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Assess the View that Family Diversity is leading to a Weakening of Traditional Family Values.

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Introduction

Assess the View that Family Diversity is leading to a Weakening of Traditional Family Values Given the culturally diverse character of the United Kingdom today, there are considerable variations in family and marriage within the country. The structure of families has altered over time and is still changing today. Changing relationships between spouses in the family, and in particular, the changes in the position of women in the family. The family in the UK today reflects a range of factors, including Britain as a multi-ethnic society, differences in social class, and as a society in which women choose or are forced to head families by themselves. A significant section of the population chooses not to marry at all; are these people posing as an alternative to the family? A definition of the family is a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility of caring for children. Kinship ties are connections between individuals, established either through marriage or through the lines of descent that connect blood relatives (mothers, fathers, offspring, grandparents, etc. The nuclear family is traditionally defined as a basic family unit of adult partners and their own or adopted children. The extended family has been defined as 'A grouping broader than the nuclear family which is related by decent, marriage or adoption. (Bell and Vogel, A modern introduction to the family). The family has evolved to a variety of new family types within the last century. ...read more.

Middle

For example; they describe the 'sun belt' families of the affluent south east as family builders. The south coast towns, where many elderly retired live, are named the 'geriatric wards'. Inner city areas tend to have more lone parents, and ethnic minority households. During the19th century there were alternatives to marriage and the family. Oneida Community of New England in the USA set up a commune in the 19th century; it was based on the religious beliefs of John Humphrey Noyes. Every man in his community married to every woman, and all supposed to be parents to the communities' children had responsibility in upbringing. After various initial difficulties the group expanded to include about 300 people and endured for about 30 years before breaking up. Many other communities have been formed since then, in Britain as well as many other Western countries. Giddens A (1997). People living together in a sexual relationship without being married. Over the past 40 years there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of people in the UK cohabiting before marriage. Only four percent of women born in the 1920's cohabited and 19 percent of those born in the 1940's - but nearly half of women in the 1960's. Giddens A (1997). Many homosexual men and women now live in stable relationships as couples, and some gay couples have been formally 'married' even if these ceremonies have no standing in law. ...read more.

Conclusion

A large number of people do still seem to prefer relatively conventional/traditional relationships, although with modifications in one aspect or another. We have lost some of our traditional family values, but would it, if possible be a good thing to recover a more moral sense of family life? Should we reinstate the traditional family? This was a much more stable and ordered life than the web of relationships in which most of us find ourselves now? However is the diversifying of the family such a bad thing? We should actively encourage a variety of family forms and sexual life, rather than supposing that everyone has to be compressed into the same mould. Social changes have transformed earlier forms of marriage and the family, most of which are irreversible. Women won't return in large numbers to a domestic situation from which they have painfully managed to extricate themselves. There is a much wider tolerance of difference. Men and women can remain single if they wish to, without having to face the social disapproval that once came from being a bachelor, even more a spinster. Couples in live-in relationships no longer face social rejection by their more 'respectable' married friends. Gay couples can bring up children without the level of hostilities they would have faced in the past. Overall there are clear patterns of continuity with the past, but within an overall trend towards increased diversity. ...read more.

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