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Changes in the family structure | Analysis

1757 words (7 pages) Essay in Sociology

12/05/17 Sociology Reference this

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Many countries have experienced very significant changes in patterns of family formation and family structure. Great Britain is one of the countries where these changes have been particularly marked with the result that British families have become less stable . The roles of women and men with the parents or within the family have also changed. The last 100 years have seen changes in attitudes and expectations. Bruner, J. (1985) Vygotsk, the last 100 years have been seen in the structure of technology, attitudes and expectations. Families are mix of cohabiting parents, stepfamilies, single parent families, those living apart together and civil partnerships, as well as the traditional family. it was necessary to prove that in one of five ways such as unreasonable behaviour, desertion, adultery, two years separation with consent, five years separation without consent.

J. (1985) Vygotsky, the public are divided into their views in which relaxation of societal attitudes towards marriage means it is no longer seen as unusual to be involved in a ‘complicated’ family structure. Families are no longer just made up of married parents living with their children. Although seven in ten households are still headed up by married couples, this proportion has been declining for some time. Families are now a mix of cohabiting parents, stepfamilies, single parent families, those living apart together and civil partnerships, as well as the traditional nuclear family.

The changes in marriage, divorce and cohabitation have contributed to the growing number of new types of family. Two in five of all marriages are now remarriages, which makes stepfamilies one of the fastest growing family forms in Britain. In the decade to 2006, the number of single parent families also increased to 2.3 million, making up 14% of all families. Consequently more and more children are now growing up in single parent families, and in stepfamilies. A growing number of couples are also now living apart together, often following failed marriages or cohabitations. Initial estimates suggest that around two million people have regular partners in other households excluding full-time students and people who live with their parents. In most cases this is due to working in a different location to the family home or because the relationship is still in the early stages . However, women’s focus on their career may also be a factor. As women choose to focus on their career before settling into a committed relationship, they are getting married and having children later in life. Finally civil partnerships between same sex couples have created a new type of family. By the end of 2007 there had been 26,787 civil partnerships since the law was introduced in December 2005.

Teenage motherhood is one of the most distinctive features of British Demography. Without teenage pregnancies, Britain’s rate would fall from 1.8 to 1.68 (Coleman and Chandola, Chapter 2; also Coleman 1997). Teenagers throughout Europe both East and West now engage in sexual intercourse at earlier ages than their parents or grand-parents. In disapproval pre-marital

sex . Marriage was broken, little remained to prevent young people who are physically ready to have sex from doing so. The analysis of European social attitudes data (Chapter 3; also Scott, Alwin, and Braun 1996) provides information about attitudes to pre-marital sex in various countries in 1994. In these information ,52 per cent were opposed to men, and 63 per cent opposed to women, having any pre-marital sex. Only a small number believed that pre-marital sex was ‘natural’ (McKibbin 1998: 296)

For teenage men and women in Britain today, the average age at first intercourse is 17. But whereas in most of Western Europe, rates of teenage motherhood have fallen as teenage sexual activity has risen. Demographically, Britain more closely resembles to Eastern Europe, where a tradition of marriage has long meant high teenage fertility rates (Coleman and Chandola, Chapter 2; also Coleman 1996b: 23).Almost all of the East European births are inside marriage while all of the Western are outside marriage with a large number being outside partnership as well. In Britain, teenage births account for just over one-fifth of all non-marital births 21 per cent while 80-90 per cent of teenage births are outside legal marriage.

In 1996, there were 44,700 babies born to women aged 15-19. Although this represents a rise over the previous year. However, it is also the case that the number of teenage girls in the population was falling from the early 1980s onwards and that the rate at which 15-19 year olds become pregnant and remain pregnant .The conception rate and the abortion rate was stable or rising throughout the period and into the late 1990s (ONS 1997d: 62). Figure shows changes in the abortion rates for selected years since 1974.There was a large drop from 1974-84 when teenage births fell steadily. From 1984 onwards, however, conceptions have fluctuated around 60 and abortions around 35, per 1000 women aged 15-19. The stability of both the conception and abortion rates gives few grounds for thinking that in the short term at least . British teenagers will behave different than they have in the past. And as their numbers in the population are set to rise over the next decade and number of babies born to teenagers (Craig 1997).

Britain is also distinctive for its high divorce rate. Thirty years ago, there were two divorces for every 1,000 marriages. Liberalization of the divorce laws in the 1970s was sharp rise in divorce and by the mid-1980s about 1,000 marriages ended in divorce a rate (Pullinger 1998). The rate of increase is slower now than in the 1970s and early 1980s largely because the married population contains fewer of those at high risk (Murphy and Wang, Chapter 4). Nonetheless, 40 per cent of marriages will end in divorce measures of divorce per 1,000 marriages or per 1,000 population. Moreover, people are divorcing after shorter periods of marriage. One in ten marriages which took place in 1981 ended in divorce within 4.5 years, compared with one in ten divorcing within 6 years in 1971 and after 25 years in 1951 (Roberts 1996: 2). Early marriage have long been understood to be strongly associated with marital breakdown. The younger the age at marriage, the greater the likelihood of the marriage ending (Kiernan and Mueller, Chapter 16). Between 1971 and 1996, people under age 25 experienced the greatest growth in divorce rates with rates increasing for men and women (Pullinger 1998).

The problem of lone motherhood is poverty. Research suggests that, as a group, lone mothers have few chances of obtaining other than low-paid work, often because they enter the labour market disadvantaged by their low level of qualifications (Bryson, Ford, and White 1998). The majority, however, have young children to care for and thus need jobs which provide enough income to meet the costs of child care. Consequently, lone mothers in Britain are less likely to be employed than in most other case countries and in the 1970s and their employment rate has declined. The difference in economic activity between married and lone mothers is particularly sharp between women with children under age 5. In the 1970s, lone mothers with preschool children were more likely to be in work than married mothers This changed during the1980s, and during the 1990s married mothers with young children have been twice as likely as lone mothers to be economically active. During the1990s one in two married mothers with pre-school children have been in employment compared with fewer than one in four comparable lone mothers (Kiernan, Land, and Lewis1998: 128). Most of the fall in employment among lone mothers has come in full-time work while the full-time employment of married women has risen with part-time work remaining stable. People live alone for a variety of reasons. For example, living alone may be a permanent choice and for others , it may be a temporary. While there are more people living alone at all ages and the largest increases since 1971 have come among men and women under retirement age, particularly those aged under 40 (Hall and Ogden 1997). The increase in solo living among people under pension age rejects the way in which household change is some-times linked to economic change.

Since 1970s ,the number of lone-parent families has been increased in Britain and also the proportion of children raised in such families (Coleman and Chandola, Chapter 2). In the late 1990s, 1.6million families in Britain with dependent children. During the 1960s, divorce overtook death as the primary source of lone-parent families while in the 1970s and 1980s, sharply rising divorce rates and falling remarriage rates furthered their growth (Kiernan, Land, and Lewis 1998; Murphy and Wang,Chapter4). From the mid-1980s, however, most of the growth in lone-parent families has come from never-married mothers as changing attitudes towards pre-marital sex. Nonetheless, there has been a substantial increase in the number of single women who become mothers while not living with a partner (Berthoud, McKay, and Rowlingson, Chapter 15).

Since in 1990s, women who had never married before becoming mothers (Pullinger 1998).

The parents who were working and busy of whole day to day responsibilities, grandparents could spend more time with their grandchildren and develop a special bond (Weissvourd, 1998). Children and their grandparents each were close to each other and were able to offer mutual support for each other. There were lot of facilities on the parents to teach their children even that grand parents played important role in this situation. This gave scope for reciprocal social relationships and joint interaction in learning and contrasts with the role of the parents as well as grand parents in learning (Bruner, 1985). In the context of the family, mutual trust and respect for each member’s perspective (Rommetveit, 1974, 1979) was a important to this process.

Government has moved away from financial support for marriage towards families. Legislative changes have given families more flexibility to maintain their home and work lives and have a degree of choice in their options. The public would like to see support made available to families and delivered to the service provider and providing additional cash. In recent years the amount of money spent by government to support families has increased significantly but it has also been dramatically re-targeted which has the effect of shifting support from one type of family form to others. Up until 1999 the three key family benefits were Child Benefit (which began in 1975), Family Credit for low-income working families, ‘Married Man’s Allowance’ (it became the Married Couples’ Allowance in 1990). Family benefit as it is available to all those in employment with a low income including single people with no dependants. However, couples and single parents do get additional credit and there is a childcare element for those that have children.

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