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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Death of the Family?

The institution of the family as we know it in our society is dying. There are several trends that are occurring throughout the family, and society that have destroyed what we relate to as the traditional family. An increase in homosexuality and same-sex relationships has resulted in families with two mothers, or two fathers, instead of the traditional nuclear mother-father families of the past. Another trend, the increasing amount of women in the work force, has changed the defining roles and functions of family members. A third trend is the increase in divorce and separation, which has resulted in many lone parent families, as well as many step families. Another trend is the increase in open adoption in the last few years. This has resulted in a very non-traditional family, where a child grows up having two sets of parents. One last trend, but certainly not all of them, is the increase in common law relationships, which has in turn led to a decrease in marriage. Society has become more accepting, and tolerant of differences in people, and in the way people chose to live their lives. Governments are focusing more and more on freedom of rights, and non-discrimination. As a result of this, people feel more at ease practicing what ever fit into their individual lifestyles. A family member said to me that “the family is a form of institutional slavery.”Although I disagree due to my own beliefs. Nevertheless this view is out there.
The governments are more aware of non-discrimination, and freedom to choose. In June, only two months later, the survey showed that 65% of Canadians were in support of same-sex marriages. A survey done by the Environics Research Group in April and June 2001 shows the rapidly increasing support for same-sex marriages in Canada. It is estimated that of all these couples, about 40 % (between the age of 30-39) of them will end in separation. It is even possible now in Canada, for fathers to receive paternity leave. How this will affect the children's lives? Is it possible for a same-sex based family to be stable as we see the traditional nuclear family? Many issues are raised with this same-sex trend. Women in the past would stay at home, and look after the children and the home, while the husbands would work and bring in the income. This statistic went up nearly 20% since 1995. The people have changed with the governments and now as peoples lifestyles change, the institution of the family is changing. The statistics show they are most likely to break up in the end. In 1994 it had gone up to 56% (Wylie, Family an Exploration, pg 92). There is less attention paid to the children, less time for the children, and less time for the housework. The result of mothers working outside the home can be easily seen. The family structure has been totally rearranged by open adoption, not providing the typical nuclear family characteristics, and structure. It is estimated that almost 1 in 3 (31%) marriages will end up in divorce (Holloway, Individuals and Families in a Diverse Society, pg 232).
Within the past ten years, the focus of American families has become unpleasantly clear. Divorce, teenage pregnancy, violence, suicide, and addiction are all plaguing our families today. Conservatives, Liberals, and Feminists all have their views on why the breakdown of the families is occurring. The conservatives believe that the lack of religious beliefs and practices have led to the moral disintegration of this generation. Daytime television glorifying unwed motherhood, further obscuring right from wrong. With traditions rapidly diminishing and society's view on moral misfortitude eroding. Many conservatives feel that welfare actually contributes to the breakup of marriages. By making fatherless families a viable option to many. With the lack of social stigma in divorce and the lack of personal commitment in marriage, all factors in the general feeling today of short term instant gratification. Society puts a very high emphasis on obtaining one's personal desires over all else, including the children's sake. There seems to be a strong connection between one parent families and the rise in health and social problems in children. The time parents are available for supervision and interaction is little if any
Women should not have to endure abuse just to be accepted socially. Such as respect for the institution of marriage, and the appreciation of modernity. It is time we all take a real hard look at the state of our nation and start caring more about the community as a whole. I believe the government should subsidize employers who offer flex time , paid family leave, telecommuters. And a shortened work day to accommodate school aged children. The feminist view has several common elements with both the conservatives and the liberals. A feminist sight also try to cope with the problem of the woman's inferior status and how to improve both the "relational" and the "individualist" while maintaining a family life and balanced rearing of children. They blame troubles of children less on the absences of the two parent family, and more on the low wages of single mothers, poor child care, and unsafe housing and crime ridden neighborhoods. Society is challenged with the dilemma of facing the material poverty through further government assistance, and "time poverty through policies on parental leave and working hours. I feel after reading this article , My views are with The Islamic view which will be discussed in a follow up piece at a later date God willing. Society needs to invest in better education for young people about the consequences of having unplanned births. It has driven out the sense of community responsibility and social contribution. A liberal ideal family is one that sufficient income to support the children and to foster the emotional and intellectual abilities to develop a well paying, secure job themselves. I do not believe this must come from a cookie cut shape mold or must fit a certain shape puzzle. According to the liberals beliefs, parents separate or divorce or never marry at all because of the economic structure, not because they are less moral or selfish

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