The idiom, “Decline of Traditional Family a National Crisis,” is deeply rooted to an assumption that national boom results from a nation rich with traditional nuclear families. Consisting of a married man and woman living together and sharing responsibilities for offspring and for each other, is the view of David Popenoe, a sociologist who believes a nuclear family defines social and national prosperity, the norm. It is when deviation from such norm occurs, that nuclear family importance is speculated.
With approximate statistical data, studies show 50% of marriages will end in divorce, a common transaction that portrays dismay of family. If the society is to survive, modifications to values and norms will be subject to cultural trends. According to David Popenoe, the traditional family is the key institution in society. Therefore, the society is eroded if the key institution is distorted. Popenoe argues families provide the identity, belonging, discipline, and values that are essential for development. Furthermore, he explains the concern that is shadowing children, victims of adverse social impact.
Nonetheless, Popenoe admits to social progress, such as diminishment of segregation, racism and the financial emancipation of women. Popenoe’s research is admirable but not entirely correct, due to neglecting the modern society’s value for family and structural changes that have emerged from technology. In this modern day and time, families range from traditional to modern. The traditional family is a vulnerable mirage, holding on to values once strongly deemed necessary. The modern family is a deviant reflection of traditional family.
The composition of traditional nuclear family members no longer exists only in traditional sense. Participants in modern families are, the traditional man, woman and child, partnered gay men and lesbian women with or without child, single man and child, and a woman and child. Many of the family styles are responses to cultural evolution in freedom of choice and some are from nature’s course, whether tragic or not. Regardless of family style, the chosen avenue is not free from our roles beyond the family that restrict our access to family life, a view of Stephanie Coontz.
Stephanie Coontz opposes Popenoe’s theories of a nation in crises, as well as pointing out historical data was not accurately performed. She has provided more accurate data with much more sophisticated statistical approaches, including margin of error. Data collected, state families are behaving in no-crises manner and many families are strong, today. One of Coontz’s theories included the change in woman’s role. Women of today are not just barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, while breadwinner daddy is working to support his family.
Coontz expresses, in America, there are tremendous variety of family types that have worked and not worked. She continue to explain, that families succeed because they were flexible in their living arrangement, oppose to then stereotypes of the past. Our choices have improved with every human movement and social trend. Scientific and technological advancements have enabled possibilities, once unattainable, for traditional partners, gay couples as well as single men and women, to have children.
While traditional partners implement partnership availability, today’s single parent, has many choices from privileges bestowed. Single parents are capable of working long hours and still participate as loving and nurturing with the help of community, employer childcare accommodations, private and government programs. Communication and logistics, previously hindered from lack of technology, presently are vastly available and have narrowed deficiency in children’s need to see and communicate with parents.
Being equipped with much assistance, parents work productively or extensively, trying to excel. Structure of family is not the vitality of a nation; it is the family that creates a nation. Changing laws pave further change. Yesterday’s view of family, sufficed as best, still prevails but different family structures are emerging. Meeting the needs of members and protecting them from poverty, violence or sexual exploitation, is parental, social and national responsibility. Responsibility to achieve these needs starts with parents, sifters thru society, and lives nationally anew.