American Families

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Gail Sheely once said, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. And if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” The family, especially in America, is the epitome of this quote – the American family is always growing and changing (not always for the better) and finding new ways and ideas that are constantly redefining the word family. Over the past century, the structure of families has changed greatly. Also, the roles and responsibilities of the individual members of families have changed drastically. Perhaps receiving the biggest change is the morals and values that families observe. What is the American Family ? In this day and age many external forces contribute to the structure of a family but there is a basic structure that most families follow. The Nuclear Family was for the longest time, and still is the most common structure of families. This structure is made up of a two parent, a mother and father, household with children and maybe a close relative. Due to the increased divorce rate, a new family structure that is growing in popularity is the blended family. This family structure consists of a one or two parent household with children, potentially step children and close relatives. Because of the increase immigration rate and the tightening of the economy, the extended family has become more prominent in society. This family structure consists of two parents, children, grandma, grandpa, and/or other relatives. Also rising in popularity is same-sex partners adopting children and having a family; interracial and interreligious marriages are also becoming popular. The roles of parents in a family are to be the breadwinners and raise their children in such a way that they will become prosperous members of society (Duda 12-23). ... ... middle of paper ... ...Caffrey, Paul. Families: Traditional and New Structures. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson, 2013. Print. McHugh, Kathleen. "Changing Family Structure in the Last 100 Years." Chatman University, Spring 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. . Schwartz, Richard A. "Family, Gender, and Society in 1950s American Fiction of Nuclear Apocalypse: Shadow on the Hearth, Tomorrow!, the Last Day, and Alas, Babylon." The Journal of American Culture 29.4 (2006): 406- 24. ProQuest. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Sheehy, Gail. "Brainy Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, 2001. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. . Teachman, Jay D., M. Tedrow Lucky, and D. Crowder Kyle. "The Changing Demography of America's Families." Journal of Marriage and the Family 62.4 (2000): 1234-46. ProQuest. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

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