- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 15 April 2015
I think we can all agree that there is no longer the “typical American family” in today’s society. That era of the nuclear family, the father who went to work from 9 am to 5 pm: a mother who stayed home and did the house cleaning, the car pooling, and the cooking, and the children whose focus was completely on school work is no longer existent.
Lately, most families have both parents who have full time jobs, which are typically outside of the home. The question is, what has changed?
According to Philip Cohen, sociologist at the University of Maryland and author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, three big changes in family life have occurred over the past 50 years.
The first change that is occurring in families: the decline of marriage. In 2010, 45 percent of households were headed by a married couple compared to 66 percent in 1960. That is a huge difference.
What this means is the divorce rate has increased significantly. We all know that couples are having trouble staying together in today’s society and everywhere we look another couple is breaking up or getting divorced. What we didn’t realize is that this is affecting the “typical American family.”
Children are growing up with their parents living in two separate houses. Some children don’t even get to see both parents on a daily basis. Some children grow up not ever meeting their mother or father.
Families that are headed by single moms are now are almost equal to the amount of families that have a stay-at-home mom and a working father (which is about 23 percent).
This is a tremendous change from the 1960s where the “American family” was everything. Cohen states, “In 1960, you would have had an 80 percent chance that two children, selected at random, would share the same situation. By 2012, that chance had fallen to just a little more than 50-50.”
Basically, it is almost impossible in society, particularly the US, to have a “typical American family.”
The second change within families today is the rise of the number of women in the paid workforce. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Actually, it is a great thing. This means more women are getting recognized and more women are becoming independent.
The only negative part about this is that the children come home from school to no parents. If both parents are out at work, the children either go home to an empty house, a friend’s house, or to a family member’s house.
Essentially, if the children grow up with both parents working a full-time job, the children are almost growing up with no parents at all.
Like I said before, women going out and getting their own paying job, becoming independent, and becoming recognized in the workforce is an amazing opportunity.
Coming from a woman’s perspective, this is wonderful. But, if you are working full time and you are a mom, find time to spend with your children. Be a mother.
The third change is the blended, remarried, and co-habiting families. Children who grow up with a remarried parent throw off the whole “typical American family” right there.
If a child grows up with a mother, a father, and a stepmother, that is not a “typical American family.”
I am not saying this is a terrible thing, I am just saying that this is a factor in why our society no longer has the “American family.”
In the 1960s, most grew up with a father who worked full time, a mother who stayed home and took care of the house duties and the children focused completely on school work.
It’s not just the changes in the parents that threw away the “typical American family,” the children also play a factor.
With technology and video games, these are almost all the children care about. The kids come home from school and lock themselves in their rooms and play Call of Duty all day instead of playing outside at the park.
If you take your children out to a nice dinner at a restaurant, the kids will likely spend their entire time on their iPhone, either texting their friends or checking Facebook. With technology right now, it takes away from the communication within families, which certainly can play a role in the disappearance of the “typical American family.”
With all of these factors in today’s society, the dynamic of one working father and one stay-at-home mother is very hard to find.
Although the divorce rate is high and technology is potentially affecting the family’s communication, everyone still has the people they can go to when times are tough.
Whether you are still living in a household with a “typical American family,” or you are living with a family who is headed by a single parent, or divorced parents, you still have those who love you and who take care of you, and that is all that matters.
LEFT IMAGE TAKEN from Daily Mail
RIGHT IMAGE TAKEN from sobremi.weebly.com