5) To what extend does the change in the Bahamian family structure lead to the many social problems in our society today?
As afore mentioned, a family is a biologically related group which may consist of a husband and wife with children. It can also be a group of people not related but living under the same roof.
It seems that over the years there has been a change in the family structure of the Bahamas. If you lived about 50 years back chances are you would have lived in an extended family. Today however, chances are you are living in common law family. The change of the family structure in the Bahamas occurred between the 18th - 21st centuries. Between the 18th – 19th centuries there were two main types of families, the Nuclear family and the Extended family.
In the earlier days, “ We were taught to say ‘ yes mam/sir’ and ‘no mam/sir’. When we didn’t and our parents found out we were given a good scolding and then beating.” remembers an interviewee. Now however it is becoming increasing popular among the ‘ young people’ to ‘ walk on by like we older folks don’t exist’. Children were taught to be seen and not heard in those days. They were to stay quiet in the presence of grown- ups, no matter how much they wanted to join in the conversation. Again we see the difference in today’s young people. For, now if they think they have a valuable conversation they do, whether they are asked to or not. The girls of the past were given a curfew, which they were expected to keep. If they were out after dark, you can be sure that they were given a good whipping. Now however, young girls can be seen in the streets at five and four o’clock in the morning.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Children were taught not to complain about not having everything they wanted. They were expected to respect each other and their property. They did not move anything that did not belong to them without asking. The children had to work to earn whatever it was they really wanted if their parents did not have the money to get it for them. According to Mr. Bethel, the children were taught to stay in their books and allowed time to play only after they were done studying. They were given chores so that they had something to keep them busy.
Religion was a major part in the Bahamian lifestyle some years back. The male inside of the church were obligated to become members of the church choir, while the female were involved with church activities and the Sunday school program. The pastor was respected and obeyed. In those days the children were taught every one of the Ten Commandments.
At the present there are signs of same sex families, adoptive families and institutional families in the Bahamas. Theses types of families were probably never heard of 50 years ago.
Same sex families are families where you have two women or two men living together and having sexual intercourse. If there is a child present in this family, he/she may decide to become ‘gay’. This will then lead to an increase in the rate of same sex families. Having sexual intercourse with someone of your own sex is against the belief of the Christian people; since the Bahamas is considered a Christian nation this can prove to be a problem. It can be assumed by the information I gathered that there were considerably less teenage pregnancies, drug abuse and gang robberies 50 years than there are now.
The ‘March of Dimes’ teenage pregnancy fact sheet tell us that life for a teenage mother and her child is often very difficult. Naturally teen mothers are more likely to drop out of secondary school than girls who delay childbearing. With the teen mother’s education cut so short, she may lack the job skills necessary to be hired for any self- respecting job. Most teens do not posses well enough parenting skills to help them raise a child in the right way. By this I mean teaching them not to steal, lie and the biblical principals.
The number of cases of drug abuse in the Bahamas has been increasing over the years. When a person first begins to take drugs it makes him feel energetic, alert, self-confident and sometimes even powerful. After a while these sensations begin to decrease and the user feels the need for higher doses of the drug to get them back. After using the drug for a number of days the user becomes tired and if they have no drug left they begin to ‘crash’, or fall into a state of ‘agitated depression’. With prolonged high-dose use the user may feel paranoid, hear voices, and ‘ experience bizarre delusions’. However the effects of drug abuse varies according to the drug that is being used.
So, why are we experiencing this increase in the afore mentioned problems of society? With all the changes happening in the world today it seems that no one has time to teach the good ole gospel truth to their children. Children need to be taught the bible and know that they are loved. They need to be taught what is right and what is wrong and should be made aware of the laws of their country.
It seems that with the change in the Bahamian family structure came the increase in social problems in our society. Many of these problems can be traced back to single- parent homes, however other family types have also contributed to these problems. The social problems that exist within our society today can be combated, so there is still hope for our country.