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Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual's specific relationship with them.In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children.Olivia Harris states this confusion is not accidental, but indicative of the familial ideology of capitalist, western countries that pass social legislation that insists members of a nuclear family should live together, and that those not so related should not live together; despite the ideological and legal pressures, a large percentage of families do not conform to the ideal nuclear family type.

A "matrifocal" family consists of a mother and her children.As a definition, "a family or domestic group is matrifocal when it is centred on a woman and her children.In this case, the father(s) of these children are intermittently present in the life of the group and occupy a secondary place. Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters.Members of the extended family may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law.

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