Outline and Evaluate the View That the Nuclear Family Has a Negative Impact Upon Its Members.

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The nuclear family is a term used to define a family group consisting of aheterosexual pair of adults; wife and husband, and their children. It can also be known as a ‘beanpole family’ and it can be, especially in middle-class families, child-centered; child-centered is defined as being actively involved by spending lots of time together as the child's needs and wishes are the most important thing. Only 17% of families in the UK are nuclear families, and this statistic is on the decrease as it is more so a norm in the 21st century to cohabit (an unmarried couple living together and having a sexual relationship).In 2012 there were 18.2 million families in the UK. Of these, 12.2 million consisted of a married couple with or without children. It is in fact 50% of people in the UK who cohabit and the number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families has increased significantly, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012. However, there are other types of families: extended family, unconventional families; single parent families, homosexual families and reconstituted families; step families. Single parent families and step families usually occur after ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of marriage, resulting in divorce. However, it could be that a martial partner or partner has died or left unexpectedly, and after this a new intimate relationship is formed and the couple is likely to procreate. Other characteristics of a nuclear family are: parents having high-paid or good occupations, living away from other family members; independent or privatised; they keep in contact with family via phone and mainly see family on special occasions, e.g. Christmas, Easter, marriages, funerals, and christenings. Despite this, the husband is actively involved in raising the children; ‘new dad’ and they are influenced by the media to be a ‘good father’ and perhaps their peers who are of the same age as them. Also, they are likely to be called the ‘new man’, a term used to identify men who believe in equality, do house-work, spend time with family and children and do not use any offensive sexist language. There are five theories by sociologist that either support or resent nuclear families. The theories that resent nuclear families are: Marxist and feminist; the nuclear family is not a perfect family. The theories that support nuclear families are: functionalist, post-modern and new right; the nuclear family is the best type of family. Feminists believe: that the failures or ills of family life are due to men, in the family there is gender inequality as it has been proven that women do 3 times more house work than men, women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse from males, children are more likely to be abused by men rather than women, 80% of divorce is women divorcing men, males are more likely to have addictions (drugs or alcohol or gambling) and men are more likely to have a career rather than have a strong focus on the children or housework. In contradiction to this, about two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men; and this is on the increase. However, men do not report domestic abuse from their partners because they are ashamed or embarrassed. Also in favor of men, it is apparent that all men are different, the research and statistics are a generalisation; perhaps not completely reliable. In addition to this, recently there has been an increase in female dominated families;matriarchy. Catherine Hakim (1996) suggests that feminists under-estimate women’s ability to make rational choices. It is not patriarchy (male domination) or men that are responsible for the position of women in families. She argues that women choose to give more commitment to family and children, and consequently they have less commitment to work than men have. Ann Oakleyargues that gender role socialisation is responsible for sexual division of labor. She also argues that there is still an expectation for women to take on the housewife and...
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