The values of the American Family and have changed throughout the centuries; a family has become a very broad description from divorce to the single parent, as well as what made up the family. In earlier times the traditional family consisted of a mother, father, and one or two children, with one parent who stayed at home raise the children the other parent out in the work place to provide for the family. The families of today are very different from pre-modern times. There are divorced families which some people consider broken; the author of “Stone Soup”
Barbara Kingsolver dares anyone to describe her family a broken home, as a single mother comparing herself to a family she observes during a soccer game. The other types of nontraditional families are the single parent which is 1 out of every 4 families, which has increased since 1955 when it was 1 out of every 10. Other families that are nontraditional are gay parents, blended families and those who remarry. Many people would like to argue that because they are not what many view as a traditional family that in some way these families don’t or can’t raise their families with values. Socially they are not accepted. In many ways, society views them as failures.
The single parent family may have many emotional support systems but not always economic support systems. Single parents are more likely to depend on state funded programs for financial Assistance. With the welfare, food stamp, state funded daycare, most of the single parents on these programs are also teen parents which is also doubled since the early part of the 70”s. Since the early 70’s, the number of programs have doubled to help accommodate the growing number of single parents that need assistance.
The divorced family is the most common and in recent years 1 out of every 5 marriages ends in divorce. With the perception of divorce changing the way we raise our children and how they are perceived by other families has also changed we now raising our children to be more accepting of families no matter how different they may be or look to us, like the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
The most recent of nontraditional family is that of same sex couples. In recent years these couples are becoming more accepted socially. They are also no longer isolated from the community. These couples are more likely to be able to adopt. The couples are also able to have children through sperm donation, and through invitro-fertilization. Through many studies done with this type of family they are proving to be just as good parents to their children as well as any other family unit.
Blended families are also becoming more mainstream with the divorce rate on the rise. The blended family consists of basically two families merging as one. There’s a mother and her new husband and possibly more children from his previous relationship the father may also have the same make-up. All these children are then put into a family structure with new rules and different parenting ways. They now have step-brothers, sisters, and step-parents.
With definition of a traditional family ever changing throughout the centuries, The author of “The Future of Childhood” David Elkind states in his article “that the notion that the natural direction of human and societal development towards a more equitable, peaceful, and harmonious world in which every individual would be entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” suggests that every family whether viewed as traditional or nontraditional all deserve to be treated as the family that they are. Without the labels that society and many of these families’ peers put on them.
Barbara Kingsolver “Stone Soup what does it mean to be a family” excerpt from High Tide in Tucson, Harper Collins 1995 David Elkind “The future of Childhood” Psychology Today 1992