Single-Parent Families.

Essay by juliaellensmithUniversity, Bachelor'sB, June 2003

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The Three Key Concepts of Sociology Applied to Analyzing Single-Parent Families

What is the term family? What does it mean? Who decides what makes up a family? The definition of family means "a set of relations especially parents and children" (American Century Dictionary 205). This might include anyone related to by blood or by adoption such as: step parents, grandparents acting as parents, and even brothers and sisters sometimes sharing the same household. The term family has been believed to coincide with the word "marriage". If you were to have a family, you were also thought to have a husband or wife. This was thought to be the norm for many centuries. This was named the "institutional family." But we have reinvented the word family. A family can consist of single parent family, step family, or a first marriage family. The role of the family is also a key concept in defining the family (Doherty 11).

"In all societies the first major agent of socialization for most individuals is the family" (Thompson and Hickey 105). It is the nucleus of American life. The role of the American family is much the same as in any other country. Each family member has to fulfill his or her own part. Being a father, a mother, or a daughter. The mass media will have an influence on the family's role. For instance, the media has portrayed men to be thought of as the "bread-winner". To more or less support the family. This family type was atypical of the American family. This was called the "Traditional Nuclear Family." This kind of ideology has existed for centuries (Thompson and Hickey 386).

Nevertheless, of all family types, single parent families have made the most gains during the past few decades. According to a sociological book called...