The family is the most ancient, the very first social institution, and it arose in the society formation conditions. At the first stages of the development of society, relations between women and men, older and younger generations were regulated by tribal and generic traditions and customs, which were based on religious and moral beliefs. With the emergence of the state, the regulation of family relations has acquired a legal character. Legal registration of marriage imposed certain duties not only on the spouses, but also on the state that authorized their union. From that time, the social control was carried out not only by public opinion, but also by the state. The family has several definitions in terms of different sciences and approaches. Its typical and most important features are:
• a small group of people,
• these people are united by marriage or blood relationship (parents, children, brothers, sisters),
• the family, as a social institution, performs certain social functions (the main are reproductive, children socialization, and children care), and society therefore gives the family the means to perform these functions. Such a means, for example, are the institution of marriage, and the institution of divorce that arose later.
The structure of the family is the cluster of relations between its members, which includes: the structure of kinship, the structure of power and leadership, the structure of roles, the structure of communications.
To understand the family as a social institution, the analysis of role relationships in the family is very important. A family role is one of the social roles of a person in society. Family roles are determined by the place and functions of the individual in the family group and are divided into marital (wife, husband), parents (mother, father), children (son, daughter, brother, sister), intergenerational and intrasocial (grandfather, grandmother, elder, younger) etc. Role relationships in the family can be characterized by role-playing consent or role conflict. In the modern family, we can observe a process of weakening the family as a social institution, changing its social functions. The family loses its positions in the socialization of individuals, in the organization of leisure and other functions. Traditional roles, in which a woman gave birth and brought up children, did the housekeeping, and the husband was the muster of the house, owner of the property, economically supported the family, replaced with roles, in which the woman began to play an equal or higher role with the man. This changed the nature of the family's functioning and led to positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, this helped to promote the equality of women and men, on the other hand, compounded conflict situations, and reduced birth rate.