This Essay Discusses The Changes In The Irish Family Structure In The Last Decade.

3046 words - 12 pages

According to O'Connor, 1998, the family in Ireland is 'an important symbol of collective identity, unity and security'. Family life in Ireland is seen as being very important in the formation of a society. It is a fundamental aspect of our lives for various reasons, such as economic and psychological development and it also teaches us rules, morals, and how to maintain good social behaviour. Additionally the family is the first and most influential setting for socialisation where parents are expected to teach children how to become well integrated members of their society. The family is where children establish their first close emotional ties, learn language and begin to internalise cultural norms and values. Each family therefore offers a unique experience to the children within it. The increase in the number of playgroups and crèches however, has also meant that socialisation is no longer solely restricted to the family. Furthermore the family provides the children with an ascribed status in a subculture of race, class, ethnicity, and religion, all of which may strongly influence them in later life. Moreover it provides a safe haven for members of the family to feel loved, secure and wanted. Families are found in every society around the world and can take many different forms.In the UN definition, the family is defined very broadly, as: "any combination of two or more persons who are bound together by ties of mutual consent, birth and/ or adoption or placement and who, together, assume responsibility for, inter alia, the care and maintenance of group members, the addition of new members through procreation or adoption, the socialisation of children and the social control of members."In pre-industrial times, the family in Ireland was seen as playing the most vital role in a child's life. Getting married and having children was seen as an important means of passing on family property. Traditionally the family played a major role in maintaining and caring for dependant relatives in that they cared for them when they were ill, clothed them, fed them and nurtured them during times of crisis. The increased wealth made possible to the general public in modern society has tended to free the nuclear family from dependence on other families and family members. There is more mobility, both within and between families, as the economy expands. Young adults are able to move away from their parents, and older people are more likely to be able to support themselves. We also depend on hospitals, doctors, and old people's homes to provide the care that previous generations would have duly supported us with.Before industrialisation our families would have provided us with a workplace and we would have produced everything in our own home to ensure our own survival. Children would learn skills and trades from their parents, and pass it then to their children. Often the daughters of the family would marry and emigrate. Nowadays, children go to school, learn...

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