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Family Stucture

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Introduction: Sixty years ago, the Second World War destroyed millions of European families which directly led to a change in Europe family structures. All families have an identifiable structure: "members, relationship, roles (who does what), rules (how each member is supposed to act), rituals, communication dynamics, physical and psychological assets, limitations, boundaries, and identity". (N.A., N.Y.) Europe was a traditional continent which used to be based on families. As Dogan states, religion, governments and authority are their families' "umbrella" that protects the stability of their families. (1998, Vol.39) However, with the decline of religious power and authority, family structures changed hugely during the last 60 years. There are now, more and more single parent families, multi-religious families, multi-national families, and families without children, etc. Furthermore, homosexual marriage has been legal in some European countries, like Netherland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and Spain. Obviously, people are more tolerant to different types of families than before. Nevertheless, the stability of families is weaker and weaker. The definition of a family is that "a kinship grouping of adults and children, who may not necessarily have a common residence". (Abercrombie et al 2002, 265) Without the same blood line, the members of a family are no longer as connected as before. They do not have the same religion, the same culture or many things which make a family solid. Family is often been garbled with the term "household" which means "a single person or group sharing living accommodation. ...read more.


Nevertheless, with the decreasing impact of religion on young people, the popularization of contraception and demands for labour were promoting families to have fewer or even no children. "The idea that children might be a burden rather than a benefit, or certainly so in large numbers, began in the nineteenth century amongst middle-class parents who were worried about their ability to maintain their standard and quality of life if they had a large family". (Abercrombie et al 2002: 272) Not only in the nineteenth century, even now, are kids sometimes treated as encumbrance of families. There is also a trend that rich people do not have kids, poor people have many children. Yet, Europe has been a rich continent which means children are regarded as families' burdens. Nevertheless, a family without children only remains a male and a female who have no same blood line. The relationship is visional but flimsy because the roles of family members are promiscuous and the psychological assets are scanty. Thirdly, the divorce rate in Europe is extraordinary high that adds the society's burden. Because divorce could bring uncertain factors to the society like single mothers who have to work hard as men; independent children who should not be independent so early; and stepfamilies could also bring psychological shadow to both parents and kids. However, the divorce rates of some Europe countries are extremely high: 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Countries AT 36 37 36 36 ...read more.


Therefore, women are even more toilsome than before. Gender roles changes much slower than it is supposed to be. Conclusion: With the tolerance of the society, contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexual marriage, and multi-national families are becoming legal and acceptable for European people. They chose various families and got rid of stable environment of a family. Therefore, Europe families have changed into an instable structure gradually since the Second World War ruined millions of families. The reconstruction of European families seems to be failed as a sustainable group. There are four main negative changes of Europe family structures in the past sixty years: the inheritance of the Second World War; the zero or negative natural population growth of Europe; the high divorce rate in most European countries; and the misunderstanding of women's social status. The war might be the original reason for the changes of Europe family structures. Rich modern European families have fewer kids than 60 years before which may cause a decline in whatever economic or political areas of Europe. Because the decrease of European population would directly influence the voice of this continent. High divorce rate could also impact both parents and kids. Single parent families need to suffer financial and moral burden which would weaken the relationship between family members. And finally, women's social status is improving slowly and in this patriarchal society, the gender role of women and men can hardly changed to a balanced or equal point. The tiny positive changes in European family structures are not strong enough to compare with negative effects. ...read more.

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