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A nuclear family refers to a family strictly made up of a mother, father, and their children. It is different from an extended family, a single family, or a same-sex parents family. It can be so strict that some definitions even exclude adopted children from the nuclear family construct. However, some modern sociologists have allowed the inclusion of families with same-sex parents to the nuclear family concept.
Despite the slow acceptance of families led by same-sex parents, the idea of a nuclear family has been used time and again by social conservatives to argue against same-sex marriage and adoption. This argument has been criticized for its simplicity. Contradictory opinions point to the innate complexity of family relations. It does not take a man to provide parenting that is considered “fatherly;” in the same way that it does not require a woman to provide “motherly” care.