Family Values in America and Great Britain Few can doubt that family is trouble. Nobody can doubt that parliament and people are now casting around for solutions to what is seen as a problem of endemic disorder – rising crime, intrusive squalor, spreading welfare dependency, collapsed community. The concept of family has changed greatly. Speaking about American families, there are several ideas that have changed. The first thing that comes to mind is the difference in size of the families.
Anybody with ten children today would be viewed as strange, antique, or, even worse, unpatriotic — “You are contributing to the depletion of resources and overpopulation of our country! ” A large number of children are no longer needed to carry on the work of the family and are no longer a source of security or pride. Second, the size of the word “family” it has diminished. Today, the word “family” means the nuclear family (parents and children), not the extended family of the old days. The second area of change that has occur in the role and status of the husband and wife.
In the old days the man’s work was outside the home, earning a living to support the physical needs of his family. The woman’s place was in the home, giving birth to and raising children, caring for and feeding the family, nursing the sick and the aged. On the other hand, the great majority of mothers today are employed at least on a part-time basis outside the home, and are expected to supplement the husband’s income. Women are much more active in the affairs of politics, business, and government than they ever were in the days of my grandfather’s youth.
Today, more than ever, women are becoming equal partners in marriage. The third area of difference which one can notice is in the very practice of marriage itself. In the days of my grandfather, the word “marriage” meant only one thing: the union of one man and one woman, for good or for bad, until “death do they part. ” In comparison, marriage today can mean different things to different people. And to some people it doesn’t mean much at all. There are a number of alternatives to the traditional marriage, none of which was acceptable fifty years ago.
There are homosexual marriages, group marriages, communal living arrangements, and swingers’ groups, each of these being different from the others in the number and type of relationships desired. The word “relationship” is often used today when talking about marriage. These days more and more people are choosing to marry at a later age, and a growing number have decided to remain single. Today, being single does not mean a life without sex, however. It simply means that some do not feel that the legal act of marriage is necessary to have successful intimate relationships with other people.
As for British families, they have changed also during past 50 years. Older generation didn’t know what the divorce is and such cases were very rare. Also such problems as drinking, drug-taking, smoking existed in those time, but nobody knew about it. Children felt more discipline and their parents were stricter. But not everything has changed for the worse. They say, that children nowadays have closer relationship with their parents that should help them to understand each other better. Also the authoritarian model of upbringing is no more popular and parents and children are changing roles. Now parents and children are different but equal.
As for working mothers, they are not rare nowadays and children say that it helps them to be more disciplined and responsible, because they do everything at home by themselves. It is closely connected with a problem of lone mothers. They have a very low social status, but nevertheless most of the mothers consider their children happy, because friends and family support such mother. Moreover, they say that children have enough male models around such as grandfathers and uncles, so they don’t need father at home. All in all, it can be noted that problem and priorities within the family remained the same.
Only few things have changed. Among them is the situation between men and women. Thanks to the women movement and other social changes the relationships between men and women became equal concerning both financial and moral sides. As we see the meaning of the word family, family values and relationship between man and woman have changed since the middle of the 20th century. But nevertheless I believe that the notion of family, marriage will always mean the sacred bond between two people an later their children. In my opinion, we should just bring up our children in the atmosphere of love and care.