The evolution of families

Essay by pinoUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2004

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What does the word "family" mean to people today. In order to derive a proper definition, one must first acknowledge that there exists a lot of different types of families. Nevertheless, because family is a major social issue, a single idealized image cannot be promoted. Over the past thirty years families have gone through many rapid change. Trends like dual earner families, women in the labour force, increases in divorce rates, and economic hardship all support the argument that a stable family life is at risk. For women, there is a new form of enslavement, for men, there is a new sense of unease, and for children, there is a future of uncertainty.

The traditional family consisting of a working husband, a homemaker wife, and their young children, is slowly becoming obsolete. Today, there is need for a broader and more realistic definition. For example,

A family is a social group that may or may not include adults of both sexes, may or may not include one or more children who may or may not have been born in their wedlock (e.g.

adopted children, or children by one adult partner of a previous union). The relationship of the adult may be common-law and they may or may not share a common residence. (Vanier, 2000, p.7).

Due to vast amount of living arrangements, several other definitions of family's exist. An "extended" family consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws, while a nuclear family is a smaller group referring to those related and living in the same household. Moreover, the latter is most common in large cities, where certain jobs require flexible work hours. The irregularity if these hours may therefore deter certain people to be responsible for a family. People rely on family to provide emotional as well as financial...