Senior Integration Project
29 April 2010
Flux of a Family
“The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged” (Lyndon Baines Johnson). Family is a huge part of the way people live their lives. We need them for support, advice, and love. In the past 50 years, family life has taken a severe decline from the way culture has changed over the decades, the quality time families are spending together, and the distracting advancement in technology. Parenting has taken a turn for the worst. The trend of poor parenting has truly been revealed by examining families during the 1950s versus the present day. Culture is a main component to the extreme change. With the addition of new technologies such as computers, televisions and telephones, parents steadily become less and less connected emotionally to their children and that ultimately leads to a lack in control over their children. In the 1950s there was not this problem seeing that there weren’t any new personal technologies. The speed of life took off closer to the 2000s with the amount of work that parents took upon themselves. Parents are now choosing work over time with their children. Family bonds are being sacrificed.
American families lead lives differently today than they did in the 1950’s. People today live hectic lives and find it difficult to spend time together, whereas in the 1950’s it was custom for families to share quality time together. There are three important clues that show why family lives grown apart in the past 50 years. First, the tradition of eating dinner as a family has changed. Second, the title of stay at home mom is no longer as popular as it had been. Third, the rate at which divorce is entering our society has negatively affected family life. Traditionally, families in the 1950s ate almost all meals together. This ritual made plenty of time for conversations to take place. Tom Hughes reminisces about family dinners in the 50’s saying, “My family, like most families I knew, always sat down for meals together, including breakfast. We were expected to be on time, help serve, clear and clean up. We were also expected to participate in the conversation”. It was normal for families to share their meal times together. Tom’s family actively engaged each other in conversation during their meals and consequently stayed connected as a family. Dinner was a traditional way for families to talk about what was going on in each other’s lives. The “whole family” ate together every night after mothers did “their job” of cooking the meal (Rich). Kids ate nutritious foods almost every night because their mothers did the cooking and monitored the type of foods that were served. Fruits and vegetables were offered in the meal and always eaten. “A Harvard study showed that families eating meals together every day or almost every day generally consumed higher amounts of important nutrients such as calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins B6 and B12, C and E, and consumed less overall fat” (mealsmatter.org). Mothers served healthful foods because they were aware that healthy foods make for healthy kids and as a result their child would benefit. Dinner was not the end of a family night together. They would also spend time watching a television show together after their nutritious meals. The whole family had to watch TV together because typically a household only had one TV per household (Rich). If a certain show could not be agreed on, someone would simply have to find something else to do. In the 1950s, most families found it important to spend time together, so that they built healthy relationships with their relatives.
Unfortunately, the American family does not share as close of a bond as they used to. Today, families live their fast paced lives and rarely spend any quality...
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