The Family

Topics: Family, Gender role, Marriage Pages: 6 (2502 words) Published: March 24, 2015
Question 1: Compare and contrast the three perspectives on the family—family is deteriorating, family is changing, not deteriorating, or family is stronger than ever. Discuss which of these perspectives you feel is the most accurate concerning families in the United States today, using information from the text and the reader to provide support for your argument. In order to compare and contrast the three perspectives on family we first must define family. In America today there is much diversity. Ask five different people what family is, you might receive five different answers. Especially if you ask five people from different ethnic or economic backgrounds. As we have learned in this course, there is no single definition of family that would satisfy everyone. No matter what the definition of family is, there are key things a family provides people. Families are important in teaching roles because they define relationships between mothers and fathers, siblings, parents and children, and other relatives and nonfamily members. One function of the family that is critical, is a family delivers its members emotional support. In most families, it is an important economic unit that provides financial security and stability.

Looking at the different perspectives on families, some might argue that over the past century the family as we know it is deteriorating. Those that believe the family is deteriorating blame people in society as becoming self-indulgence, having only a concern for their self rather than others, financial strain, and incompatible personalities. This type of attitude amongst other things, has increased the rate of divorce. Our society has changed it attitudes about divorce several times. Only becoming more and more accepting of the idea as the text explains “The law and public opinion have changed dramatically over the past centuries, greatly altering the way in which marriage is viewed.” (Cherlin, 2013, p376) We as a society have went from the era of restricted divorce, were divorce was only granted on the grounds of adultery or desertion, and usually only men were allowed this privilege as a way to protect his farm or who was to inherit the property he owned. Then there was the era of divorce tolerance in which jurisdictions in the U.S. became more sympathetic towards women. Allowing divorce for a woman on the grounds of a habitual drunken husband, failure to provide economic support and lastly “mental cruelty.” It was in the 1970’s that the era of unrestricted divorce started taking hold. Anyone, man or women, was now allowed to request and be granted a divorce simply due to “irreconcilable difference” with only a possible waiting period. Then there are children being born out of wedlock. The text refers to many different deviating demographics. One being the education of woman related to when they have children. “Among women without college degrees, however, and especially among women who have never attended college, far fewer wait until marriage to have children that was the say a half-century ago.” (Cherlin, 2013, p115) This is attributed to women with low income not believing they will find suitable marriage partners. Women who graduate college have a plan to finish college, marry and then have children. With continuous flux in our economy now both parents are force to work raising millions of what are referred to as latchkey children. Along with an alarming increase in the number of people deciding not to get married, unprecedented numbers of single-parent families, and a decline of parental authority in the home. One with all these views might think our society is falling apart and therefore have a solid argument that family as we know it is deteriorating.

Due to vast changes in our society it is understandable why someone might have this perspective. However, it is better to a step back and look not at the changes but why these changes have occurred. These changes that our society is...
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