Okay, trying to come at this from a different angle...

I need a more concise way to say "Families for which you are a child and therefore show your siblings and parents" – something that would be suitable for a title of a table/listing. Additionally, I need a more concise way to say "Families for which you are a parent and therefore show your spouses and direct descendants." Again, something that would be suitable for a title of a table/listing.

Ideally I'm looking for a single word to precede "Families" for both titles, but 3 or 4 words at most would be okay as well. I just don't want to put a full sentence as a title.

Originally Asked:

I'm listing two types of families. One where the person is a parent and the other where the person is a child. The title for the section listing families where the person is a parent I'm using "Parental Families". I'm not sure what to use for the title for the section listing families where the person is a child. I really don't thing Childal is a word :)

Per Bradd Szonye's comment:

Are there specific terms for your immediate family including your children, versus your immediate family including your parents?

If there are no specific terms, what the best way to title the two grouping on a report?

Example 1 (Parental Families):

*Person* & Spouse 1 (divorces)
    Child 1
    Child 2
    Child 3

*Person* & Spouse 2 (so there are 2 families)
    Child 4
    Child 5

Example 2 (??? Families):

Spouse 1 & Spouse 2 (first marriage)
    *Person*  (biological)
    Child 2   (biological)
    Child 3   (biological)

Spouse 1 & Spouse 3 (2nd marriage)
    *Person*  (adopted or step)
    Child 2   (adopted or step)
    Child 3   (adopted or step)
    Child 4   (biological)
  • 1
    Children? I'm having difficulty understanding "families where the person is a child". Could you be clearer or give examples?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 20, 2013 at 10:49
  • I worked abroad for a number of years and people kept asking if I had brought my family with me. As a single person at that stage, I understood my family to mean my parents and siblings, while they had intended it to mean my spouse and children.
    – Henry
    Jul 20, 2013 at 11:07
  • @Henry That makes sense, but let's see what the OP means?
    – TrevorD
    Jul 20, 2013 at 12:20
  • 2
    @Justin808 Do you mean from the perspective of a spouse and from the perspective of a child. Spousal is defined as "relating to marriage or to a husband or wife: the spousal benefits of married couples". "Spousal family" sounds odd. I would struggle to guess what it means, but would assume it means a married family with mother & father (i.e. a family where there is a spouse), as distinct from a one-parent family and also excluding two-parent families where the parents are not married. Is that what you mean?
    – TrevorD
    Jul 20, 2013 at 12:27
  • I think Henry's got it. As a child, your immediate family refers to your parents and siblings, but as an adult, it refers to your spouse and children. I'm not sure there's any term in English that distinguishes between the two though. The meaning of the word family is defined by the context.
    – Carl Smith
    Jul 20, 2013 at 13:51

3 Answers 3


All four of your examples describe an immediate or nuclear family. In English, we naturally use immediate family to denote your spouse(s) and child(ren) if you are a parent, your sibling(s) and parent(s) if you are a child. To distinguish the two cases, the most natural terminology would be a child's immediate family and a parent's immediate family.

  • What about when you have 3 tiers: grandparents, their children, & grandchildren? The immediate family of the middle generation includes both their parents & their children. This also illustrates why OP's question is nonsensical.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 21, 2013 at 14:25
  • 1
    Unless the extended family all lives together, you'd then use nuclear family to describe just the two generations living in the same household. The original question had some issues, but I don't think it's nonsensical. Jul 22, 2013 at 4:14

The added examples in the question seem to confirm what I suggested in an earlier comment.

All of the family groupings shown in the examples consist of:

  • two parents (or step-parent), and
  • one or more children (and/or step-children)

You cannot refer to these as different types of families: they are all the same type of family, consisting of the same constituents, namely parents and children.

Specifically, you cannot properly call your first examples "Parental families", because all of the family groups in both examples include parents. If you refer to one group as "Parental families", then the clear implication is that the other family groups do not include parents.

What you appear to be asking about is viewing the same family group from different perspectives.

  1. In your Example 1 families, you are viewing the group from the perspective of a parent, whereas
  2. in your Example 2 families, you are viewing the group from the perspective of a child.

The members (or constituents) of the family group remain the same. It is still the same type of family, but just viewed from a different perspective.

A hill is still a hill, whether you view it from the top looking down or from the bottom looking up.

The only suggestions I can offer to distinguish your two examples are:

  1. Parental perspective [of family]
  2. Child perspective [of family]
  • There is also consanguineous family. So "non-consanguineous family" might also be appropriate.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 21, 2013 at 0:33
  • @Mari-LouA (New word for me!) I don't think that's what OP is asking about, since both of his 'types' seem to include the possibility of step children/parents and/or adoption. One of his comments specifically says "The difference is in the position the person holds in the family", which is what I've tried to address.
    – TrevorD
    Jul 21, 2013 at 0:41
  • Neither step-children nor adopted ones are consanguineous relations. (I knew the Italian expression and translated it= thefreedictionary.com/consanguineous)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 21, 2013 at 1:04
  • @TrevorD - They are not the same family group, They are four different families. Example 1 the position in the family the person holds is a Parent. In example 2 the position in the family the person holds is Child. Maybe I'm looking for a term that just doesn't exist. I'll try one more edit.
    – Justin808
    Jul 21, 2013 at 1:28
  • @Justin808 four different family groups? 1) parent 2) biological child 3)step-parent 4)step-child. But as Trevor pointed out, we're still talking about parents and their "biological" and "non-biological" descendants, so two different perspectives.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 21, 2013 at 1:44

I would say you can either have parents and their children, or children and their parents or siblings, but there's no ready way to conceive of them as different forms of family, beyond the notion of a single parent family.

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