Research Paper Parenting Roles

1242 words - 5 pages

Everything changes with time, and the American family model is no different. Ever since the Mayflower landed people were trying to decide on a family model, and that definition is constantly changing. Who should the family include? What relationships need to be present in a family? How many children should there be? Who should take care of the children? And as with everything else, there were always opponents to the changes in the family model. There were opponents of the women's rights movement, there are opponents of gay families and there will be opponents of other family models. But who should be the deciding factor in the family model, who should be responsible for maintaining this ever-changing model? It's the society as a whole that projects the image of the dominant family model, if enough individuals change their minds about a family model then the society as a whole changes. So why is the society's opinion the way it is? Why should mothers be the primary caregivers in the society's view? Are there any physical or psychological deficiencies of males that prohibit them from being the primary caregiver in a family? Can a family have a female breadwinner and a male breadwinner? Yes, I think that even though the society still stereotypes the family model, the parenting roles are actually interchangeable - women can be as good breadwinners as men, and men can be as good caregivers as women.Back in the 1800's the family included everyone living under the same roof. Both males ands females did various tasks around the house and worked on the farm. When the Industrial Revolution took place, the family model gradually changed to the nuclear family model. Under this model only the parents and children were included. When men started working away from home and women were the ones taking care of the house, a clear definition of manhood and womanhood was set. Children were raised differently depending on their gender. Boys were taught to be masculine and were prepared to be the breadwinners, while girls were taught to stay home and be the primary caregivers. This nuclear family model dominated throughout the nineteenth century. Most of the people living today were raised in this family model and they think that any deviation from this model is not "normal".The image of a female caregiver comes from the fact that all female mammals have to feed their offspring. From the first moments of their lives, the young depend on their mother for survival. But surprisingly "In 90 percent of birds and the majority of fish, fathers care for the young." Physically, the only disadvantage that males have is that they cannot breast feed, but even mothers don't always do that. Psychologically, the male's attitude is dependant on the society's attitude. If the society believes that males can be the primary caregivers and provides them with support, then they will perform equally well as females.During the past several decades women have fought for equality in the...

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