The Changing American Family
Family is one of the oldest social institutions in the world. It performs a lot of important tasks and functions. Family has directly got affected due to the rapid social changes, family as a social institution got a new shape with new tasks. Nowadays the meaning of American family is not what it used to be, it is much more than just the stereotypical married father, mother and their children. This essay is devoted to the investigation of changes in attitudes about marriage and the family in the USA.
The pattern of the family has undergone radical changes since early colonial times. The family used to consist of three generations who lived and worked together. The father was a head of the family, he had primary economic responsibilities for its survival, and the source of authority. The mother's main duty was upbringing of children and a range of household duties. Children help their parents as well as the grandparents. The family was a unity which could not exist without one of the members, because they depended on each other and were emotionally connected.
But this pattern of family life changed dramatically and radically. Feudalistic attitude to life where women used to be the secondary in social status has disappeared. The American family is now different from what it had been in the past. It is a household with one or two children, where both parents work and are equal. Women give birth to their children at older ages and out of wedlock. Also, more adults prefer to live with unmarried partners or alone. The emotional attachment within the family members has diminished. Family cooperation is loosing ground, there is a huge gap between the material and non-material culture of the family. All these trends have significantly changed the American family and are unlikely to be modified any time soon. At the same time social change has also left positive effects on family as a social institution. People has more freedom to spend their free time in the way they like, they are also has the right to choose their own pattern of family.
In conclusion it should be said that marriage is the foundation of America's cultural stability and economic prosperity. In order to survive in an ever-changing society, the members of the family should communicate with each other and feel equal partnership and emotional intimacy.