This chapter argues that mainstream economics cannot provide an adequate theoretical set-up to deal with the family conceived as the place (as in the home) where nature and culture cohabit and where interpersonal relations are founded upon the principle of reciprocity. To defend such a thesis, the chapter advances a substantive, not formal, definition of the family, focusing on its constitutive elements. Then, it discusses which premises of value should be accepted if one wants to pursue policies that focus on the family as such rather than the individual living in a family. Finally, the chapter indicates the most important practical consequences stemming from the acceptance of those premises. The final section points to some ways forward.