With the industrialization and urbanization of the nineteenth century, the nuclear family, consisting of only parents and their children, took the ascendancy of the extended family of more than two generations (and often several alternative lines). Simultaneously, the number of children per couple has been declining. The evolutions of the economic functions of the family were characterized by significant changes in the organization of production. Indeed in traditional societies (even in the early twentieth century), the family is the workplace where all members are working in the same household by differentiating functions by gender (male, female) and children in a task either agricultural, craft or commercial. The family of former times is an entity and a unit of domestic production where children represent a work force and security, especially in old age.
In modern Western societies, there is a clear distinction between work and household activities. With this dissociation between workplace and home, the family is essentially a place of consumption. As a unit of production, the family is supplanted by the company: economic relations are becoming more lucrative. Due to increasing life expectancy, the rationalization of housework and the emancipation of women, the family role in the economy and the society is more than ever commercial. However, the direct economic contribution of children is virtually zero. Obviously this has led to the emergence of new family models. Indeed, even if the traditional family model (stable parental couple with children) remains dominant, it is no longer unique. We should now speak of families rather than the family.
The blended family (or stepfamily) is one of those new forms of families. By definition a blended family is “a family that is formed on the remarriage of a divorced or widowed person and that includes a child or children” (Oxford dictionaries, 2011). In these families, the main difficulty is the acceptance of the...
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