The conventional nuclear family is seen as the best type of family for modern life by functionalists and the New Right. However the number of nuclear families in Britain has been in decline as there has been a massive rise in other families such as lone parent families. The roles of nuclear families are often stereotyped in media and politics. The stereotype contains two ideas:
That a family should be made up of father, mother and children
That the father and mother should have different roles. It is assumed that men are naturally better suited for the world of work, and that women are better at doing domestic work, looking after the home and family.
Many sociologists would argue that the nuclear family is the ideal family for functionalists; the conventional nuclear family is the ideal family for modern society because it fits the needs of society so well, and makes the best use of men and women's different natural abilities. Functionalists like Parsons who were writing some years ago before the rise of feminism made assumptions that women should not go out to work. Recently a new set of ideas have arisen. The New Right View is concerned by the decline of the nuclear family. It is argued that the stabled environment children have been undermined by a whole series of changes beginning in the 1960s.
Another reason why sociologists would argue that the nuclear family is the ideal family is because they want to show what it is like living with a family. For a group to be called a nuclear family there must at some time be a father, mother and at least one child. This type of family structure is found in almost all societies, although the length of time in which the family remains in this form varies even within the same society. The nuclear family was most popular in the 1950s and 60s.Furthermore they would want to represent nuclear families to the society therefore