Changes in Marriage and Parenthood

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Option 1: Discuss the changes in marriage and parenthood from the 17th century through the 21st century. Make sure you include the reasons behind the changes. Include at least two specific theories that explain family behavior and why do you think those two theories do explain and predict better than the others? Many changes have occurred over time in relation to marriage and parenthood. One of the biggest changes is seen in the family forms of today’s society. In the past the family that was most commonly seen was the nuclear family, but “This type of family as a proportion of all families has been declining as the family form has become more diverse.” (p. 5) In the decline of the nuclear family other forms have risen such as blended or reconstituted families, voluntarily childless families, single-parent families, and families of orientation. These new forms of family have greatly affected the trends in marriage and parenthood and have altered them in many ways. In the past any person able to marry were expected to marry and have children if they could physically conceive. “The marriage rate has gone down, the age at which people marry has gone up, and the number of children per family has declined.” (p. 10) In society today people are not frowned upon for not marrying. It is quite often to now hear of voluntary stable singles and see families without any children by personal choice. There is greater acceptance on cohabitation without commitment or any intent to marry and thus this has also been a reason as to why marriage rates have declined. People used to marry at a rather early age where as now the majority of people are deciding to postpone marriage until later in life, partly due to aspirations in college education. Having large families can lead to poverty now a days, where as in the past families tended to have family farms or businesses. If a family lived on a farm they could produce their own food and it would also be beneficial...
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