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An investigation looking at nuclear families and the roles and responsibilities of each member in Britain today.

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION Thesis: An investigation looking at nuclear families and the roles and responsibilities of each member in Britain today. This investigation seeks to identify whether the changes in our society have affected the roles and responsibilities of the members of nuclear families or not, and if so, then how and to what extent. The conventional nuclear family is seen as the best type of family for modern life by functionalists and the New Right. However the number of nuclear families in Britain has been in decline as there has been a massive rise in other families such as lone parent families. The roles of nuclear families are often stereotyped in media and politics. The stereotype contains two ideas: 1. that a family should be made up of father, mother and children 2. that the father and mother should have different roles. It is assumed that men are naturally better suited for the world of work, and that women are better at doing domestic work, looking after the home and family. For functionalists, the conventional nuclear family is the ideal family for modern society because it fits the needs of society so well, and makes the best use of men and women's different natural abilities. Functionalists like Parsons who were writing some years ago before the rise of feminism made assumptions that women should not go out to work. Recently a new set of ideas have arisen. The New Right View is concerned by the decline e of the nuclear family. It is argued that the stable environment children need has been undermined by a whole series of changes beginning in the 1960s. In this investigation, I am going to look at whether these stereotypes are proven to be right or wrong. Also, I will look at how the conventional nuclear family is portrayed in society by the media as well as other members of society. ...read more.

Middle

* Housewife (1) * Child with adult responsibilities (1) The statistics above show that in Britain today there are a few different roles within the nuclear family, which would not have been found a few decades ago. These are: the working mum which is becoming increasing popular not only in Britain but all throughout the world, the house-husband which is on the incline as more women are now choosing to pursue a career, and the child with responsibilities which is quickly rising as in many families both parents are working leaving the eldest child to handle all household responsibilities. 5. Do you feel that roles within the family have changed over the last few decades? This question was put in to see the view of society and I wanted to find out the views were similar due to the stereotypes or were the varied. It was an open-ended question but I have still put the answers in the form of graph. The bar graph above shows that the majority of people thought that there was some change in the roles of all family members. However, I was unable to come to a conclusion with just this question about how different the roles have actually become. This change is due to the changes in society since the early 1960s. These include: * More divorce and cohabitation * The rise of lone parents * More illegitimate births * Women going out to work in greater numbers- taking men's jobs and making it harder for them to be breadwinners of the family. All these changes are seen as evidence of collapsing morals and a crisis in the family. This is the main reason to why the New Right are calling for the return of traditional family values among the nuclear families. This is where the father is the breadwinner and the mother and wife who cares for the home and family. ...read more.

Conclusion

I found it extremely difficult to keep my opinions aside form the group's discussion. Also, when I was analysing the questionnaires, I felt that I could have perhaps elaborated on some of the questions more to get a detailed insight of the respondents' opinions and views. Throughout this investigation I found that there are increasing changes in the conventional nuclear family in order to make it suitable for today's life. Many people believe that the nuclear family is decline. What is the correct statement? Well, according to Active Sociology for GCSE by "Jonathan Blundell" the simple reason is that large amounts of people do spend parts of their lives in nuclear families. If we add to the households we count as nuclear families before they have children, and couples after the children have grown up and are independent, then more than half of households are based on nuclear family relationships. This is evidence that the nuclear family is still very popular however the roles and systems of a nuclear family are changing and will carry to do so. From all the research and evaluating I found out that the conventional nuclear family is the base of more than half of all families. This shows that nuclear families will forever be alive but due to the ever changing views of society. The nuclear family would have to re-invent itself over and over again. Recently, there have been many big changes like men choosing to stay at home and women working. This makes you think what is it going to be next- children taking over the house and all household responsibilities? No one knows what might happen next. As for the question- "Will the CONVENTIONAL NUCLEAR family eventually die out?" In my opinion, no, I honestly don't think so. From my investigation, I found that people like nuclear families and they enjoy living as a part of them. Therefore, I believe that since it has been going on for a long time, it will now go on forever. ...read more.

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