Prompt: Describe family government in terms of the five institutional characteristics: sovereignty, hierarchy (authority), law, sanctions, and succession. Offer an opinion on what the source of the family’s sovereignty is.
Family is definitely a government, and should be classified and respected as one. It shares the five crucial characteristics needed for a government to work and function. The first is sovereignty. Most people think of parents, or any other legal guardian. They are respected as the highest authority of the household, and gain the sovereignty when they achieve the label of parents. But its not the label that makes them the sovereign, its the responsibility. The breadwinner of the family gains the power of sovereign, as they are the supporters of the home. I like to think of government as a pyramid, and sovereignty is the base. It needs to be stable and able to provide a steady income to hold up the rest of the household.
The next layer of the pyramid is hierarchy. Everyone in the household needs to understand the hierarchy of their own individual situation if the household is to function smoothly. In most family dynamics the hierarchy starts with the man, closely followed by the woman and farther down the chain the children. But times have changed so drastically that this isn’t always the case anymore. Sometimes the woman will have far more control than the man. Sometimes there’s only one parent, or no parents. This can lead to the older siblings of the children moving higher up the hierarchy chain. In some families the parents include the children in household decisions, giving them more of a say, and therefor a higher place on the chain. Different situations are so varied these days that hierarchies have become rather colorful, but there’s still always one in place if the household wants to have any order.
The next pyramid tier is law. Its held strong by the sovereign, the hierarchy deciding who makes the rules and who obeys the rules. Laws are crucial for a home to run smoothly, as without laws the little ones in the family will run rampant. Basic laws to prevent chaos are always needed to be enforced if a home is to run smoothly.
The next layer is sanctions. They are held up by law, and are the result of either obeying or disobeying said law. Sanctions can be good or bad, depending on if the sovereign in punishing or rewarding. Usually the children are the ones being affected by these, as they are the ones that need the household law enforced. They must learn the negative sanctions they’ll receive if they disobey the law, and the positive sanctions they’ll earn if they follow the law.
The very point of the pyramid is succession. Its what the parents want to grow tall and strong, and use the mentioned methods to advance. Its the child’s future, the ways they grow and prosper. Whether or not (as the name suggests) they’ll succeed, or end up another failure. The parents are the ones that mold and shape this, and they are also the ones who share in the success or failure of their child. Its the top point of the pyramid of family government, and its up to the parents and children if that point touches the stars, or simply crumbles into ruin.