Family Ties: Learning from the Past

Essay by kaytg17College, UndergraduateA-, October 2009

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What types of characteristics or traits are indicative of the ideal family? A flawless family is comprised of a number of distinctive qualities. The common goals and responsibilities of family members include such things as providing physical resources, reproducing children, raising these children and providing them with a fundamental education, and adhering to disciplinary consequences of improper behaviors in an attempt to better the actions of the violator(s). The success of various families is measured by the time period or society in which they exist. Countless generations have passed and an endless number of families and family types have existed. As time goes by, the specific roles of family members change, altering the effectiveness and the meaning of the family within its respective time period. However, through an analysis of some of the preexisting family types, and through an examination of the roles of modern families, one can determine which type of family is most effective.

In some of the more recent generations, there has been a significant transformation in the roles and ideals of the family. According to research done by Stephanie Coontz, author of What We Really Miss About the 1950s, a 1996 poll stated that more Americans favored the 1950s than any other decade for children to grow up (33). In her essay, she includes a number of reasons for these feelings of nostalgia and rationales for why this decade was most liked. Coontz explained, "The 1950s provided a more family-friendly economic and social environment, an easier climatein which to keep kids on the straight and narrow, and above all, a greater feeling of hope for a family's long-term future, especially for its young" (Coontz 33). This time in (American) history was one of economic advancement, familial stability, and complete optimism in the future. Middle-aged men...