Family, as what sociologists address, is a social institution. Families are shaped by the family members’ personality. Individual members affect their relationship that is greatly influenced by experience. Families are also affected with the other social institution in the society like law, religion and education. Thus, families are subject to changes whether these changes gave advantages and disadvantages, the family has to cope up and make adjustments. Failure to do so will affect society and social problems might arise. This twist and turns have been quite evident as the time passes by.
Single parents, careerist mothers, absent fathers, and live-in partners are blamed as the root cause of many of society’s problems that could lead to persistent poverty, drug abuse, academic failure or out-of-school youths, and juvenile crime. This can be traced back to the early society that calls for historical perspective(Steven Mintz, 2003). History of the American Family In 1920, majority of American families are the traditional type; the father is the breadwinner, the wife is the home-maker and the children attend the school.
Unwanted pregnancies happened between 1940 and 1958. Families of the 1950s are characterized by increase in birth rate, a stable divorce rate, and the age of marriage decline. During the early and at the middle of the nineteenth century, divorce rate began to rise because of its legislative order to be legalized. Spousal and child abuse gave rise and this can be reflected with the increase in assaults and murders committed against relatives and family members. Highest divorce cases happened at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Single parenting, children in orphanage, infant mortality and early widowhood are the other changes happened in the past years(Steven Mintz, 2003). Family issues becoming social problem Divorce and single parenting From the point of view of some, divorce is an indication of failure of American family. But for others, it is viewed as a sign of freedom from men that women do enjoy. After World War II, it is documented that the rate of divorce increased and these may be an indication of the changing views and role of women in the society and their need to be free from social and financial dependence upon men.
However, the dramatic increase of divorce rate has greatly affect the economical and social stability experienced by most of the divorced women that caused social problem for the economic well-being of the divorced women and the children are highly compromised. On average, women earn less income than men, households that headed by the divorced women are further disadvantaged, also, the lack of adequate and consistent child support added to the economic dilemma of divorced women (Dennis L. Peck).
Spousal Abuse Among the cause of violence between couples are: incompatibility between them which they discovered after the marriage and such difference arises when there is great disagreement and animosity between them, the couple is under stress and frustration therefore burst it out to one another and lastly, if the wife is a masochist or very awkward or very provocative(Rudi Dallos). Child abuse and neglect A child that is not properly taken cared of, not properly fed, deprived of basic necessities, proper medical care and treatment, and too much physical abuse is a violation to the child’s welfare and is considered as a criminal behavior.
Juvenile Delinquency According to a study, broken homes are associated with juvenile delinquency. Levels of juvenile delinquency were much higher in teenagers living with single fathers and lowest among teenagers living with both parents and one of the suggestive reasons for this is due to inadequate parental involvement in the life of the child. The lack of guidance and the absence of close relationships between the child and parents contributed to the causes of the delinquency(Crystal L. Murry).
Financial stress Financial stress can directly and indirectly affect children because it increases parental mental and emotional distress, which limits a parent’s capability to respond sensitively and consistently to their children’s needs. More specifically, parents that are more commonly observed among low-income populations have behaviors of parental harshness, non-responsiveness, and inconsistency and are assumed to arise in part from the high levels of parental stress that accompany poverty.
Parents having low income have the tendency to fail to express their affection and fail to respond to their child’s needs. (H. Abigail Raikes). Gay and Lesbian Families Sigmund Freud viewed homosexuality as a disturbed psychosexual development wherein the social orientation of the child is due to its relationship with his or her parents. Psychologists, as well as other professionals form other disciplines such as endocrinology and genetics have studied and discovered other possible causes of homosexuality (Dennis L. Peck).
Before, same-sex families were inconceivable. However, in 1980s, the situation began to change and have changed the views of family life for gays and lesbians. Due to socioeconomic independence of women of lesbian families, the medical advances of in-vitro fertilization and sex transplant, acceptance of gays and lesbians by adoption agencies and courts, planned gay and lesbian parenting had increased tremendously but during the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was argument about same-sex families, particularly child-rearing by gays and lesbians.
Solutions to Problems Having time for the family will be helpful in strengthening the family and businesses providing flexible working schedule will be of great help. The power of media has great influence on the youth; therefore, they should make effort on portraying positive views on marriage and valuing education. The parents should be attentive to their child’s learning in and out of school. No-fault divorce legislation establishes conjugal property that should be divided by both parties, assigning the child’s custody, and awarding alimony.
Open communication is important so that problems and conflicts can be addressed within the members of the family. Nowadays, it is acceptable that both parents are working to support the financial needs of the family but make sure that there is still time for relaxation and bonding of the family members especially during special occasions. There are also government agencies, insurance company, law firms and consultants that provide legal and financial support for the child, spouse and elder that are victims of domestic violence.