Family is the country of heart! Whatever the type of family, it is a place that offers shelter, love, affection, warmth, care and protection so cherish it. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a family.

Despite thousands of years of civilization and human evolution the family was and continues to be the core unit of society. Changing lifestyles in modern society have affected families but still the family is the place, the cocoon, offering comfort, companionship, security, protection and warmth. Family structure changes but essential qualities remain. The way families interact within themselves is what plays a decisive role in a child's growth and development. In the current urban Indian context, in cities, families are smaller with only the father, the mother and the children.

Joint Families or Extended families: Traditional minded Indians may still live in joint families and it is a big happy environment when all members are well adjusted or a place of strife and discontent. A large traditional joint family may have grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and even cousins all living under one roof. Alas, it is a tradition that is dying out as people move to cities; children are educated and make their own way in life. A joint family offers so much for everyone: support, shared tasks, shared moments of joy and grief and an environment where children are showered with affection by everyone from grandparents to aunts and uncles. Children also learn the values of sharing and caring given the right guidance and values in the family. Otherwise it could well be turbulence and strained relationships.

Nuclear Families: This is the basic arrangement we find in urban areas. The father is usually the breadwinner and it may happen that both parents work. Such families are usually small with only one child or two at the most. It is up to the parents how the knit and form the fabric of the family. Where a father works, it devolves on the mother to handle all household chores.

Working Parents: Lifestyles and economic pressures often force both parents to work. When they have young children it can become a difficult task to juggle child care with job responsibilities. There is a lot of pressure on both parents and they can be physically and mentally fatigued with the constant demands of job and family requirements. It is difficult to find time for togetherness and to share quality time with each other as well as with children.

Extended Family: From time to time grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins descend on the nuclear family for a vacation or for a special occasion. The moments when everyone gets together can be enjoyable and rewarding. Family members keep in touch and stay connected at an emotional level too and it gives a nice feeling to know that even though they are not near you, your extended family is always there for you.

Single Parents: Such a situation can arise due to divorce or death or when a partner decides not to marry the other. Single parents have a daunting task on their hands. On the one hand they have to work and earn and on the other they have to single-handedly care for their child. Task of a single parent is truly monumental.

Step Family: Quite a few people with children and a family divorce and remarry. Their children may remain with them or stay with the other parent. Adjustment is a huge obstacle in such situations and it takes time and efforts on the part of all involved to settle into a happy relationship. If the child or children are grown up, parents need to inform them of their decision to split and remarry and prepare them for what is in store.

Adopted Families: Sometimes a couple may never be able to have a child and adoption is the only way open to have a child in the family and shower it with love. Adoption in India is a complicated process but when you bring home a child who, hereafter, will be your own, you shower it with love and even spoil it.

Whatever the type of family, it is a place that offers shelter, love, affection, care and protection to cherish.