Sunday, December 4, 2011

Asking What Is The Traditional Family

By Bruce Jopples

Many people ask what is the traditional family. The traditional family unit, often referred to as the nuclear family, has historically consisted of two parents, a man and a woman and children. It has been on the decline for several years due to issues such as divorce and feminism.

The reason for a family to exist and even to follow traditions is to offer children the security of having a group of relatives to offer guidance. This helps them grow into adults who can function independently in society. If a child lacks this it can lead to several complex problems that will affect them later in life. The idea of family doesn't always have to stick to a rigid ideal, but instead has to to adapt to what's best for children.

Extended families are also useful parts of a traditional family unit. The wisdom that can be passed down from generations is of great use to children and helps them learn about the importance of history, heritage and how experience can be a learning tool.

People have been sounding a death knell for the traditional family since the post war era began. The changing role of women in society, coupled with the birth of rock n roll, feminism and the invention of the contraceptive pill, meant that society underwent several interesting changes which have altered the way men and women interact. There is now a tendency for women to have children later in life due to career pressures and many children are brought up in single parent households. Marriage is seen as no longer necessary when planning children.

Despite this it is still important to focus on the idea of the traditional family as a construct. Children need support and guidance from adults. The idea of a child requiring a support network has not changed just because society has moved on. As culture changes so does the necessity to meet the needs that have arisen from the changes.

Several politicians have campaigned on a programme that proclaims the need to go back to family values. This means different things to different people, depending on the household and even the culture they were raised in. What's certain is that the current situation needs to be addressed in order to to protect the future of children, who have suffered due to the decline of the traditional family.

By taking a positive outlook on how things currently are it's possible to examine past traditions and compare the successes of the nuclear family of old and find ways to apply those values to our current society.

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