Family Subculture At Different Life Stages Of The Family


The article presents the results of scientific research related to the study of the phenomenon of family subculture. Each family is distinguished by the presence of a unique way of life, which has its own functions, status structure, rules and laws, which together creates a unique subculture. The family subculture is individual, peculiar and original, noticeably different from other social groups in attitude, values, way of life, behavior. Based on the analysis of foreign and domestic researchers’ work, an overview of the main trends in the development of the family at the present stage is given, the specificity of the family subculture and its main features are revealed. The pilot study involved representatives of families with different family background. The results of the study showed that in its development the family subculture undergoes certain changes (age-related changes of the family members themselves, the life situation in which the family is, the expansion of family roles, etc.), however, its presence in the family is necessary in order to stabilize relations between family members, serve as a socializing and educational potential for the child’s development in the family.

Keywords: Family, family subculture, family values, family traditions and customs, family socialization


In the modern world, where the pace of life has significantly accelerated, the share of “digital space” and the availability of information has increased, there is an intensive restructuring, and in some cases the destruction of established ideas about the essence of the family, the role of men and women in it, the meaning of parenting, motherhood and fatherhood in a person's life. In society, more and more often there is an opinion that the family is being destroyed, traditional values (love, care, empathy, responsibility for children) are leaving it, the readiness of young people to have children is decreasing, intra-family relations are becoming more complicated (conflicts, misunderstanding, loneliness in the family), the number of illegitimate births is increasing and, as a consequence, the presence of incomplete families. At the same time, a number of studies present results that testify to the preservation of the influence of the family on the value attitudes of young people in the structure of their life values (Moskvicheva et al., 2019). The family remains for a person that “island” where he can receive help, support, protection, not to mention the child, for whom the family acts as an environment for primary socialization.

Of particular relevance for theory and practice is the study of the phenomenon of the family subculture, which makes it possible to understand certain forms and methods of regulating relations between members of a particular family. A huge area is opening up for psychological and pedagogical research of the family subculture and its significance in the formation and development of both each family member and the family as a whole.

Problem Statement

An analysis of foreign and domestic studies has revealed a continuing interest in the family as a phenomenon that, despite various socio-political, economic, demographic upheavals, continues to exist and develop. Sociologists speculate about either the deinstitutionalization of the family or its diversification (Abrutyn, 2016; Billari & Liefbroer, 2016; Gurko, 2020; Knapp & Wurm, 2017 and others). A number of studies are aimed at studying the inner world of the family, the dynamics of its development (Hess & Handel, 2016; Widmer, 2016), the influence of the home environment (microclimate) on the attitude towards the family (Dobriakov et al., 2020; Nartova-Bochaver et al., 2018). Rean (2018), Kuperberg (2019), Cheung et al. (2019), Moskvicheva et al. (2019) and others raise issues related to the functioning of the family as a system, changing the place of the family in the hierarchy of values, and the attitude of young people to the family as a value. However, there are practically no works examining the influence of the family subculture on the vital activity and attitudes of all family members.

Research Questions

What is the specificity of the family subculture, and what is its role in the process of family life?

Does the family subculture change as the family grows up and gains life experience?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study was to reveal the essence and characteristics of the family subculture and conduct an experimental study to identify the influence of the family subculture on the family life at different stages of its existence.

Research Methods

  • The theoretical study of the phenomenon of the family subculture was based on a comparative analysis of foreign and domestic sources.
  • The pilot study involved 80 respondents:

* Age: 22 to 65 years old.

* Gender: women – 82%, men – 18%, married.

  • The typology of families according to various characteristics is as follows:

* by the number of parents – 78% complete families; 22% – incomplete;

* by the number of children in a family – 61% – with one child, 16% – with two children, 14% – large families, 9% – childless families;

* by family experience: from 0 to 4 years of marriage – 25%; from 5 to 9 years old – 25%; from 10 to 19 years old – 25%; more than 20 years of marriage – 25%.

  • The following instruments were used for the study:

* Author's questionnaire "Features of the family subculture in your family", including open and closed questions. The questionnaire was compiled based on the structure and characteristics of the family subculture.

* Methodology of M. Rokeach “Value orientations” (Rokeach, 2009).


Specificity and signs of the family subculture

Each individual family has certain specific and sometimes unique features of the household warehouse. It creates its own subculture in which one or another of its functions and values are manifested.

Throughout the life of the family, the family subculture, with each new transition of the family to another stage, smoothly changes and adapts both to the age characteristics of family members and to the living conditions of the family. It can represent a certain list of obligations, a system of values, methods of activity, forms of communication and models of behavior between family members, which is governed by the traditions that exist in the local (national) culture to which this human group (family) belongs.

The family subculture is based on family values, which are created and preserved by each family as soon as it is created. However, the system of family values of a young family may include those values that existed in the parental family. Then we are talking about continuity and transmission from generation to generation of family traditions, norms and rules.

In particular Zitzman (n.d.) includes in family values – Moral Values, Personal Conduct and Social Behavior, Spiritual and Religious Values, Family Work Ethic, Educational Values, Family Time, Family Traditions, Financial Values, Family Health and Fitness, Family Entertainment (TV, Movies, Internet, Music, etc.).

Investigating the concept of “family subculture”, we found that this term is mentioned by Aleshina (1989) in the classification of the main roles in the family:

  • Responsible for the material support of the family;
  • The owner is the hostess;
  • The role of the infant caretaker;
  • The role of the caregiver;
  • The role of the organizer of the family subculture (family traditions);
  • Role of the person in charge of maintaining family ties;
  • The role of the “psychotherapist”.

If we take as a basis Mudrik’s (2016) idea that a subculture is a set of specific features (norms, values, stereotypes, tastes, etc.) that affect the lifestyle of certain real groups of people, then family values, norms of behavior, can be considered signs of a family subculture, interactions and relationships between family members, status structure, sources of information, aesthetic preferences, leisure, family slang, folklore.

Consequently, is a list of obligations, values, modes of activity, forms of communication and models of behavior between family members, specific for each family, regulated by the traditions of the local (national) culture that this family adheres to.

In the family subculture, there is a special system of ideas and relations of family members to each other, to the environment – this picture is formed due to the process of interaction between family members and their joint activities. They are reflected in Table 01.

Table 1 - Table 1.
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Ginott (1996) noted that every normal family lives a rich inner life, daily creates the mental and spiritual world of individuality, brings it out into the big world. Each family has its own order, its own lifestyle and system of values, traditions and customs. Everything is important for the family way of life: when and how they get up, how they have breakfast, what they talk about, how they say goodbye, parting for the day, how they spend evenings, weekends and holidays. In a harmonious family, whole rituals are formed that accompany the usual moments of life. The person, in turn, absorbs the family routine, gets used to it, takes it for granted. Each family creates its own, sometimes even unique family subculture.

In the context of the characteristics of the family subculture, in our opinion, it is necessary to dwell in more detail on family traditions – this is what makes a family special, brings it together. Some traditions are inherited from parents, others are created by people already in their families. Passing from generation to generation, traditions, adapting to the conditions of modern life, do not remain frozen, given once and for all. Their purpose in the family remains unchanged: they are called upon to serve to strengthen family and kinship ties and relationships that function as mechanisms for the transmission of such personally and socially valuable human qualities as love, kindness, compassion, mutual understanding, and willingness to help a loved one.

Traditions allow a person to feel their connection with grandmothers, grandfathers, common ancestors, and foster a sense of pride in their family. Recently, people have a growing need to develop their own traditions that help the family get together more often in order to feel like a real family. We associate the growth of this need with the fact that with intensive professional activity a person's need to create such a corner of life where he could feel comfortable increases. As a result, there is a growing trend towards spending summer vacations together, organizing family events and striving to create and maintain family traditions. Such traditions contribute to convergence, identification of oneself as a family member, they are able to raise a person's self-esteem when he realizes that at home he is not only fed, that this is a place where you can share your experiences, new impressions (Zvyaglova, 2020).

Thus, the family subculture acts as a regulator of relationships between family members, organizes family life, contributes to its cultural enrichment, it also acts as a mechanism for rallying and maintaining its favorable emotional background.

Family subculture in the context of experimental research

An experimental study of respondents with different family experience was carried out in two stages. At the first stage, the respondents were asked to rank the value orientations that are inherent in their family members. When choosing value orientations, we turned to the methodology of Rokeach (2009) “Value orientations”.

According to the results of the conducted methodology, the priority value orientations for all age cycles of the family are. Moreover, these 4 value orientations shift insignificantly depending on the maturation of the family. For example, love is the prevailing value only for very young families. However, at the subsequent stages of family development, it remains significant. Health becomes a priority value for the subsequent stages of family development. Almost all respondents ranked health in the first place according to the degree of importance. With minor changes, such value orientations as trust (from 75% to 85%) and tolerance (from 80% to 90%) were noted. A certain similarity in value orientations is observed in very young and old marriages in terms of values such as honesty and wisdom in life.

At the second stage, the respondents were asked to answer the questions of the questionnaire, which included those signs of the subculture that were characterized earlier.

Answering the question the respondents answered as follows: the majority plays several roles in the family, the most common roles are “husband-wife” (78%), followed by roles “father-mother” (91%), families with experience – “grandfather – grandmother” (30%). It should be noted that very young families singled out social roles – “son – daughter” and “brother – sister”. This is due to the fact that representatives of very young families live together with their parents and, therefore, perform, in addition to the roles of husband – wife and / or father – mother in their own family, the role of son – daughter and / or brother – sister in the parental family. If in the first years of married life there is a limited number of social roles (husband – wife), then as the family develops, their number increases noticeably (husband – wife, father – mother, grandfather – grandmother).

Answering to the question, “what rules of interaction characteristic of the members of your family”, the views of the respondents was as follows: in the families of respondents there is a trust relationship, the majority of these families were from an old family, a close emotional ties inherent in middle and old marriages, co family and family rules are observed in families of young, middle and elderly.

Answering the question “what sources of information do your family members use in everyday life” the opinions of the respondents were distributed in such a way that during the analysis of the data we did not see a big difference in the sources of information, therefore we did not present the results of the study on various life cycles of the family, they are considered in a generalized form. As a result of data processing, the use of the Internet was revealed by absolutely all families, regardless of their length of service. Modern information technologies occupy an increasingly significant place and are gradually replacing the printed editions. Even representatives of elderly families who are fond of books and visit theaters actively use Internet resources to obtain the necessary information. Among all families, the most common sources of information are the media, in this category we included television, radio, newspapers and magazines. The survey showed that more than half of the respondents indicated television first of all (30% out of 54%).

. Answering the question, the respondents singled out culinary creativity and interior decoration in the house, musical tastes are preferred by very young families, young and middle-sized families.

When answering the question, all respondents answered that the most common family leisure activities are outdoor trips, especially when representatives of a very young and elderly marriage often spend such leisure time. Hobbies and sports activities are mainly chosen by very young and young families, cultural events are characteristic of very young families. Other options for joint family leisure, suggested by the respondents, should also be noted: meeting with friends, theater, cafes, shopping trips.

The answers to the question: are presented in Table 02. We did not divide the vocabulary by age categories of the family, however, I would like to note that the majority of respondents said that many words are invented by children. In addition, we note that additional vocabulary arises with the appearance of grandchildren.

Table 2 - Table 2.
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Analysis of the table allows us to judge that the respondents' families have peculiar words that characterize their family members. The respondents also indicated words that are simply used only in their families. Basically, this kind of vocabulary exists in families with children (young, middle and elderly marriages), many of the presented words were invented by children, some of these phrases have been living in the family for quite a long time. At the same time, it can be noted that representatives of all families with different experience love to call each other in joking words in an affectionate and unusual way.

Answers to the question: “ made it possible to see that the respondents' families have their own traditions throughout the entire life cycle of the family. The most common of them are joint holidays and the celebration of special dates, along with them, for very young and old families, the tradition of planting a tree in honor of the day of marriage and / or the appearance of a newborn in the family is characteristic. Outdoor trips are noted by representatives of very young, middle-aged and elderly families, in some of the answers the respondents included work and recreation in the country. Also, the respondents noted such traditions as joint leisure, watching the news in the evening, honoring Orthodox holidays, evening walks, going for a walk to the Kremlin.

. When answering the question 86% of respondents noted that there are stories in their families that are passed down from generation to generation, the rest of respondents answered that there is no such thing in their families.


We found out that the family subculture appears from the moment of the birth of a very young family and exists until the end of the family's life. Based on the results of the experimental study, we determined that the features of the family subculture are reflected in the family at all stages of its life cycle.

The family subculture leaves its mark on all spheres of family activity. It regulates family life and relationships between its members, helps the child gain social experience, get to know the values, feel a favorable atmosphere in the family through family traditions and customs, and forms a moral and spiritual climate.


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Cite this article as:

Zvyaglova, M. (2021). Family Subculture At Different Life Stages Of The Family. In A. G. Shirin, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, E. Y. Ignateva, & N. A. Shaydorova (Eds.), Education in a Changing World: Global Challenges and National Priorities, vol 114. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 736-744). European Publisher.