The Changing Family Values, By Natalie Angier

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What are family values? One hundred years ago I feel this would have been an easier question to answer than it is today. Changing family structures and social norms have created a more fluid form of what we envision as a family. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a family as both “a group of persons with common ancestry” and as “a group of individuals living under one roof.” As we have discussed in class, a family is not simply nuclear anymore. In the stories we have read we have examined nuclear, single-parent, extended, and community-based families. All of which held the same feeling of importance and love for the people in it. With every family being unique, each holds their own set of beliefs or values which poses the question, what…show more content…
There was an article in The New York Times called “The Changing American Family” by Natalie Angier that illustrates this point. The writer discussed the way in which the typical family structure has morphed into the many versions that can be seen today. Through her research, Angier noted that “anthropologists have traditionally used the term ‘fictive kin’ to separate such relationships from ‘true’ kinship based on blood or law, but many researchers have recently pushed back against that distinction, arguing that self-constructed families are no less real or meaningful than conventional ones.” (23) Personally, I think that if someone acts like family, then they become my family. These “fictive kin” do not exist to me. The title of a family member must be…show more content…
In the last seven years, I have transitioned from a nuclear family to a single parent family to, now, a blended family with a stepfather and stepbrother. All of this while having a self-constructed extended family. In the article, Angier also examined a study that was published in 2010 that interviewed 110 people with ‘voluntary kin.’ The study “found that for some people, voluntary kinship filled a void left by death or estrangement from biological family, while for others the relationships were supplemental or temporary” (23). This also refers to the malleability a family can have. There are so many ways a family can lose members over time such as with death and estrangement, but this quote speaks to the ways ‘voluntary kin’ are included. Sometimes people are added to a family to fill a void lost from another person that has passed away or become estranged. Other times, people become family just from continually being around for one

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