The Effects of Cultural Values on the Family
Over the last 10 decades, the culture in America has experienced a major shift in values and morals. The family has gone from a state of economic destitution during the Great Depression to a state of wealth and prosperity during the classic 50s. Major changes occurred in the family from Pre-World War II (WWII) to Post WWII. Women, including many mothers, started to work outside the home and many children were more inclined to move away from home sooner. A strong family is what America was built on and is the foundation of a stable society; therefore it needs to be secure and protected. Unfortunately it has become weaker, not stronger…why is that one might ask? Simply put, common morals that have kept the family strong are deteriorating, the family as a system has been deeply affected by this shift in morals and values in today’s world. Higher divorce rates, increased drug and alcohol abuse and parents working outside the home have affected the lives of children in negative ways, including increased poverty, abuse and diminished educational and job proficiency.
During the post WWII era, the average American family consisted of a homemaker (the wife), a working father and two or more children. There were shared values throughout America reinforcing the importance of family and traditional marriage. The vision of this type of family life stayed intact even as its economic underpinnings were eroding. In order for the 1950s-style family to exist, the economy had to be strong enough for a man to support his family on his income alone. Before the 1960’s Women’s Rights Movement, men were provided with the best jobs while women were often discriminated against in the work place, especially if they were married and had children. The government’s policies and laws were the main cause of this discrimination, but the traditional family pattern was also disrupted by mothers working outside the home.
“A transformation in attitudes toward family behaviors also occurred. People became more accepting of divorce, cohabitation, and sex outside marriage; less sure about the universality and permanence of marriage; and more tolerant of blurred gender roles and of mothers working outside the home. Society became more open-minded about a variety of living arrangements, family configurations, and lifestyles.” (Bianchi)
If one looks back even further in history to the beginning of the nineteenth century it is apparent that the family in America has come a long way. In the early 1900’s, entire families, including children, were working in factories. Workers labored for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, which made a high quality of family life nearly impossible. (Coontz) American families have come a long ways since then, but that does not mean the country cannot strive for an even higher quality of family life. The drive for a person to be supportive of one’s family, whether related by blood or not, is what makes us...