Day 12 – Q 2. It is true that family can teach values. However, don’t you feel that family itself is declining as a social institution? Comment. Do you think individualism is becoming a dominant way of life? (10 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • February 11, 2022
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Ethics Theory, GS 4, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. It is true that family can teach values. However, don’t you feel that family itself is declining as a social institution? Comment. Do you think individualism is becoming a dominant way of life? (10 Marks)

यह सच है कि परिवार मूल्यों की शिक्षा दे सकता है। लेकिन, क्या आपको नहीं लगता कि एक सामाजिक संस्था के रूप में परिवार का पतन हो रहा है? टिप्पणी करें। क्या आपको लगता है कि व्यक्तिवाद जीवन का एक प्रमुख तरीका बनता जा रहा है?


Students are expected to write about the family as a social institution and it’s role in imparting values. Also highlight the recent phenomenon of declining family as institution due to individualism in society as a way of life. Try to conclude with a balanced opinion based on Indian context. 


Social institutions are structures of society like family, education, religion, etc. That fulfil the needs of the society.  The most common way children learn is by observation of everyday life. A child’s learning and socialization are most influenced by their family since the family is the child’s primary social group.


In the long run, values are shaped by the examples set by the family members.

  • Compassion: understanding the suffering of others or self and wanting to do something about it
  • Cooperation: helping your family and friends, returning favors
  • Courage: willingness to do difficult things
  • Equality: believing everyone deserves equal rights and to be treated with respect
  • Fairness: acting in a just way, sharing appropriately
  • Generosity: willingness to give resources, help or time to others
  • Gratitude: showing appreciation to others

However, due to following reasons family as a social institution seems to be losing its influence in shaping collective morality of a society:

  • Carrier oriented, competitive and highly aspirational generations are keeping restraint from so called complicated family structures. Individualism led to assertion of rights and freedom of choices.
  •  It forced generations to see sense of achievement in life through only material prosperity perspective. 
  • Increase in geographically dispersed and fragmented nuclear families due to individualism erodes into emotional bonding and socialization.
  • Dispersed families are exposed to diverse cultural and social values thus impact on collective traditions, ideas.
  • Socio-economic and physical stress of fast paced world provide causing less time for nurturing of younger generations.
  • Increasing divorce and separation rates, domestic violence, inter-generational conflicts, social problems of drug abuse, juvenile delinquency etc. Favours Individualism over collectivism. 
  • Increasing influence of technology, internet, social media easily make diverse ideas, cultural aspect available to individuals and groups.
  • Family as an institution is lagging behind in keeping pace with changing values of globalized world. E.g.: Global outlook is now accepting girls as equal stakeholder but restrictive family morals are still not letting girls out.
  • The most of the socializing functions today, like child raising, education, occupational training, caring of elderly, etc., have been taken over by the outside agencies, such as crèches, media, nursery schools, hospitals, occupational training centres, hospice institutions, funeral contractors, etc. These tasks were once exclusively performed by the family.


However, there is need to understand structural changes from joint family to nuclear family cannot be called as decline of family system. Indian family system certainly is transition from collectivism to individualism. Indian society also inhabits unique feature of fusion and fission of family in which even though some members of family live separately in different locations still remain as one family.

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