Changing Nature of the Family over Past 50 Years - Family Essay Example
Changing nature of family over the last 50 years - Changing Nature of the Family over Past 50 Years introduction. – In many industrialized countries, people are increasingly turning away from traditional family patterns. They are adopting new roles for family members and various kinds of family structures. Many of these changes reflect scientific, economic, and social developments and changing attitudes. For example, modern birth control methods enable couples to limit the size of their family and to space their children. Many young people are postponing marriageand childbearing, and many couples want to have fewer children than people had in the past.
The number of employed married women has been growing dramatically in industrialized countries. In the United States, for example, the percentage of married women who work outside the home has risen from about 15 per cent in 1940 to about 55 per cent today. This increase has led to many changes in family life. It has contributed to the ideal of the equalitarian family, in which each member is respected and neither parent tries to be the head of the family. Divorce has become more and more common. In the United States, statistics indicate that about half the marriages that took place during the 1970’s are likely to end in divorce.
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In the United Kingdom, the divorce rate more than trebled between 1968 and 1987. But divorced people often remarry. This fact suggests that many divorced people have not given up on family life. Instead, they believe they can find happiness in marriage with a new partner. . Social conditions can affect family life in many ways. For example, black men have sometimes been discriminated against in getting well-paying jobs in some countries. Thus, black wives have been more likely than white wives to work outside the home in those countries, to help support the family.
As a result, many of those black wives have tended to have more authority in family affairs than have the white wives. Almost every family has problems as a normal part of living together. Many problems can be worked out in the home. But some problems are difficult to solve. Unsolved problems may result in unhappiness and lead to a breakdown of the family. According to problems ,functios of family are changing. Other problems may result from remarriages by divorced or widowed people. Such remarriages create the blended family of wife, husband, and each of their own children.
Quarrels between the new couple over their children are sources of conflict and new divorces. Children naturally have mixed feelings about their new family. They become painfully certain that their biological parents will not be reunited. Children who were very close to the single parent may feel displaced and jealous because the stepparent has a special and private relationship with their parent. Children also may feel fondness and love for their new family but be scared that the new marriage also will end in divorce or death. In addition, children may see their feelings of love as a mark of disloyalty to the absent parent.
The rights and obligations between stepparent and stepchildren may seem different than those taken for granted between biological parents and children. Parents may recognize such differences, for example, in their right to discipline. Thus, stepparents and children are generally challenged to deal with many feelings that are not present in biological families. Treatment of family problems. Many families can receive help with some of their problems by consulting a trained family counselor, a member of the clergy, a social worker, or a psychologist.
Many such specialists use a technique called family therapy. They meet with the entire family as a group to help them work out their problems together. Various public welfare agencies offer guidance and economic aid. Other organizations counsel family members who have a specific problem. There are also groups to aid runaway children or battered children and wives. Many people tend to view the family as separate from society. They think all family problems can be solved by dealing only with the family. They fail to realize that the family is part of society and that society influences family life.
Such social problems as drugs, poor housing, and unemployment directly affect family life. Increasingly, sociologists are finding that alcoholism, child abuse, runaway children, unhappy marriages, and certain other family problems are related to problems in society. They believe that such family problems can be reduced by dealing with the social conditions that help promote them. For example, programmes that create new jobs, improve housing, or restrict drug trafficking help support family life. With the existence of such programmes, the family is no longer solely responsible for overcoming all the social problems that affect it.