Examine reasons for the changes in family size and structure in the last 100 years.
Recent decades have seen some major changes in family patterns. Changes in partnership include fewer first marriages, more divorces, re-marriages, and cohabitation. There are also more births outside of marriage, lone parents, reconstituted families, and same sex families. Reasons for these changes vary from individualism, to secularisation and reduced stigma. 100 years ago, the norm in society was to live in a nuclear family unit; women were married young, had children and stayed home to look after their children, whilst their husband went out to work. So the stereotypical gender roles are performed; men as breadwinners, and women as homemakers. But, over the years, the number of nuclear families has been declining, and family structure and sizes have changed drastically in the past 100 years.
One of the main reasons for the decline in nuclear families is the changing pattern of divorce. Since the 1960’s, there has been an increase in the number of divorces in the UK. The reasons for the increase of divorce has been identified as changes in the law, declining stigma and changing attitudes, secularisation, rising expectations of marriage, and changes in the position of women; 7/10 petitions for divorce come from women. Divorce is a big contribution to the different structures and sizes of families, as it can create lone parent families, reconstituted families, and can also lead to the divorcees cohabiting with their next partner instead of getting re-married. Divorce has also increased, because now people are not prepared to stay in empty shell marriages and try to make it work, as people were basically forced to do a few decades ago. Also, people are not prepared to stay with an unfaithful spouse, or an abusive spouse. Another factor to the increase of divorce could be now women have changed positions and have more rights, instead of being housewives, more women go out and work; which means the family has two breadwinners. This can cause competition between the marriage and break the marriage down resulting in divorce. And finally, divorce is a lot cheaper now, which finance could’ve been a factor of people not getting divorced and instead being separated.
Today, people realize and see that there is not the same consensus of family dynamics and lifestyles that the 1950's demonstrated when "the family life and gender roles became much more predictable" (Coontz 36). An analysis of Stephanie Coontz's, What We Really Miss About the 1950's, along with the episodes of Leave It To Beaver, have revealed certain roles and structure of a quintessential family ...
Similarly, marriage also has a changing pattern. Now, there is less pressure to get married younger and have a family. There is generally less pressure for people to get married at all. Similarly to divorce, there is a decline in stigma attached to cohabitation, remaining single and having children outside of wedlock, whereas years ago it was an abomination to families and society. Cohabitation is increasing whilst marriage is declining. This shows that more couples would rather live together and have a sexual relationship and children without being married, as they see no stigma attached to it. The number of cohabiting couples has doubled since 1986, which shows changing attitudes over the past 30 years. Although cohabitation is increasing and marriage is declining, this does not mean couples choose to lie together instead of getting married. It could indicate couples living together and having children before they get married. Also, marriage could be too expensive for couples.
Reconstituted families would’ve been extremely rare 100 years ago, as divorce and re-marriage came with a stigma and shame upon families. Now, we live in a more secular society, where not everyone is as strongly religious as people were in the past. Now, people can choose if they want to get re-married and have more children with another partner. Also, children then have a step-parent and step-siblings if one of their parents re-marry and have an even bigger extended family; something which is beginning to increase. Reconstitution can cause problems as some children can feel segregated from the parent that they do not live with and can feel like their step-parent is trying to take over the role of their biological parent.
Safeguarding looks at protecting children and young people, this is does mean protecting them from just direct abuse but from a wider role and making sure that they are staying safe and that they come to no harm. The staying safe action plan looks at; keeping the children and young people from accidents, bullying and crime, forced marriages and action promotion of welfare and a healthy safe ...
Same-sex relationships are impossible to judge as being on the increase or decrease, as in the past many same-sex couples were secretive or did not live together. Now, stigma for homosexual people is also declining and openly homosexual people are accepted into society by the majority of people. Although we live in a more secularised society, there are still some families who are strongly religious and disagree with same-sex couples. Civil partnerships are available now for homosexual couples, but marriage is not. As same-sex couples are now socially accepted many couples adopt children or have surrogate mothers to have children, and also fostering children is another option for same-sex couples.
Lone parent families aren’t necessarily separated families. Many parents chose to live alone with their children, so that they can independently raise their child. Also, some families may prefer to not live together until they have been married, or they might not want to live together. Other one person households include divorcees, widows and young people who are single.
According to Parsons, the extended family was the most dominant family type in pre-industrial society, but in modern society, it is replaced by the nuclear family. Although Parsons thinks the extended family is “extinct” many families now, have extended family but do not live in the same house. Life expectancy is now higher than it was 100 years ago, which contributes to more people having grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc. Willmott argues that extended families do exist now, but are dispersed extended families; relatives are geographically separated but maintain frequent contact through visits and phone calls.
Now, people believe in choosing their own life course; which includes choosing big turning points in their lives. This includes when they get married, have children, whether they get divorced, re-married or if they ever even get married in the first place. Also, people believe they should have the freedom to choose who they get married to, whether they should take on a stereotypical gender role on in a relationship, whether they want children, when they want children, or if they want to stay single.
INTRODUCTION The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination of an individual on the basis of their race, sex, religion, or national origin fails to provide federal protection to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. The fact that this landmark federal policy does not include civil rights protection for homosexuals has put them at a disadvantage legally and socially. ...