Family Types: What Are They?

Live Well Diary Team

This post includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure statement.

Family Types

Family relationships, without a doubt, are not all the same. Whether they’re multi-generational, single parent, extended or don’t meet the “nuclear” standard, each arrangement is as unique as the people involved.

No family is “perfect,” but each one can find its own way to work well together.

The Common Family Types

Parents, Children and Siblings (Nuclear Family)

The nuclear family is one of the most common family types.

The dictionary definition of a parent “is one that begets or brings forth offspring and/or a person who brings up and cares for another.”

A child or children is “a young person especially between infancy and puberty” according to Merriam Webster.

From Merriam Webster’s definition, siblings are “one of two or more individuals having one common parent.”

Extended Family

If you’re part of an extended family, you know the benefits of having more than one set of people in your life.

Extended family members can be helpful when times get tough, and they often share similar values and interests as those who live with them.

But even if your immediate family is composed entirely of nuclear members — parents, children and maybe a dog or two — don’t feel like that’s the only kind that exists; after all, there’s no rule against forming a new relationship with someone else’s relatives!

Extended family relationships are built on trust—and sometimes they grow stronger over time as bonds develop between their members.

grandparents with grandchildren

Grandparents are part of the extended family.

They are defined in the dictionary as the father or mother of a person’s father or mother.

Some grandparents are involved in the daily lives of their grandchildren, while others are more detached from the parenting process. Grandparents need to maintain an active role in their grandkids’ lives. Still, it’s also essential for grandparents not to overstep boundaries and take over from parents regarding discipline or other family issues.

Other family structure types

Multi-generational households

The term multi-generational household refers to a family unit where two or more generations of the same family live under the same roof.

It is not just a nuclear family with parents and children; it can also be grandparents, grandchildren, and sometimes even great-grandparents.

Multi-generational households are getting common. As it turns out, the nuclear family model isn’t for everyone. Some people choose to live with their parents or other relatives longer than others.

Stepfamilies/blended families

Some common types of family structures are blended families and step-families.

A stepfamily is defined in the dictionary as “a family formed by two people and the child or children of one or both from a previous relationship.”

Stepfamilies/blended families have their own unique set of challenges, but these can be overcome with some knowledge and open communication.

Adopted Families

Adoption is an option to build a family. Adoption is “the act of legally taking a child to be taken care of as your own.”

It can also be quite complicated and take a long time. Many people find their adoption journey more rewarding than expected, but not all families are suited for this parenting experience.

Foster care families

Foster care is a temporary arrangement. This type is one of the non traditional family types.

Foster children are not adopted by the foster parents, even if they stay in their homes for many years. The goal of foster care families is to eventually return children to their biological families as soon as possible.

Foster care can be a good option for children who require to be removed from their homes for safety reasons. It can also be good when adoptive parents have not been identified yet but need a safe and stable environment for their child(ren) until an adoption plan can be finalised.

Childless Family

A childless family is a family unit that consists of a couple without children.

It may be commonly believed that starting a family is the natural trajectory of life. However, some couples willingly opt to refrain from having children for different reasons. Personal, financial, or medical factors can influence this decision. There are various situations where couples may not prioritise having children.

One such situation is when one or both partners concentrate on their careers or professional growth; another is when they encounter obstacles like infertility or health problems.

The final decision to have children or not rests solely on the individual and their personal beliefs and desires.



Each person in the family has their own role, whether as big as “mom” or as small as “big brother.” The functions might change with time and circumstances, but when everyone plays their part well, the whole family thrives!

So, what’s the takeaway message here? A family will come in all shapes, colours and sizes and is unique.

Watch the Video Summary


“Grandparents meaning.” (accessed October 15, 2022).

“Parents meaning.” (accessed October 15, 2022).

“Stepfamily meaning.” October 15, 2022).

“Adoption meaning.” (accessed October 15, 2022).