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The Evolution Of Families Essay

1298 words - 5 pages

What does the word "family" mean to people today. In order to derive a proper definition, one must first acknowledge that there exists a lot of different types of families. Nevertheless, because family is a major social issue, a single idealized image cannot be promoted. Over the past thirty years families have gone through many rapid change. Trends like dual earner families, women in the labour force, increases in divorce rates, and economic hardship all support the argument that a stable family life is at risk. For women, there is a new form of enslavement, for men, there is a new sense of unease, and for children, there is a future of uncertainty.The traditional family consisting of a working husband, a homemaker wife, and their young children, is slowly becoming obsolete. Today, there is need for a broader and more realistic definition. For example,A family is a social group that may or may not include adults of both sexes, may or may not include one or more children who may or may not have been born in their wedlock (e.g. adopted children, or children by one adult partner of a previous union). The relationship of the adult may be common-law and they may or may not share a common residence. (Vanier, 2000, p.7).Due to vast amount of living arrangements, several other definitions of family's exist. An "extended" family consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws, while a nuclear family is a smaller group referring to those related and living in the same household. Moreover, the latter is most common in large cities, where certain jobs require flexible work hours. The irregularity if these hours may therefore deter certain people to be responsible for a family. People rely on family to provide emotional as well as financial support. Further, a family teaches primary socialization skills to children and prepares them for life. In today's fast paced lifestyle, time spent with family is often compromised for other responsibilities and activities. Nowadays, it is rare for children to have a full time parent in the house."What's Happening to the Family", an article by Larry Bumpass, focuses on the interactions between demographic and institutional changes of the family. Bumpass bases most of his reasoning on evolution of our technological culture, which has changed the context of family relationships (Bumpass, 1990, p.483). Bumpass includes many key points (pattern or trends) that are based on the 1987-1988 National Survey of Families and Household in the United States.One of the points Bumpass discusses is Marital Disruption, and the fact that no other changes have significantly altered family life (Bumpass, 1990, p. 485). He mentions that marital disruption is very high, due to the increasing, even in those cultures that disapprove of divorce (i.e. Catholics). Through his research, Bumpass found out that at least half of the children in the United States will spend some time in a single parent home. In addition he describes a few...

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