As is often noted by behaviourist psychologists, families have a profound power over the behaviour and development of children. D. Russell Crane notes that parents are "empowered with the responsibility, authority and duty to teach children positive and prosocial behaviour." In adulthood, often the distinction between a group of close friends and a 'found family' is that the latter has some control over aspects of one's life, giving advice which is informed by a long-standing understanding. While close friends can offer support and empathy, only a family member can have a meaningful level of control over the decisions someone makes.
The extent to which a family exerts authority over its members is dependent on the type of family. Some research has suggested that single-parent and stepfamilies have more equalitarian parent-child authority roles, meaning they control the children less, but these families should not be excluded from the definition of family. Moreover, some people are very resistant to direct control from others but still have mutual support with family members. Therefore, family should be about support rather than control.