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The Family: Contemporary Issues and Debates.

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Introduction

´╗┐Essay: The Family: Contemporary Issues and Debates. This essay will begin by explaining briefly what the term ?family? really means. It will then proceed to determine three different family groups consisting of ?the lone parent family?, ?the nuclear family? and ?the extended family?. It will then examine the changing and diverse nature of the family in modern societies by looking at the changing position of the children in the family and how this has changed in Britain since the nineteenth century. Once this has been identified the main focus of the essay will be to explain the main ways in which the concept of the extended family has changed over time and across cultures in relation to the families of the Caribbean and British family institutions. The family can be regarded as ?a group of people, related by kinship or similar close ties, in which the adults assume responsibility for the care and upbringing of their natural or adopted children? (Jary & Jary: 1991). The family unit is one of the most important social institutions, which is found in some form in nearly all known societies. It is a basic unit of social organisation and plays a key role in socializing children into the culture of their society. (Browne: 1998) The most common forms of the family are the nuclear and extended family groups. ...read more.

Middle

This means that parents have more time to spend with their children. Another factor that could have affected this change is that families in Britain have got smaller the average number of children per family household was 1.8 in 2007 and in the nineteenth century families were much larger than today that was partly due to infant mortality rate and families had many more children with the understanding that not all of them shall survive (www.localhistories.org:2010). Children?s education has been made compulsory since the nineteenth century. This has resulted in children spending far longer in education which has meant that young people are dependent on their parents for much longer. It seems that ?childhood has itself become extended? (Browne: 2010). Finally the social security system is one that provides families with a range of benefit entitlements which is designed to help parents care for their children; recently in January 2010 the Labour government spent 300 million pounds providing those families with the lowest of incomes free laptops and internet broadband access. Consequently this has increased demands on parents to look after their children properly: social workers for example have a wide range of powers to intervene within the family unit on behalf of the children they can also have the ultimate power to remove children from parents if families fail to look after them properly (www.bbc.co.uk:2010). ...read more.

Conclusion

In the nineteenth century it was common for relatives to offer support to families to help ease the pressures of family life. Over the last 100 years a traditional view has been that the extended family has disappeared in Britain, with the typical family now consisting of the private nuclear family. The nuclear family is often regarded as being separated and isolated from its extended kin and has become self reliant and self contained. The modern nuclear family is considered to be a private institution, isolated from wider kin groups and often neighbours and local community life as well. (Browne:1998) While the most common type of family found in modern Britain is the nuclear family, there is still evidence to suggest that the extended family still survives today in modern Britain usually in two types of communities; traditional working class communities and Asian communities. (Word count so far 1240 without conclusion) Notes*** Traditional- dominated by one industry- fishing. Mining industrial centre?s- north of England-inner cities-little social or geographical mobility- stay in area 4 several generations- close knit family 4 life- live close by- extended family life declined in other societies in the 1990s due to people being forced to find employment elsewhere Asian- still common (those who came to Brit in 60s 70s from Pakistan).-usually on males side-grandfathers, sons, grandsons and their wives and unmarried daughters. ?important source of strength & support in such communities. ; ________________ Kerry Champkin Tuesday 1st June 2010Page ...read more.

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