Firstly, whether a family live in a symmetrical family or not will have an effect on the divisions of labour. March of Progress theorists (Liberal Feminists) such as Young and Willmott argue that family life is gradually improving for all its members, becoming more equal and democratic. For example, women now go out to work, just as men now help with housework and childcare. However Radical Feminists reject the ‘March of Progress’ theory, and argue that women remain unequal within the family. Anne Oakley argues that we still live in a patriarchal (male dominated) society, and therefore women occupy a subordinate and dependant role within the family and wider society.
Domestic violence accounts for between 16 – 24 % of recorded crime. Women are much more likely than me to be the victim of multiple incidents of abuse (Home Office, 2004). However, functionalists do not find anything wrong with this view. They find it important that the family stays patriarchal as they believe that it is beneficial and important for society. They also believe that in a nuclear family, norms and values will be taught to each family member making them behave in a way society expects them to.
With family being the primary factor for being the way that we act functionalists believe it is important that the family socialises the children properly so that they can pass on these norms and values, This will there for ensure that the children will confirm to laws and rules. Functionalists favour the nuclear family as part of a post industrialisation family. This is because during the time that functionalism was around there weren't many extended families due to the factors such as the war. This would give the mother and father there separate roles within the family. The father would go out to be the “breadwinner” whilst the mother would stay at home to support the family emotionally and domestically such as cooking food and the safeguarding of children.
After this law there was an increase in lone parent families, cohabiting and even same sex couples, this was because it started to be more socially acceptable and married couples didn’t have to be forced into a relationship if they weren’t happy. However, The New Right did not like the idea of having lone parent families, they said that lone parents (mostly mothers) cannot discipline their children properly and are a burden on the welfare state as they need to claim benefits due to the fact that they are not working so they can’t support their children. Conservatives see marriage as the essential basis for creating a stable environment for bringing up children, so I don’t think that they are very happy with the fact that family diversity is such a big deal in our society nowadays as they have a very traditional view. Similarly to The New Right’s view, Chester in 1985 claimed that people aspire to be in a nuclear family because that is the way that most people in the UK have been brought up, he also claimed that most people live in a household headed by a married couple and will most likely be the head of a nuclear family in the future. He believes that the nuclear family is the ideal type of family where the husband is the breadwinner and the wife is the housewife
The specialist functions performed by the family, according to Parsons, include primary socialisation. By primary socialisation Parsons meant that parents teach children society’s norms and values. Whilst Marxists would agree with functionalists that the family performs a key function in socialising children, they disagree about whose values children are socialised into. Marxists believe that the family is controlled by the ruling class, who use it and other institutions to control people’s ideas and values. In this way, children are socialised into values which benefit capitalism, such as acceptance of hierarchy and inequality, not the ‘universal’ values of society as functionalists believe.
Remarriage with older children can go both ways, depending on the age they may see the step parent as another authoritative figure while other children may not really have an opinion. Many times it’s not the children that have the issue with the step parent; it’s the biological parent that that lives with the child. I feel that when children are involved, the biological parents as well as the stepparents should come to a decision about the welfare of the children. Every situation is different therefore I feel the government can't create a law that would be suitable. A lot of children resent their step parents and this also makes the situation all the more problematic.
In Talcott Parsons functionalist model of the family there is a clear division of labour between the two spouse, ‘Instrumental’ and ‘Expressive’ roles.. Talcott Parsons states that the husband has an instrumental role, geared towards achieving success at work so that he can provide for the family financial, he is the breadwinner. The wife however has an expressive role, geared towards primary socialisation of the children and meeting the family’s emotional needs. The wife is seen as the homemaker, full time housewife rather than a wage earner. Although some politicians and the New right share this view with Talcott Parsons, others have criticised Parsons for e.g. Michael Young and Peter Wilmott (1962) who argue that men are now taking a greater share of domestic tasks and more wives are becoming wage earners.
To what extent is there equal division of domestic labouring the family? 24 marks The DDOL refers to the roles that men and women play in relation to housework, childcare and paid work. Parsons Argues that in a traditional nuclear family the roles of husband and wife are segregated, in his view the husband plays an instrumental role geared towards achieving success at work so he can provide for the family financially. The woman has an expressive role geared towards primary socialisation of children and meeting the family’s emotional needs. Parsons argued this division of labour is based on biological differences between men and women as women are naturally suited towards nurturing role and men to a powerful role.
He felt that the family was multi-functional and could do a lot of things that needed to be done in modern day culture. However, he didn't think about the other ways some of these functions can be performed. For example, Murdock feels one of the key functions in the family is the educational factor (socializing the young into societies of norms and values) in contrast though, schools can also teach the young morals and values to the young suggesting that the family isn't needed for all of the tasks Murdock thinks they need to do. Murdock studied 250 different societies to find out whether there was evidence of the nuclear family. He claimed that he had found the nuclear family in all 250 different societies, following the essential functions of: sexual, reproductive, economic an educational needs.
One reason is because of the welfare benefits that are given to lone-parent families, as it encourages young women to get pregnant because they know that the state will look after them and their child. They believe that the nuclear family should be encouraged and the lone-parent family should be discouraged by eliminating benefits for single parents. They should also make divorces harder to acquire and make marriage less expensive. Murray states that giving benefits offer ‘perverse incentives’ as they reward people for bad and irresponsible behaviour. It will encourage fathers to abandon their responsibilities to the family because they know that the state will maintain their children and it encourages more lone-parent families.