There are variations in the structure of the contemporary family. The concept of the family is changing with step families emerging and nuclear families diminishing. The nuclear family has always been seen as the conservative and ideological form of the family. However, cultural transformation has led to the emergence of new family structures. New family structures may consist of two mothers, one parent, two fathers or step families with heterosexual couples and dependent kids. This research paper presents the concept of step families in the modern society. The paper reviews the prevalence of such families and the implications on the concept of family. It also reviews the problems associated with stepfamilies and their comparison with other categories of families (LeBey, 2004).
Types of Families
The fundamental categories of the family include nuclear family, extended family, lone parent family, and reconstituted family. In addition, there are cross-generational families, adoptive or foster families, never married families, grandparents as parents and same sex couples families. A nuclear family is the common category of family. This family consists of a child living with two parents. About half of all families with children under age 18 years comprise of two biological parents and their children. Single-parent families comprise of about 27 percent of households with children under the age of 18 years. About 670,000 families with children under age 18 have a family member of 65 years or older living with them (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2008).
A step family is where at least one couple has at least one child from a different relationship. There are different forms of stepfamilies that are as a result of living structures and patterns of association. Step families arise as a result of breakdown of previous families or relationships. Step families may not be ideal for children as it may crush their dreams and hopes because of seeing their parents separate. In addition, it may trigger negative feelings and emotions.
About 1300 new stepfamilies are forming around the world on a daily basis. About 50% of United States families are remarried or re-coupled. The standard marriage organization in United States lasts for about seven years. About 75% of couples remarry. About 80% of re-coupled or remarried partners with children have careers. Surveys indicate that about 50% of the 60 million children under the age of 13 in the United States are currently living with one biological parent. About 75% of couples in a step family organization complain of "not having access to resources". Half of the marriages in the United States end in divorce. About 60% of second marriages don’t work. About 66% of relationships, where the couples are living together fail. In addition, about 50% of children in America will go through a break up before the age of 18 years. About half of United States Americans are involved in step family...