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Outline and discuss the view that the increase in one-parent families is due to diversity rather than family decline.

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Introduction

Jenny Mason Outline and discuss the view that the increase in one-parent families is due to diversity rather than family decline Over the past fifty years the nature of family life in Britain has changed and this has had an effect on society. There is a view that the traditional nuclear family is under attack and that these threats to the traditional nuclear family are the main cause of the claimed moral decline among young people. The "New Right" is a group who believe that the family is in decline; they see the 1960s and early 1970s as the beginning of an attack on the traditional nuclear family. In particular the introduction of the contraceptive pill and the legalisation of abortion in the early 1960s as it gave women sexual freedom that supposedly lessened their commitment to the family; while equal opportunities and equal pay legalisation has distracted women from the family. Also the 1969 Divorce Reform Act, which meant that men and women could file for divorce due to "irretrievable breakdown", was seen as undermining the commitment of marriage. Even religion not playing such an important part in family life, as people become more secular means changes in the familial structure. ...read more.

Middle

R.N. and R. Rapoport (1982) are very critical of the functionalist and the New Right views that the nuclear family is the only ideal way to arrange a family and that this is typical. Britain's family life is characterised by diversity and even back in 1978 only 20 per cent of families fitted the nuclear ideal. Nowadays this diversity is much more acceptable and this reflects Britain's changing society. However it is important not to dismiss the nuclear family altogether as one-parent households may have evolved out of nuclear families and may evolve back into nuclear families in the future. However other types of families such as the one-parent family are of much growing importance. One-parent families are on the increase with the number of one-parent families in the UK with dependent children tripling from 2 per cent in 1961 to 7 per cent in 1998. One-parent families make up 25 per cent of all families and it is estimated that a third to a half of all children will spend some time in a one-parent family. Women head a massive ninety per cent of one-parent families with 60 per cent being ex-married may this be due to divorce, separation of the death of a spouse. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just one quarter of Afro-Caribbean children live with two back parents. Also the tradition of women living independently from the children's father in the Afro-Caribbean community means that half of Caribbean children live in one-parent families. The Post-modern family is characterised by diversity, variation and instability. Now women are more independent and no longer aspire for marriage and children who create the nuclear ideal, as there are now acceptable alternative lifestyles which women are happy to turn to and liberate them. Also in the post-modern society men's roles are no longer so clear cut, they are no longer the dominating bread winner of the family as equal pay and opportunities for women mean that women can aspire to the men's levels. However there is no doubt that the nuclear family is still very common but the major increase of one-parent families and other family types indicates that there is a definite drift away from the nuclear ideal. So although the nuclear family is still around, common and popular in Britain it has had to be adapted to fit in with the changes both in society and in the home. Britain is a multi-cultural society with many different races, religions and sexualities which means that there are more diverse families which people accept and the today's families are mostly typifies by diversity. ...read more.

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