Change of the Family Unit

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Everyone can picture the traditional family unit; a working father, a mother who stays at home tending to the children, two children: a boy and a girl, and a dog named Spot. However, this idea has not always been the same. From the early Native American tribe of the Navajo and Hopi with extended families (Roberts), to the modern times with single parent families and families with gay parents, the idea of a family unit has been ever changing.

At first, during the times of the Paleolithic Era, the family unit was comprised of a small group of people usually around 10-30 people. This group was more or less not related, foraging the land for food and resources. These "hunter-gatherers" were not a biological family but a group of people with a similar goal, to migrate to new land in search of food. However, as people began to discover the science of agriculture, they began to settle and form cities and agricultural settlements (Upper Paleolithic: 30,000 - 10,000 BC). As the civilizations began to form, the family unit began to shrink.

During the time of the Roman era, the family consisted of parent-in-laws and the nuclear family. Grandparents were generally included in the family unit, and in some cases, great-grandparents, which held the power within the family. Also included in the family unit, were the household slaves. Children formed strong bonds with these, as they were a source of primary care given to the children (Durant). The family unit of Rome was not based on love or romance, but rather based on "recreational sex" (Dupont). However, this family unit based on sex was quickly uprooted with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D.

During the colonization of the Americas and other nations, the first major occurrence of single parent families came into the picture. "Yonder woman, Sir, you must know, was the wife of a certain learned man, English by birth, but who had long dwelt in Amsterdam, whence, some good time agone, he was minded to...
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