Essay Reviewing And Outlining Major Points Included In The Study How Families Still Matter By Usc Prof. Verne Bengtson

1779 words - 7 pages

SOCI 150Midterm #2Review of How Families still MatterEvery Time I turn on the news it seems as though the media is trying to assert that today's youth are lazy products of the apparently struggling institution that is the Family. As a person who grew up in a family that could have been the model for a 1950's sitcom I find this interesting. Even though I grew up in a traditional family setting, I often find it difficult to believe that I am at all similar to what my parents were like at my age because it seems as though the structure of the family has changed so much. Furthermore, how have the many changes in structure of family living arrangements over the last few decades affected the family's ability to function properly? More importantly, what is the job of the family? Is this job being fulfilled? The important new release How Families Still Matter, by Vern L. Bengtson, Timothy J. Biblarz, and Robert E.L. Roberts which was published by Cambridge University Press in Fall 2002, addresses these questions and more based on the results of their definitive, ground breaking research in the area over the last thirty years.How Families Still Matter is an important publication for a number of reasons. The study this book is based on is truly unique and ground breaking. It is a "longitudinal" study of multiple families over multiple generations. This means over thirty years ago, the researchers began studying a number of families and have followed those families for up to four generations. This is important because we can compare the social attitudes and values, physical and mental health, and the educational and occupational aspirations and goals of each generation and compare them to the generations before and after them and note the changes in the function of a family. While this study includes much data from the first and second generation (G1 and G2 respectively) studies, the focus of this book is on the third and fourth generation) G3 and G4) because the youth of today (G4) is the best indicator of how families are working. With the ability to compare up to four generations worth of data for any of the many families involved the authors can more accurately evaluate and analyze the ability of today's families to function.Though research is the foundation of this book, one of the How Families Still Matter's most important achievements is to discredit many of the current beliefs about the youth of America. These beliefs are based on "conventional wisdom" which often has no basis in social theory. Take, for example, the increase of mothers in workforce. One would expect that the working mother would not be as effective at transferring her values and goals, or nourishing the mental and physical health through the process of growing up. This is an example of conventional wisdom and how conventional wisdom differs from the results of social science research provides. It turns out that there is, in fact, negligible change in the child's goals and values...

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