Married... With Children: The Evolution Of The Nuclear Family

1562 words - 6 pages

Constance Ahrons, a doctor who coined the term “binuclear family” once said, “Pessimists say that the family is eroding. Optimists say the family is diversifying. Both points of view are right. Families are more diverse and they are more in trouble-but not because of their diversity. The families of today-whatever their size or shape-are in crisis because our economy is failing, our national resources are shrinking, and our governmental policies to support them are inadequate.” This quote gives a perspective of several reasons for the decline of the nuclear family. A nuclear family is a type of traditional family, consisting of a mother, a father, and their children. It involves time spent with the children, emotional support, low stress, and a stable economic environment. This type of family became most popular during the 1950’s, and was regarded more as a universal form of a social organization, and not just a simple family. Both parents worked secure jobs, and would come home to their children, and would enjoy this happy-go-lucky lifestyle. However, this fantasy of a family evolved over time, and the idea of a nuclear family curtailed. New generations were created that opposed the idea of a nuclear family, and began to reject society’s values: Generation X and Generation Z. In addition to the new generations, there was a development to the word “family”, as many families differed from the traditional template of a mother, a father, and children; changing the idea of a nuclear family. Lastly, the decline of many economic factors drove families apart and created a more diverse society, which finally led to the downturn of the nuclear family. The idea of a nuclear family has evolved, based on the drastic change of society’s values and economic infrastructure from a sociological and anthropological perspective.

The addition of new generations that showed rejection towards the idea of a nuclear family facilitated in its deterioration. Following Generation Jones (those born into the nuclear family from 1954 and onward) were two generations that began to reject the idea of a nuclear family: Generation X and Generation Y. Those born into Generation X were born in a time during extreme hardship, emotionally and economically. “Generation X came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates and a faltering economy. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient .” Many children came home to an empty house, as their parents were at work and they were left alone without supervision. This led Generation X to become independent people, with the ability to survive by themselves. Their rejection of society’s values led to the evolution of the nuclear family. The aggregate of Generation X lived in a world with jobs that were taken by the baby boomers, which led them to move back in with their parents, due to the increased...

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