your back, and that's an amazing feeling to go through. Its for these reasons that you should never give up on your family, because it's a lot bigger than you might think.

  77. To me, a family is one of the most important things I have and the thing that I am the most grateful for. I have never taken it for granted and never will. Family means everyone you love, basically even if they are 5 cousins or best friends or even pets. If I love my dog so much, I would consider him part of my family. I think it has nothing to do with legal bindings or blood or even years of knowing each other. I am very close with my cousins and grandparents, even though they are part of my immediate family, it does not mean I love them more or less than others. I may love friends and family in different ways, but I still love them either way. My family includes all of my cousins, my parents and sister, my dog, my best friends, and so many more people. I may not have even known them for that long, like my dog we have had less than two years but he is the "best boi" he is the best. Or my camp friends, they are like brothers to me and I have known all of them for less than 5 years. I believe that friendships are way more important than romantic ones. This is because they can last forever; instead of having one long romantic relationship, then breaking up and being heartbroken, you can have friends that will help you through those types of things. Also, it is even better to have friends when you are older and there are a lot more things going on in your life. I think society does need a more expansive definition of family because it can be so much more than relatives.

  78. Personally, I believe family does not have to be limited the the people who are blood-related to you. I think of family more as a feeling. In my life, the people who I love and people who love me are who I consider my family. In my opinion, family can be whoever you want to consider your family based on your personal beliefs. To me, anyone who I love and deeply care about will be considered apart of my family. My family includes both my blood relatives, and a handful of my closest friends who I have met throughout my life. Family plays a huge role in my life. No matter what I do in my life, I know my family will always be there to stand by me and I am incredibly grateful for that because I know some people do not have that. That is also a reason why I choose to consider few of my closest friends family because I know that no matter what I do in my life, I know that they will always be there. Keeping your family close and having it take up an important role in my life also provides a sense of comfort that is always there.

  79. Family carries a comforting connotation in my mind, filled with love, and I know that I am lucky. Love is the basis for genuinely worthwhile and fulfilling relationships, no matter the nature. For me, my family is a group of people that I associate with home; a group that I can go to for unconditional love and support. Those vital aspects of my life definitely come from my parents and two siblings, but I also receive them from places outside of my household. People like teammates, extended family, neighbors, and friends play roles important enough to become my family. I think that there are more important pieces to family than the gender, orientation, number of parents, and area of residence. Things like stability, interest, respect, involvement, and care. Any family, no matter the makeup, can fulfill (or fail to fulfill) these. As Haug asks, “can anyone really say their experience of family was perfect?” Love is valuable. It is the foundation upon which to build relationships. So no matter where that love comes from, it is something to be cherished and celebrated.

  80. My family are not only the people related to me by blood, but people that accept me, love me, respect me, support me, listen to me, take care of me when I may not feel so good. I have multiple families; my biological family, of course, my friends, and my color guard family. I don’t think having a single long-time relationship is the universal goal to living a fulfilling life. It’s important to have at least a few really close friends you considered family because, honestly, you might not get along with that single person all the time. Family doesn’t really need to be people you’ve known for a long time. They could be someone that just shares a defining commonality with you. For instance, people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community may see other people from that group part of their family. This may be true because the other people will have shared similar experiences that they can connect and bond over. When it comes to my personal life, I tend to be very closed off with my emotions so those who I consider my family are very close to me and are people that I can trust.

  81. My family at first glance would seem, by society's standards, normal. As a kid I thought the same thing, two parents, grandparents on both sides of the family along with cousins, and a sibling. For years I grew up getting to know these people and how they related to me, however one day I was told that my grandmother wasn’t actually related to me. What had happened was after my mom was born my grandfather remarried to the person I know as granny and the my blood relative had died of cancer a few months before I was born. However, recently my grandfather, who was the only way she was related to my immediate family, also died of cancer and I found the people asked me if I still considered her family and of course I still did, but I found myself asking what to call her when looking at a family tree. At first my normal family seem a lot different to me, but I realized that these people were people I’ve known for my whole life. In the article, What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway, they did an interview with Matan Inbar-Hansen. Matan said, “I cannot count the number of times people have asked me if I want a ‘normal life.’” In other words Martan is saying that people feel sorry or pity him for not living a normal life, however, he doesn’t feel the need to have lived a normal life. This is the answer that i came to in regards to my Granny. To me it didn’t matter if she was my ‘normal’ blood realized grandma, instead she was the person who only loved me, which made her my grandma.

  82. To me, family is a range of people that fulfill an important role in my life and I love very much. Family is defined by love, care, and trust, not just by biological ties. These are the people I turn to whenever I am in search of real support because family is like the best friends that everyone loves. I am the only child of one mom, one dad. Some might say my family is small but I consider it to be very large because my best friends are like my siblings, my cousins are like my best friends and my aunts and uncles are all very close to me. This isn’t like a traditional family however I consider them to be my real family because we are all very close and they are the people I go to first when I need help. These are people in my life that I could not live without, laughing with them, spending holidays together, and overall just being together when things are good and bad is amazing. And because of this family is always #1 for me.

  83. I think family is people that love and take care of you. Anyone that takes care of you is part of your family. If your neighbor takes care of you, if you are adopted, then they are your family. My family includes my parents and my sister. My family takes care of me and loves me which that if they do that, then they are your family. I think friendships can be just as important as romantic relations because in both you are friends with the person and the person defends you and like you.

  84. My definition of a normal family is just people who are related. I still feel that if our parents are gay or hate each other, it doesn't matter you are still all family. My family is just my parents and my siblings living together, and I guess that was the standard for a long time, as my grandparents said that when they were little, hardly anyone ever got divorced or was gay. I think love is what holds family together. If that wasn't the case most of us wouldn't be here. If your family all hated each other they would all split, each one hoping never to see the other again. To me family means people who you love that you are related to. I really only count people i'm related to as my family as, i have never really had a friend that close that I would consider family. I do think that friendships can be just as important as romantic relationships because relationships make you feel less alone and both friends and a romantic friend could give you the same attention you need. I don't think society needs to create a new form of family norms because families will keep changing forever. For all i know 50 years from now, if we all still exist, family may be eight different adults or one human and a pet would be considered the norm.

  85. There is no way you can define a family. Whether you support the dynamics of it or not, everyone has their own idea of what a family is/should be. A family could be a couple of blood-related unstable people who do not share the same love as what society usually puts out as a "normal family". The same definition could also go to a couple of friends who feel so close it's as if they are related. When you look up the definition of family, you find "a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household". The word family could just simply mean parents and children living in the same household. However, the meaning of the word has so many surfaces and different perspectives you cannot label it under a simple phrase. Yes, love and support would be the ideal idea of a family, but in reality, there are many broken households filled with anger and negative feelings. Every family feels that way at one point or another. The word family is in the gray area where a lot of terms can be placed that no specific definition can be given.

  86. I've always had a weird definition of family. Most of the people I thought were my family didn't stand up for me when I couldn't stand up for myself. Because of that, I consider my family to be a group of about 6 or 7 people. Family can be anybody. Anybody who cares about you with no consideration of themselves. Family isn't selfish. There's more to family than blood. Family is established through actions. You don't have to live under the same roof or share a relative. You have to be there when most people wouldn't want to be there. In this way, I think that friendships can always be more important, because the people who stick with you are your real family.

  87. My family means everything to me. I know everyone says that, but it is true. I basically count people who are close to me and people who share the same blood as family. This includes my friends. Some people say that your family are just the people that you share the same blood with, but no matter what, I would never think that. Family means different things to certain people, but for me it includes friendship,love,trust and many more things. I do agree that sometimes friendships can just be as important as romantic relationships.Others think different about that, but I feel that if you have known someone for years,then it definitely is more important. No matter what my family will always be important to me and it will always come first.

  88. I describe family as people you are surrounded by that love and have a close relationship with you. Most people only considered people related to them by blood, family. In my opinion however, really anyone can be family, not just the people you live with. Adopted children and pets are all considered family event though they aren’t related by blood. Love and care is what holds a family together, and if that bond breaks it breaks the whole family tree. Honestly, anyone can be family and everyone is part of one big family. I do consider friends that are very very close to me and my family, family. Friendships are absolutely just as important as family and romantic relationships. Friends are sometimes the people you are much more closer to you than any family member. They are also the ones you can turn to when trouble comes within your family, and the tree begins to fall apart. Family doesn’t have to be by blood, but by loving bonds that bring us together.

  89. I think the definition of family is love, support, and constant forgiveness. I have a very conventional family, my mom, dad, brother, and two dogs. To me, a family isn't defined as having blood-ties with someone. A family is made up of people, related or not, who will be there in your best, and worst times. My family has kept me moving forward in times when I just wanted to give up, and I honestly cannot tell you where I would be without them. "A family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that." This quote is so important to me because people think that a family is just who you're related to by blood. However, if your blood family isn't supportive of who you are, and don't have your best interests at heart, I don't think that fits the definition of a family. A family is an everlasting friendship, support, love, and honesty.

  90. I don't think there should be a definition of the word "family" because anyone could be part of your family, whether it be someone you are related to by blood, marriage, or love and friendship. A family includes people who will always have your back. They will support you and your dreams no matter what, and will always accept you for who you are. For example, my immediate family would include my mom, dad, sister, and I. I also have four grandparents, three uncles, one aunt, and two cousins related by blood. But instead of just blood related family, I have lots of family who aren't blood related to me at all. One of my great-grandmothers had three husbands throughout her life, making my grandfather have a stepbrother. Another one of my grandmothers' mother had died when she was very young, so she had a stepmother growing up and barely remembered her biological mother. I even have several uncles who aren’t uncles at all - they are just very close friends of my dad. All of these non-blood related relatives are connected by love - which is why I think a family does not have to be biological, it could just be made up of the people you love.

  91. When I think of a family I do not think 2 married people with biological kids. I think of a family with people who love and trust each other enough to create a forever bond. Most think that in order to be family you have to have the same blood or have the same parents. NO. family is who you chose to be apart of your family. Friends coworkers neighbors your dog anyone. what holds a family together is what creates the family love, support, trust and just caring for one another.

  92. Family means to me that the people that you call family you would do anything for and they don't have to be biologically related to you but people that you care about and would do anything for could be considered your family. My family consist of my family and close friends, they mean everything to me and the role they play in my life is that they keep motivated. Although I do agree with Ms. Haug about that long term friendships can be just as important as romantic relationships but I don't agree that it should be the universal goal.

  93. A family is a group of people that put their companion's lives before them. This means that they would support and help each other to no end. It does not matter who those people are, it just matters how those people feel about each other. In that context, yes, friendships can be as powerful as romantic relationships because while friends don't always love each other, they will stick together. Having a single long-term relationship should be a universal goal, because the feeling of having the same person that you can predict there for you every day is a nice one, as you then know that the person will always stand by you. I think society really does need a more expansive definition of "family", because a family can be any two people or more that love each other and can count on each other, regardless of race or gender.

  94. To me, a family is a group of people who support you, care for you, and love you unconditionally. A family will support you when times get rough, help you when you need help, and always be there for you even if they are not physically there. I do not count only those bound by blood or legal ties my family. I have my Ukrainian friends, my school friends, my immediate family, my extended family, my camp friends, and my dance friends. They all support, care and love me dearly and I consider all of them family. Even though I have so many families, my main family is in my household. In my house, I have my Mama, my Tato, and my brother Roman. My family can always make me laugh and make me happy. I love my family with so much unconditional love. I think relationships can be just as important as romantic relationships. I also think that having a successful long-term relationship is the universal goal of living a fulfilling life, but I having more than one long-term relationship is even better. If that one person you had that long-term relationship with passes away, you don't have anyone else like them in your life. I searched up family, and the definition I found was, "a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household." I think society should expand upon this definition. Just because you have a family doesn't mean you live with them or have parents with you in a household. I know for sure I don't live with all of my friends, but they are still family to me.

  95. To me, Family means people who are honest, trustworthy, loyal, and people who are kind to you. I don’t believe that family has to be people related to you by blood or marriage, but simply the people who are loving and care about you a lot. My family is all of the people who care about me. My family related through blood and my really close friends. I do think that friendships are just as important as romantic relationships because in both you won’t be lonely, you will have someone by your side. Family could be anyone that you feel IS family. I do think that society needs a more expansive definition because family could be anyone that you want to be your family. There should.t be any rules on having a family, being a family, and who your family is, the decision should be yours.

  96. Family to me is the ones I love and care for being with me at any time. My friends are ones that I consider my family, my soon to be brother-in-law I consider family, and my mom's girlfriend I consider family. I care for all of them and we are together all the time. It makes me happy and makes up a family in my opinion

  97. My definition of a family is two parents and their kids who they take care of, could be biological or not. But a family could be more than the one you come home to every day. It could be the friends you see everyday who you may consider as family. It could be those co-workers you are really close to. Family could be anyone. They don't have to be the ones you are born into or the one you create with a significant other.

  98. My definition of a “normal” family is of course two married parents and their children in one household. However as I am growing up and as everything else is passing by along with the years and along with changes and differences, a normal family is not as clear anymore. As I am growing up and learning more things, I have learned that a family is not just someone who you are related to by blood. Sometimes people who are not related to you treat you more like family than the people who are actually your family or are related to you. Family to me is someone who is willing to support you with what you are doing, but are also willing to correct your mistakes if you are making mistakes. Family is not just people who are related to you, they are not people who claim they are always right, and family should not try to take advantage of who you are as a person. I have learned this because I have had to learn who and what family was. My parents have taught me how to treat the right people correctly and how to occasionally respect even some of the worst people. I have had several occasions where I didn’t consider blood-related family my actual family because of what they did to me, my parents, or their own related family members.

  99. A family doesn't necessarily mean the stereotypical idea of 2 parents and their kids living under one roof. A family can come in many different forms, like your sports team or your friends. At least I consider my sports team and closest friends as family, because I love them. My dog is not blood related to me so does that mean I can't call her family? I don't see why not because I love her with all my heart and would be devastated if anything happened to her. Family is about love in my opinion. It isn't about which roof you live under with whoever you live with. It is about who you love and who you can trust when things get rough. Claire Haug writes that "the number of two-parent households has been in steady decline since the 1960's." This is something that a lot of people are not aware of because it isn't affecting them. Using myself as an example, I live with both my parents and my brother under 1 roof. I guess that is considered "normal" in today's world but in my opinion that isn't completely correct. There are plenty of normal families that might only have 1 parent taking care of their child. That shouldn't be considered "abnormal" because numbers are different. It is about the unconditional love that brings together a family, not the head count.

  100. Your family are the people in your life who support and care for you. They will always be there for you no matter what, and you will get through any rough patches with them. Your true friends are your family as well, and even though sometimes you drift from them, or because they do not live with you or you are not related to the biologically, it doesn’t mean that they are not there for you. Your family and those who you consider apart of your family have a special, strong bond with you and no matter what happens, you both need each other. No family is perfect, and that’s what makes your bonds become tighter and more meaningful. Your true family will stick by you no matter what, and help you with any issues you have. Family doesn’t have to be only apart of your blood, but love and support is what keeps you together. The most dysfunctional families have the best love in my opinion, and what people consider “normal” families, are not better in any way, shape or form, over the families who aren’t considered correct in society.

  101. — What does “family” mean to you? Do you count only those bound to you by blood or legal ties, or do friends or other kinds of communities also fill some of the traditional role of family for you? Family is always going to mean those related to you by blood and legal ties but I look at family as more than just blood. Family for me is the people you share bonds and connections with. Family also consists of the people you trust and care for. — Who is your family, however you define that word? What role does your family play in your life in general? Family is the people I share blood with and also the friends that ive had for a long time and that ive shared a deep bond with. The role my family would play in my life is sharing love. Love is very powerful and is something that will never be broken. Do you agree? Do you think friendships can be just as important as romantic relationships? Should having a single long-term relationship be the universal goal for living a fulfilling life? I do believe that friendships are equally important as a romantic relationship because your friends will be there for you and care for you while you're at your worst just like someone would in a romantic relationship. — Does society need a more expansive definition of “family,” in your opinion? Why or why not? I don't think society would necessarily need to expand the definition of family because a lot of people call their friends "brothers" and therefore there is no need to expand the definition.

  102. A family is defined in the dictionary as a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. So, I feel that there does not have to be shared blood or any legal document saying you are family. I think that a family is just a group of people that feel strongly for one another. And yes in some cases friends can fill the role of a family. For example, if you move away for college and spend Thanksgiving there, you still might have a group of friends in which you feel strongly tied to spend the holiday with. With my family, there is my blood mom her husband and my half brother on my mom's side and my full sister. Even though my brother steps dad and I aren't entirely related though I still treat them with as much love as I would my sister or mother. So blood or legal documents doesn't mean anything when it comes to family.

  103. To me, family means the people who are close to you. They can be blood-related or they can just be someone that you trust and supports you. Family is people who are important in my life and it would be hard to live without them. My immediate family is made up of my mom, my dad, my sister, and my brother. They all love me and I love them, even when my brother and sister get a little annoying. My pop spends a lot of time with me and he is very important to me. I think that friends are also family because they are an important part of my life. My family supports me in everything I do and I know they will love me and stand by me. Family is people who I can trust to tell them things that I wouldn't tell others.

  104. Family to me is by blood and by bond. I think that if you share the same DNA then yes you are family but then also I do think that friends can be considered family too. Those friends that you have known since you were a child or a friend that you just have a really good bond with deserve to be named family. My family is everyone that shares DNA with me and then a few of my friends that have been through everything with me. Family plays a huge role in my life and I think family is one of the most important things in a person's life. I think that friendships and romantic relationships are different and but also the same at the same time. I think a romantic relationship is a friendship except with a new level added to it. A level that makes the relationship a little more personal and meaningful. I think that every person has their own view on what a fulfilling life is, if it is just a single long-term relationship then great but if it's to have a lot of different relationships that's great too. The view of how fulfilling your life is is up to you and no one else can decide that. I think society needs a more expansive definition of “family” because they want everyone to connect one way or another.

  105. Family is such a simple yet complex thing. It’s such a vital thing, but we overlook it so many times. Does it really have anything to do with being biologically related? I am a family-oriented type of person. But even so, sometimes I wonder why I love my family the way I do. Affection with family is different than any other affection. It’s different from the affection for a new game that just came out. It’s different from the affection that one may have for their favorite food. But really, why do you love your “family?” Do you love your blood family because they birthed you? Or is it some deep feeling of being nurtured and loved, no matter what you did or what you turn into? I think it doesn’t matter if one is related by blood. It matters more about the feeling you get from being around them. The aura of safehold and support. A family can be made of anyone, bonded by blood or not. It can be anyone that makes you feel loved.

  106. Family isn’t just people that are related to you, share the same blood as you, or even live under the same roof as you. Sometimes the people I choose to connect with and love are just as important to me as my biological family. Which leads me to the point that the people you consider family are the ones there when you are in need of support, love, or care and not just relational ties. The family we create by choice are just as important as the people who we are directly related to by blood. Sometimes I can’t tell my family serious problems because most of them are a different generation so they just can’t understand your modern day problems. This is also why the family we meet and communicate to by choice is so much easier to connect with. They are living in the same world as you and you are most likely going through very similar problems as you. At the end of the day, whoever you consider being your family, will always show you this unconditional love and endless support that will keep you moving forward in life.

  107. I feel as if a family doesn’t have to be connected through a line of blood that goes back generations. It can be connected through bonds that are meant to be shared with anyone that deserves it. This can include family and friends. I see my family as people that show love and affection towards me. Sometimes I may take it for granted, or may feel as if the love isn’t present, but when I think deep down and put it into consideration, I know that endearment is there. But this doesn’t mean that I have a set definition for “family”. A family can range from having one mom and one dad that have children, or two gay men that have an adopted son. It all doesn’t matter. I can also see my close friends as family, because they portray those same values a family may convey. This leads to my point that friendships can be as important as romantic relationships. As long as you have someone that genuinely cares for you, and shows you that you matter, that’s mostly all you need. Just because one may not be as important in society (friendships being “inferior”), that doesn’t mean we have to go by that perception. This is why society sometimes doesn’t always play a good role in certain things. When we talk about topics like this, everyone has something different to say because they have different feelings about it, so we shouldn’t shove “definitions” down their throats and let those people believe them. So overall, as long as you have that love apparent, a family’s job is to build upon it.

  108. In my opinion, I don’t think that there is such thing as a “perfect” family.No matter how many parents you have, or if everyone is related biologically. A family to me is a safe place filled with people who you trust and depend on, and they can do the same for you. It’s also filled with people who love, care and support you, despite what you like and don’t like, and what you believe in. For example, in my family is me, my mom, my step-dad, my two brothers, and my sister. Even though everyone in my family knows that I and my stepdad are not biologically related they don’t say anything about us calling each other family. You know why? Because we are a family. I don’t let anyone tell me that we’re not because when I need him he is there for me and when he needs me I am there for him. I also know that without my family I would be nothing. If you think about it without my family I wouldn’t be alive. And if I was alive I wouldn’t be for long because I would have no one to guide me through life. I could never imagine myself in a different family. I just think that the world needs to change its perspective on what family is. In today’s world family is a mom, a dad, and some kids and they have to all be biologically related and that's just not true. I family can have two mom, three dads, one mom, one dad, and however many children. And here’s the thing they don’t all have to be related by blood. The thing that makes a family a family is love.

  109. @Na'Dera White Love speaks a million words. It truly is the most important trait of a family.

  110. In my opinion, love is what holds a family together, not biological relationships. The bonds you share with others is what brings you together. Family are the people you go to in times of trouble and distress. They are the people who are by your side in your darkest hours and most troubling times. It doesn't matter how "dysfunctional" a family is, because our hardships are meant to bring us closer. Your family is your home, and home is the place with the people you love. Family is love, and love has no boundaries.

  111. @G Jap There is a lot of things that can hold a family together but i think the main thing that holds family together is trust. If i can't trust you that doesn't mean i'm not going to love you. trust is the main thing that a family, friendships, and relationships need. For example if one of my family members went behind my back and did something shady i would feel like i cant trust them no more but i can love them even if i don't trust them. I think its very easy to love somebody but without trust i don't think you would have a relationship, friendship or a good family bond.

  112. In my mind, the definition of a "family" is a group of people that accepts everyone else with in the group. No, it doesn't have to have a happy family with a roof over their heads, and it doesn't have to be filled with children conceived through sexual reproduction. I think that a family is much simpler than that. It's just caring human beings put together to help and love each other. I was born in China in 2006(I'm 12), and moved to the US in 3rd grade. It's actually really hard. In both countries I truly love both of my families, even though I had 2 different fathers and one mom. But having multiple families can also give you a lot more support. Any group can be a family, whether it’s an after school club, a neighborhood, or even an entire country.

  113. I feel that a family can be anyone you want it to be, it could be a friend or even people who you just met. A family is a group of individuals who love each other and care about each other just as much, no matter if it’s a real family or just a group of friends, they can become your family as easily as your real one.

  114. Family to me is people who i can come to with anything and i can trust. Most of my friends i call sisters because i consider them family. My mom and dad was never married when the had me and my older brother but the they broke up and years later my mom got married. I have to deal with arguments with my mom and dad. I think not having your mom and dad together can cause problems in a family. What matters the most is that family love one another and trust because without trust relationships can be broke and i know from experience.

  115. Family to me is anyone that I live my life with, this includes all close members of my social circle, parents, siblings and other elders that are important to me. Not only is it just this extension of people but it is also those I participate with on my sports teams, where we are very close and are indeed a family as well. Family are those who are therefore you night and day. Relating to the author’s personal experiences in the article, my family is also torn apart into different households. As much as I would love for my parents to be together again in the same home, I have learned to support their separate ways as adults. Sharing a home with others that I was not raised with is different, but also a good experiences. It shows me that there are so many different types of people and they each have their own “normal”, including what their household consist of. My family is not normal to some but it is to me, because they make up who I am. Everyone has different types of relationships and connections, no matter who they are with, the are seen as family. Therefore, all families are “perfect” because they are all unique to who you are.

  116. Family to me is anyone that I live my life with, this includes all close members of my social circle, parents, siblings and other elders that are important to me. Not only is it just this extension of people but it is also those I participate with on my sports teams, where we are very close and are indeed a family as well. Relating to the author’s personal experiences in the article, my family is also torn apart into different households. As much as I would love for my parents to be together again in the same home, I have learned to support their separate ways as adults. Sharing a home with others that I was not raised with is different, but also a good experiences. It shows me that there are so many different types of people and they each have their own “normal”, including what their household consist of. My family is not normal to some but it is to me, because they make up who I am. Everyone has different types of relationships and connections, no matter who they are with, the are seen as family. Therefore, all families are “perfect” because they are all unique to who you are.

  117. Claire Haug writes," Family should be, above all else, about love- I hope we can all agree on that." I couldn't agree with this statement more. Family should be the people you choose to love, whether they share the same blood or not. I've known my best friend for over a decade and our families mingle together all the time. Her house is mine and my house is hers. We live five minutes away from each other and our siblings all carpool together when needed. She's more like a sister than a friend at this point. My point is, family is the people you choose to do life with. They should be people who will support you no matter what. Family doesn't have to be people you're related to, they should be people who make you happy. If that's your biological parents, then they're your family. If it's a teacher or prominent figure in your life, they can be your family too. You make your own family.

  118. The meaning of the term "family" differs for each person. In some cases, family is strictly through blood lines but in other cases family can be anyone who is chosen. In my case, I do not put up limits or boundaries to who is my "family." Family to me is the people I choose to live my life with who support and love me unconditionally. My best friend has become family overtime. Whats mine is hers and whats hers is mine. Our families have become one overtime and have even started spending holidays together. My point being, family has no boundaries. It is not confined to the people of blood, but instead the people you choose to love and have a part of your life.

  119. Family to me does not mean that someone has parents or siblings biologically. I believe that if you have a good relationship with someone or with someone that has been in your life for a long time and you communicate with them on a good level, then they are considered family. My family is determined on how well I know that person and how well we can communicate, blood I consider my family, but through marriage I do not. My family helps me when I need it and can provide things for me and let me act anyway i want around them and I will provide the same things back to them.

  120. Family to me, can come from anywhere. Family can be biological (“blood”), or nonbiological. To me family is being around anyone who give me a since of comfort, or makes me feel like I am home. I grew up with my biological aunts nonbiological niece,and to this day she is my best friend. I call her parents “aunt, and uncle,” despite the fact that we have no relation. I call them “aunt” and “ uncle” because they treat me as one of there own. In Claire Hungs article, I think she is trying to express the same message that, family is simply based from love and comfort. “ Family should be above all, about love,” Hung states after expressing how there is nothing wrong with untraditional families. We are all some how connected, into one big family tree, and although we might not all be blood, why should that stop me from treating someone as if they were my blood.

  121. @Isabella Clucas I completely agree, I believe that having a strong relationship with a friend qualifies them as family.

  122. Family is more than just a bloodline. I agree with Claire Haug's statement, "Family should be, above all else, about love." Whether you spend the most time with your teammates, your friends, or your immediate family, they can all have a special place in your life. I consider myself to have many different families because they hardly ever cross paths in my life, but they are all equally important to me. I have a family with my teammates after spending so much time with them from practice to games and tournaments. We have been through highs together winning tournaments and lows together running fitness tests the day after losing a tournament. I have a family with all of my friends that I know from different places. There are my church friends that I spend a lot of time with and have become very close with, school friends that I've known for ten years that I have spent so much of my time around, as well as friends that live far away but I have known for such a long time that I can't remember not being friends with them. These people are all a part of my family because I couldn't see my life the same without them in it. Lastly, there is also my immediate family including my parents, brother, cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Some of these people I see more regularly than others, but we are all related by blood. We always have each other's backs and we enjoy spending time together. Family is whatever you want it to be, but for me it is more than just a bloodline.

  123. Family to me is everyone I care about. Whether they are related by blood or just a super close friend does not matter, because if I care so much about someone then I think of them as family. I don’t believe there is a such thing as having a normal family. Family has so many different meanings to so many people and that is why there cannot be a such thing as a “normal family.” Claire Haug who is the author of, “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway?” states, “Family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that. Perhaps it’s time for us to prioritize finding love through community and friendships in the same way many of us prioritize finding romantic love. Maybe one day that will be conventional.” She creates a great point as to what family should truly be. Many of us prioritize family and love as being in a romantic relationship or being bound by blood but maybe we should think of friendships in this same way. I couldn’t agree more with this statement as I believe friendships should be just as accepted as family through love.

  124. My family is my number one priority. I dont feel that anyone has a "normal" family. Everyone has something unique to them that no one will understand. The author, Claire Haug, states that, "Family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that. Perhaps it’s time for us to prioritize finding love through community and friendships in the same way many of us prioritize finding romantic love. Maybe one day that will be conventional." She states what most people are missing. People traditionally feel that a "normal" family is living in the same household, but that is not the case. In my opinion, love should be what bonds and defines a family.

  125. Family is my number one priority. Without them, I would not be the person I am today. Many people have many different living scenarios which makes every family different and unique in their own special ways. Claire Haug sums up family perfectly when she says, "Family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that. Perhaps it’s time for us to prioritize finding love through community and friendships in the same way many of us prioritize finding romantic love. Maybe one day that will be conventional." Most people assume that your family and friends are two separate thing, but I disagree. I have many different families in my life due to volleyball, soccer, school, and vacations. Family is not about sharing the same DNA and blood, it is about who you cherish, love, and care about in your life.

  126. My family comes above anything. My family molded me into the person I am today and am very grateful to have such amazing people in my life. Family is something you can always depend upon, seek guidance from, and also advice. I wouldn't know how to act towards others without the help of my parents, who both helped me understand how to be polite and respectful. My parents also taught me that education is important, and how school will teach you so many things that can help you in life. My sister is someone who I can always depend on. She's always there when I need her and always is a huge help when I need it. My family is filled with love, as we all care and love each other through good times and bad. Furthermore, my family is my everything and I'll be forever grateful to have them in my life.

  127. Family does not have one true definition, or a set of criteria. Family is what you make it, it is who you choose to let be a part of your life. Family is a select group of people that have the privilege of witnessing the experience that is you and making your life better while you improve theirs. Everyone has definitely heard that age old line, "You can't choose family, family is for life." However, I beg to differ. Just because you live with people and they have a blood relation to you does not mean that you are entitled to care about them if they don't care for you, you have no obligation to better the lives of individuals who wouldn't do the same to you. For example, if a boy comes out as gay to his parents and they lash out and tell him that he is nothing to them, not only will that boy need to take the emotional impact of his parents love fading away just for being who he is, but he will also question his love for them as well. How could he love people that despise his personality and the way he is? How could he love someone that won't support his identity? These are the questions that some kids will ask themselves everyday, and the most important one is:" Do I really belong here?" We all deserve a family and we all deserve happiness. These two aspects of life are usually related, so if you need to cut certain toxic people out of your life and add new more loving people than so be it. This is your world to enjoy, don't ever let anyone get in the way of your happiness.

  128. In my life my family is one of the most important things in my life. I know that they have shaped me to be the best person that I am today. I believe that having strong family connections is one of the most important things to have in life. I do believe that friends can become part of your family. In my opinion family are people who support you and have your back when life gets hard.

  129. I believe that your family are the people you can count on and go to for anything. They always have your back and are always there for you. Family is one of the most important things in our lives, blood or picked.

  130. To me, my family is anyone close to me and my direct family. Many of my parents friends are considered my aunts and uncles. My family members usually act like mentors and caretakers. They raise me and take care of me, shaping me into someone who can take care of himself. In response to Mr. Hughs, I do agree that friendships can be just as important as relationships. As described earlier, I have aunts and uncles who are related through strong connections with my parents. Friendships can form bonds just as strong as family bonds. I think that some of my friends and I will form bonds like that someday. In fact, last year my best friend's mom got married to my cousin, so we really are family now. I do believe society can define family differently. Family is much more than those you share blood with, family is connection with those you hold dear. Family is making a bond of trust and gratitude so strong that it can never be broken, no matter how much you test it. You're friends can definitely be you're family, in fact they can be the best family you could ever ask for.

  131. Family is an abstract concept. To me, there are no boundaries to who or what can be in a person's family. As stated in the article, “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway?”, the writer Claire Haug writes about how families can be “unconventional” and still be a family. I agree with this idea & personally think that a family is dynamic and is only defined by the people in the family. For example, getting a dog or adopting a child is considered as adding someone to the family, this shows that families can change according to the original family member(s). I think that families are complicated social groups that cannot be defined by one specific definition or specification. In essence, just because something is considered to be normal doesn’t mean it's the only option.

  132. To me, family is anyone that treats us with respect while still being able to have fun and goof around with. People you can count on and tell anything without the fear that they'll tell others. I think blood is important but it shouldn't matter as much as everyone thinks it should, it's all about love.

  133. Family is an abstract concept to me because I believe there are no boundaries to who or what can be in a person's family. As stated in the article, “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway?”, the writer Claire Haug writes about how families can be “unconventional” and still be a family. I agree with this idea and personally think that a family is dynamic and only the people in the family can choose who is part of it. For example, getting a dog or adopting a child is considered as adding someone to the family which shows that families can change according to the original family member(s) choices. I think that families are socially complicated and cannot be defined by one specific definition. In essence, just because something is considered to be normal doesn’t mean it's the only option as writer Claire Haug illustrated in her article.

  134. I believe that a family is made up of the ones you love and feel most comfortable with. The people who you can rely on for support and aren't afraid to tell them something. A family doesn't have to be biologically related to be a family.

  135. Family does not have one specific definition. They are the ones that constantly push you forward and love you unconditionally whether they be blood related or not. Individuals keep harmful people in their life and love them simply because they are “family” when really, that “family” is harming them more than anything. For several, breaking that chain with those under the the family title is impossible no matter what they do. Family should be the ones you feel most comfortable with, the ones you never hesitate to laugh out loud with, the ones that will hold you when you cry and the ones that challenge your skills because they want what is best for you. Everyone has a different type of family, some feel most comfortable with their school peers while others love the ones that are under their roof. I am lucky enough to have been blessed with both. I have supportive and kind hearted blood related family but also, an equally as supportive group at school. I agree with Haug when she states, “Family should be, above all else, about love...” It does not matter how many people are in your family or where your family lays but, it's the love you show them and they show you that matters most.

  136. Family is an abstract concept to me because I believe there are no boundaries to who or what can be in a person's family. As stated in the article, “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway?”, the writer Claire Haug writes about how families can be “unconventional” and still be a family. I agree with this idea and personally think that a family is dynamic and only the people in the family can choose who is part of it. For example, getting a dog or adopting a child is considered as adding someone to the family which shows that families can change according to the original family member(s) choices. I think that families are socially complicated and cannot be defined by one specific definition. In essence, just because something is considered to be normal doesn’t mean it's the only option as writer Claire Haug illustrated in her article.

  137. My parents have always taught me that family is chosen. It is the people you want in your life that are going to love and support you unconditionally. Your family doesn't have to be biological; it can also be close friendships. Claire Haug, author of "What's a 'Normal' Family Anyway?" states, "Family should be, above all else, about love — I hope we can all agree on that. Perhaps it’s time for us to prioritize finding love through community and friendships in the same way many of us prioritize finding romantic love." She is saying family is rooted from love, not blood. And it's important to keep that in mind.

  138. Family is more than blood, but about love. I know many people in my life that I consider family that aren’t blood related to me. My best friend, my best friends family, and my nanny to name a few are people I think of as family too. Family isn’t the people you live with, or go to family reunions with, but the people who love you. My family is filled with many different people. My direct family which is my mom, dad, and sister who give me unconditional love, and support. My best friend who is always there for me, and ready to defend me at any time. My best friends family who is my second family because Im with them almost as much. All these people in my life I consider family because they support, love, and make me a better person. Family can also be different communities like churches, neighbors, and or schools. My definition of family is people who love each other no matter what, support, and uplift each other.

  139. Family is an abstract concept to me because I believe there are no boundaries to who or what can be in a person's family. As stated in the article, “What’s a ‘Normal’ Family, Anyway?”, the writer Claire Haug writes about how families can be “unconventional” and still be a family. I agree with this idea and personally think that a family is dynamic and only the people in the family can choose who is part of it. For example, getting a dog or adopting a child is considered as adding someone to the family which shows that families can change according to the original family member(s) choices. I think that families are socially complicated and cannot be defined by one specific definition. In essence, just because something is considered to be normal doesn’t mean it's the only option as writer Claire Haug illustrated in her article.

  140. The most truthful statement regarding family: "Family should be, above all else, about love". I believe that this sentence is relatable to almost all people. Family does not have to be just the people that you share genetic similarities with. They are the people which which you share a special bond and confide in. Family is a top priority in my life. Family comes first before school, friends, or anything else that may draw my attention. However, although I have my blood related family, there are also other members of my family of whom I have no genetic relations. I have my best friend since the sixth grade, the brother that I never had, who has defended me since I can remember. These are the people who complete my family, because I couldn't get through life without each and every one of them by my side. You don't choose your family, you just have to love them.

  141. The confines of the word family have changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Everyone has a different meaning for the word as everyone has different families, but ‘normalcy’ is not one of the deafening factors. Haug writes in her article the statistics of two parent households have dropped from the 87 percent to 69 percent since 1960. With those stats, it is nearly impossible to say everyone thinks family has to be blood related. The perception of family should be based upon one thing. Love. Whether that be friendship or romantically, love is the glue that holds a family together. Haug agrees saying “Family should be, above all else, about love.” In my opinion, family is the people you rely on and share compassion for and with. If everyone based family upon the ‘normal standards’, it would exclude so many differentiated families and people in flexible situations, such as Noa Kaufhold. Family should not be confined by standards it should be defined by the people you have in it.