Is A Nuclear Family An Out Dated Institution?

1766 words - 8 pages

Introduction:
A “nuclear family” is a family that consists of a working father, a mother who was a housewife, and one or more children (Brym, 2014, pp. 22). And although the ideal family life was pleasing, it did not last long. Over the past thirty years, acceptance for deviations of a nuclear family has occurred. The definition of a family has changed and according to our notes a family is a relationship in which people live together with commitment to form an economic unit to care for one or more children. The people involved in the family consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group. Through literature reviews and personal experience, this essay will demonstrate that nuclear families are now an out-dated institution but the idea of a family still exists in different forms. Examples of these variations allow children to have common law parents, homosexual parents, divorced parents, single parent families, adoptive parents, and foster parents.
Literature Review:
According to our notes, marriage is the marital union in a legal form. Previously only opposite gender couples were visible while same sex couple are very common now (Trost, 2010, pp. 512). In Canada, same sex marriages were legalized in 2005 and are becoming popular and accepted. For the past century, the dominant family type was composed of a married couple as its core, and biological children, forming the ideal- typical nuclear family unit. This has been changing and for the first time in 2010, married couples made up fewer than half of all North American households (Farrell et all, 2012, pp. 297). In an experiment on youth opinions about family dynamics, youth are conflicted about whether their parents should stay together. A slight majority wished that their parents, who have split up, stayed together. However, close to half concluded that parental separation was better than living in a conflicted or slightly unhappy home. Surprisingly, 40% of children whose parents stayed together felt their parents might have been better off apart (Gerson, 2009, pp. 738). This proves that youth are even more accepting of deviations from traditional household compositions if it makes for a happy environment.
Another type of household that has been increasing is a single- person household. The proportion of single- person households surpassed the proportion of nuclear family household headed by married couples by 8% (Farrell et al., 2012, pp. 284). This relates to the diminishing institution of family and the normative changes that has occurred. According to Gerson’s article, many mothers do prefer to raise children with a committed partner, but are just as willing to do so without one. Without a partner, women hope to create a network of family and friends who will share care for the child or even substitute for an intimate partner (Gerson, 2009, pp. 744). Women have become empowered to work, live, and rear a child on their own. This changes the institution of families as in...

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