More children are born in Britain today outside of marriage than in most other European countries. This has been linked to many explanations such as; poor education in sexual health and the lack of knowlege on different types of contraceptives. Nearly a quarter of children lived with only one parent (25%) last year and nine out of ten of these households were headed by mothers. Dennis and Erdos believe that is is down to most families being fatherless, meaning they automatically have poor health and lower educational attainment, however this is only one theory. Another main reason is the simple fact people are marrying later for many reasons, more because of the change in attitudes towards education and religion (seclurisation).
Parents spent most of their time for their jobs and conducting business, leaving less time for their children. Some reasons mentioned above could make it impossible to generalize about the typical American family. The culture has been changed largely, because Americans have so much freedom and they don't care for each other like in the old days; American family becomes less communication. We are living in the twenty-first century, where the typical American family may consist of divorced parents, three kids that live with mom during the week and stay with dad every other weekend. Often, at least one parent has remarried, and lived their own life.
The gay and lesbians lifestyle is not something to be encouraged, as a lot of research shows it leads to a much lower life expectancy, psychological disorders, and other problems. “Studies show that homosexual, for variety of reasons; have life expectations of approximately 20 years less than the general population.” (< http://www.balancedpolitics.org; >) It is estimated that the number of children being raised by gay or lesbians parents is between 2 and 6 million. (Greenberg 2) There are three ways that gays and lesbians are raising children and acquiring families without the courts becoming involve. The first way, which is also most common way, is when heterosexual marriages dissolve after one parent apparently “comes out”. With this situation, as long as there isn’t a messy custody battle is court most often the child is raised by gay or lesbian parent, and is also fully aware of his or her parent’s sexual tendencies.
This means women now have the choice whether to have a family or have a career. This have resulted in women having their first child at a later age as they have chose to focus on their career. The age that women now have their first child has gone up from 24 to 27.3 since the beginning of the 20th century. Laws such as compulsory schooling and the child labour introduced in the 20th century has now introduced the idea that children are no longer an asset to their families but an economic liability. This means children are now expensive to have and people do not have the money to have as many children as they used too.
The American family structure is considered a traditional family support system involving two married individuals, whom provide care and stability for their biological offspring. However, this two-parent, nuclear family has become less prevalent, and alternative family forms have become more common. Over time, the traditional structure has had to adapt to very influential changes, including divorce, single-parent families (unwed mothers), and homosexual / same-sex marriage families; who “undermined the family values of the traditional family, are failures, and put their own children at risk.” These non-traditional families are growing more common every day and are overcoming the idealized views of the traditional family; they are equally capable of raising children to be successful and well-developed as any other nuclear family could. It is a common belief, in our country, that an uproar in non-traditional relationships would create suboptimum environments for children. Believing that being around homosexual families, single-parent families, and divorced families would convince their own children to live such an “unfit” lifestyle.
The family structure is considered a traditional family support system involving two married individuals providing care and stability for their biological offspring. However, this two- parent, nuclear family has become less prevalent, and alternative family forms have become more common. The family is created at birth and establishes ties across generations. Those generations, the extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, can hold significant emotional and economic roles for the nuclear family. Over time, the traditional structure has had to adapt to very influential changes, including divorce and the introduction of single- parent families, teenage pregnancy and unwed mothers, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and increased interest in adoption.
Couples can share a life of dreams, excitement and happiness. Many believe that marriage put women in higher risk factors for abuse and violence. Marriage has become only a statement now because of the widespread social change. Many have stated that being marriage is not important any longer and choose to live together instead. But this is not the same as sharing an intimate and fulfilling life.
Thirdly, single parent families created after an increase in the divorce rate greatly increased the demand of day-care centers and preschools. Besides the above three reasons, we see a changing trend in family structures as well. With increasing mobility, families are traveling more which takes the children away from their relatives which otherwise would have taken care of them in their parents absence. Families are now getting Nuclear; consisting of one or two parents with their child, which is actually declining the influence of Extended Families, which is a network of family members that is beyond the actual family such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Though the need for child care for working parents became quite important and thus gave rise to the early childhood education, the other main reason behind its popularity are the studies which revealed that such educational programs leave a lasting effect on the children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Husband & wife roles – the male was the ‘instrumental leader’. The male was this role because he was the one who worked and brought home the money to provide for his wife and children. Then the woman was the ‘expressive leader’ - this role was to look after the children. Although, Young and Willmott’s theory states that in pre-industrial times, most families were nuclear and worked together (interdependent). Then in early industrial times, industrialisation separated the home and work for working class families, as they moved into cities to work in factories and mines.
Each man could have more than one wife. Matrifocal families – In the Caribbean, parts of central America and the USA many households do not contain an adult male. Gonzalez (1970) found they are well adapted to living in poverty and the mothers have a lot of support from female relatives. Gay and lesbian families do not conform to this definition and civil partnerships were legalised in 2005 suggesting they are “socially approved.” Ideology and the Family New Right thinkers support narrow definitions of the family. Increasing family diversity suggests that the nuclear family is no longer the norm.