Changes in the American Family
OMM 612 Managing in Social Change
Dr. Stephanie Lyncheski
Over the past 40 decades the American family structure and the very basic makeup of the family has changed. No longer does the nuclear family exist. The nuclear family has been considered the "traditional" family since the 1950's. The nuclear family consists of a mother, father, and the children. Prior to the 1950s many family consisted of several children because the children were often utilized in the family business, tending crops, and overall contributed to the financial well being of the family.
The two-parent family has become less important and what have prevailed in its place are homosexual relationships, single-parent households, adopting individuals, and extended family systems. Now days when there is a nuclear family they are choosing to have fewer children than the traditional nuclear family of the 1950s and 60s. If all you did was watch television commercials you might think that the traditional All-American family was still intact -- Mom, Dad, dog, and the 2.5 kids buckle up and drive off every day on TV. But the television ads are either selling aspirations or guilt: This is the family you're supposed to have, supposed to want.
In 2012 families are single moms, they're stepfamilies, they're boyfriends and girlfriends not getting married at the moment, they're foster parents, they're two dads or two moms, they're a village. Today’s American family is richly diverse and getting more so every single day. The year 2000 marked the first time that less than a quarter (23.5 percent) of American households were made up of a married man and woman and one or more of their children - a drop from 45 percent in 1960.
My personal family consists of myself, my children, my husband, and his children. We both were married previously and had children prior to marrying. We are strong believers in the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child and we often involved the ex spouses in our decision making processes in order for the children to have an over abundance amount of support and guidance. Many statistics state that children of divorced parents often divorce and or end of in questionable relationships. This may be true if there isn’t a strong foundation provided by the parents and other members of the family unit.
There are many theories as to why or what causes the changes in the American family structure. The changes can be summed up to two primary reasons. First and foremost more and more children are born out of wedlock and secondly the divorce rate has increased tremendously.
The controversies of the children born out of wedlock comes in various forms. Unmarried cohabitation will continue to increase resulting in more and more single mothers and fathers raising children separately. In some countries cohabitation is considered a stage in life (Prinz, 1995). With more children being born to unmarried couples and to couples whose marriages subsequently dissolve, children increasingly live with only one parent. The proportion of children living with a never-married parent has also grown, from 4% in 1960 to 42% in 2001. Of all one parent families, 83% are mother–child families. Same sex couples raising children are on the rise as well. Nationally, 66% of female same-sex couples and 44% of male same-sex couples live with children under 18 years old. Children with same-sex parents usually deal with discrimination by their peers. In the 2000 census, there were 594,000 households that claimed to be headed by same-sex couples, with 72% of those having children.
In July 2004, the American Psychological Association concluded that "Overall results of...
References: Hoffman, L. (1998), The Effects of the Mother’s Employment on the Family and the Child. University of Michigan.
Miller, N. (1992), Single Parents by Choice. A Grwoing Trend in Family Life. New York: Plenum Press.
Prinz, C. (1995), Cohabiting, Married, or Single: Portraying, Analyzing and Modeling New Living Arrangements in Changing Societies. Brookfield: Laxenburg, Austria.
Roussel, L. (1991) La Famille Incertaine. Paris: Jacob.
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