Marxists don’t see the family as necessary for society to function, however they think that capitalism needs the family to function well (maintain social inequality), this is because the family socialize working-class children to submit to the ruling class.
Engels said that the nuclear family’s role is to pass on private property to heirs, ensuring that the possession go to the ‘right people’. He also said the women’s role in the family wasnt much different to a prostitute; the man put a roof over the women’s head in return for sex and children.
Althusser said that in order for capitalism to survive, the working class must submit to the ruling class. He said the family is one of the key social apparatus, as well as education, mass media etc, that allowed this to happen. This is because families socialize the next generation into the ideology that the ruling class should be above the working class.
criticisms traditional Marxists perspective
The traditional Marxists perspective is a bit old-fashioned. The idea that men only marry and have children to pass on property ignores many other reasons for doing so.
Also many women work so would be less likely to marry men for economic security as they have that themselves.