In the article “The Changing American Family” Alvin and Heidi Toffler mention that American Family has been changed from extended family to much more diversifying structures such as aggregate family, nuclear family and new system family. Though we should accept the change since the nuclear family it is not “ideal” as family structure. The first wave family was the extended family which, a thousand years ago, prevailed because it was necessary to meet the daily needs of people in labor and agriculture. The Second wave came in the form of nuclear family because the previous family structure did not fit well in the new evolving world of factories and offices. As for the third wave, it evolved simply because of the education, technology, opportunity in our society today causing diversification of household structures. I respect some of the arguments of the authors, but my perceptions of family are different and I disagree with of their observations regarding what we see in the family today.
First of all, it is true the family structure that is evolving into diversified families that The Toffler’s point out. The family system is fracturing and diversifying and this can certainly be observed to be happening now. In fact, in the paragraph twenty one, the authors gave us some examples such as trial marriages, single sex households, aggregate family, live-alones, communes, child-free couples. With the exclusion of these variations, only nine percent of the American family fits into and is considered a ‘normal’, meaning traditional, family. In the past, women were supposed to stay home to take care of the family, but the education and technology now play much greater roles than ever before. Instead of being confined to the home and daily chores, women are afforded equal rights in the family. In fact, women such as Sarah Palin also participate in politics running for president and also Hilary Clinton as our current States of Secretary. However, there is a consequence to pay in making the nuclear family in-perfect, as there are 49.9 percent of women are working according to American Progress.org statistics. This means that quality time and bonding between parents and children will be limited. It is not uncommon for the children to feel lonely and fall easily under of influences such as by mixing with the wrong group of people and following their bad footsteps. In addition, there may be some negative light cast by the statistic from Nationmaster.com of a 62 percent of divorce rate in families in which the wife is working. It is hard to know if this higher rate is because women who are working are better able to stand on their own feet rather than depending on the spouse, or if the diminished time together is adding stress to relationships.
On the other hand, I feel that new family structures such as the aggregate family have their advantages. Because most of aggregate family is diversified which means that they are more able to afford to buy essentials, gifts for kids, and even some luxury items. Children will then have more access to learn the new advance technology today such computer rather just books or physical chores such as mowing grass the old days.
There is no doubt that adoption is another great way to help the children that have no home. Celebrities such Rosie O’Donnell, Angelina Jolie, Patrick Harris and Elton John have been adopting children from orphanages. With this may help the kids for their emotion and parenting support, not to mention the change for the better in obtaining a good education, food, lifestyle and a safer home to live in.
I do agree with the authors that we all have their right to choose how to live. For example, those young couples that married before twenty years old today, as times goes by and the mutuality of thinking may then drive them to think if their marriage is working and whether they should hold on or create another broken family. Well, divorce may sounds bad, but if the marriage is not working and in additional contribute pain to both party involve then what is the reason of holding on? The best is to go to separate way to improve and heal the pain for the sake of the kids. In fact, the divorce statistics show 41% of the young couples who married under twenty end up in divorce court according to www.divorcerate.org. Just like a religion we can’t force our neighbor to be a Catholic nor Muslim. They have right to choose their own religion and we cannot expect to change other people or take away people’s rights. This is the true American way; citizens all have their civil rights.
With the fast pace of the world affecting the family structure, marriage is no longer a must in our world. However, I believe that by taking time to understand the changes regardless of whether they are positive or negative, the nation will come to accept them and move toward better solutions for both society and people like us.