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Social Psychology And The Perspectives Of Family.

2245 words - 9 pages

In this essay I intend to show that there have been significant Changes in the cultural understanding of a family unit. I intend to do this by showing that through changes in Divorce patterns, women's rights, religious beliefs in society we cannot say that the family is in crisis but rather that in this post-modern era the family has evolved to encompass all of today's values. Today a family is not simply 'a group of relations linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children' (Family, Marriage and Personal Life, (week 2 reading) page 140) but a much more diverse group of peoples whose care and responsibility for each other takes on many forms.The changes in marriage patterns that have taken affect since the 1970's do not constitute a crisis for the family. The changes however do draw attention to the fact that the idea of what a family is has changed. People today marry for personal satisfactionRather than for economic benefits. The contemporary family is very different from what it used to be, today we have single parent families, gay and lesbian headed families, foster families, families in which an older child cares for the younger children, families in which the parents are not married, and families in which a child may have one or two step parents. There are many factors, which have played apart in this 'transition of the family', some of which have been more prominent than others. These changes have included such prominent aspects of our time like, the women's rights movement and have also included more subtle aspects like sex education.In the past Women did not have as much social influence or legal power. Western society was based legally on a patriarchal power structure. Women had to marry for there own survival, marriage was for economic benefits, rather than love. With the adventof Women's rights, primarily the right to vote, women gained greater autonomy. Women also had a greater ability to work outside of the home as a direct result of World War 2. With the majority of men fighting in the war, women were called to take on the responsibilities that men once had. Women were working jobs that previously had been accepted as 'men's work'. This began the trend of allowing women greater and greater freedom to work, thus giving women the opportunity to become financially independence. This financial independence allowed women to leave unhealthy marriages, without worry of poverty and starvation. "During the 1970's, the number of women in the labor force, including married women with children under eighteen, increased and reached what Jessie Bernard ( 1975) has called a "tipping point". This is the moment that a formerly " normal" pattern of behavior-in this case being a full-time housewife-becomes the choice of a minority"(Family in Transition, Arlene S. Scolnick and Jerome H. Skolnick, Fifth edition, 1933, pg 1) The traditional family unit has changed because of the women's rights...

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