The Way We Really Are? Essay, Research Paper
(Article #12- “The Way We Really Are”)
The author of this article portrays how the standard of the “traditional family” has changed over the past century. The article emphasizes on how marriages are becoming extinct and families are breaking away from the old fashioned way of raising children. For example, having both a father and a mother in the home full-time use to be the definition of “ the traditional family”. The author seems to believe that the majority of society today is becoming accustomed to single parent homes and women being the major breadwinners in the home, thus making this the new “traditional family” lifestyle.
As I was reading the statistics in this article I was very critical in believing the data that was given by the author. There were statistics given about the increase in unwed motherhood, divorce rates falling and rising, how much divorce has increased since the 1950’s and how many people are staying unwed in the later 1900’s. The author gave no indication of where or how she gathered her statistics.
I do believe that the divorce rate in America is at an all time high for the start of the new millennium. I believe that Americans are forced to re-evaluate their opinion on what the traditional family is made up of. Children are forced to live with one parent, not having the traditional dream of both a mother and a
Father, which is the image of what a real family is portrayed to be in the generation I was brought up with.
The traditional lifestyle of a family use to be that the father was the major breadwinner, going out of the home and working long hours of labor for his family living on the wage of just one major breadwinner. The mother was the nurturer, staying home to take care of children and household chores. Because of changes in economical status in the late 1900’s, families were forced to change their opinions on what was once known as traditional family lifestyle. Both parents would now have to work outside of the home in order to be able to afford everyday standard living expenses. This was not even to include expenses to cover buying a home or sending the children to college.
Because more than 60% of women have to work outside of the home before their children reach their pre-school years, children are being raised by daycare centers and babysitters with little or no parental education. Women are still expected to uphold most or all of the nurturing and household duties even though working outside the home, leaving very little time to spend nurturing with children and spouse. Therefore causing much tension and turmoil in the home.
Many couples cannot uphold the trials of marriage today. To most marriage seems to be hard work instead of a happy extension to ones family, explaining why statistics are showing more and more people who are choosing to remain unmarried.
The article explains other reasons why more women are choosing to work outside of the home. Stating that women enjoy feeling equal in the economic portion of a relationship. Working outside the home gives them a feeling of adequacy or prestige. Being able to take care of themselves. Women feel sometimes less important in a relationship if forced to rely on another individual for everyday financial needs.
It seems to be that the new traditional family consists of one parent and one income. It is a sad reality but true. In my opinion the author seems to be correct in it’s theory that marriage is becoming extinct. Divorce is still rising and more and more people seem to be choosing to stay single and have children out of wedlock. I do not see any solutions to the new wave of families in today’s society. I find it very sad and do not look forward to what will become of our future. I can only pray that although few and far between, there will still be families that consist of both a mother and a father and some marriages will beat the odds and go the distance.
Coontz,Stehanie. The Way We Really Are. pp. 58-63, Sociology 99/00 28th edition.
Dushkin/McGraw-Hill 1999. Guilford, Connecticut.