Nuclear Family The concept of a nuclear family came about during the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century. Ideally, the family provides its members with protection, companionship, security, and socialization. The structure of the family and the needs that the family fulfils vary from society to society. The nuclear family is also important in continuing traditions to future generations. The text discusses how important the nuclear family is in establishing an individuals identity.
Nuclear Family Decline The CDC did a study of what types of home kids are living in from survey data between 2001 and 2007 resulting in these figures: 48.4% Nuclear Families 19% Extended Families 13.6% Single Mom with >1 Children 8.7% Blended 3.1% Other / Cohabitating 1.7% Single Dad with >1 Children 1.5% Unmarried, biological, or adoptive 1% Single adult with >1 Children
Gender Roles in the Family The establishment of gender roles generally begins early on with the nuclear family and has strong tendencies to last throughout their lifetime. The pictures from the last slide represent a gender division of how men are more often seen being active, whereas women are more often seen as just ‘being’. Gender identities are formed in the ‘toddler’ years, and are commonly backed up via the purchase of color coded clothing, toys, and choices of recreational activities.
Television and Gender Roles Television has the ability to sculpt ideal family situations as they write their scripts. Due to television becoming such a large part of our lives, we often feel pressure to live up to such standards. Based on these expectations from television and elsewhere, we see tragic results. 45 – 50% of Marriages end in Divorce (First Marriage), 60 – 67% (Second Marriage), 70 – 73% (Third Marriage) Approximately 10% of the US Adult Population has been divorced
Living up to Expectations Many families have a desire to fit a certain familial model that our society has developed, but more often than not fail to do so. When this failure occurs, it effects the divorce rates, which in turn effect how children develop their gender identities. Almost 40% of children today are raised without consistent fathers. Children of divorce, particularly boys, tend to be more aggressive than those with parents still together. Children of divorce are 50% more likely to develop physical ailments in the two years following.
Gender/Sex Interaction: Parents Most habits and patterns of behavior are developed by watching and copying their parents. Many parents with multiple children will predominantly interact with the child of their same sex. Parents have a regular tendency to reward their children with gender specific toys, gifts, and specific attention.
Gender/Sex Interaction: Children Gender identity develops generally between ages 18 and 30 months. Following this period, gender stability forms, which is the realization of what each gender shall grow up to be. Past this, children begin to develop particular stereotypes based on their surroundings Children play a surprisingly active role in selecting their gender. These choices give kids the chance to help choose their own path in early childhood through activities, toys, and who they want to be around.
Emancipatory Families •Emancipatory Families help create a more whole and positive atmosphere within the family model. They provide important aspects that the traditional nuclear family can’t create. •Emancipatory Families help develop gender roles because it creates a pattern of sorts for children to observe. When children see similar things happen across generations, it seems to solidify certain behaviors.
Dating & Relationships •Heterosexual dating relationships are the most studied non-marital relationships, indicating the privilege attached to it. •Most media develops an image of the desired relationship between a masculine man and feminine woman. •Many norms remain in the dating scene in regards to heterosexual dating. Women are expected to make themselves attractive, men are the initiators, and women often hold up the emotional
Domestic Violence 25% of women have experienced domestic violence. Women accounted for approx. 85% of victims of domestic violence. Approx. 75% of Americans know someone affected by domestic violence. Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk for non- fatal intimate partner violence.
Domestic Violence These statistics provide shocking signs of inequality in who is abused and who does the abusing. There has been little research done about children whose parents were abused / abuse and how it affects them in the future, at least in comparison to the general DV studies. Despite the lack of formal evidence on the matter, it’s a general assumption that people who witness abuse consistently are more likely to be involved in the future.
Conclusion This chapter has helped me look at the family institution in a very different light. It seems to be one of the largest and most involved social institutions, yet very broken and in need of ‘re-structuring’. Even today there seems to be a large collection of people that are totally okay with the definition of family and don’t see a need to change that. As much as things seem to be changing the question about whether or not things need to change is very much on the forefront. I come from a divorced family myself, and my mother also followed a lesbian life style after the divorce, which created a very unique childhood.
Conclusion Continued In many ways, I feel lucky to have grown up through so much adversity as it has grown me immensely. On the other hand, there are numerous things that I wouldn’t wish on other people, ever, because it has changed my life in ways I didn’t enjoy, desire, or that I wasn’t prepared for. It would be tremendous if more people had a more educated or even open view about what the family institution is supposed to look like, particularly before they have one of their own.