Marriage and Family Internet Course
3. The “golden age” of the family did not ever really exist in all families. There has always been conflict and troubles. There was and is really no such thing as a perfect family. We all have our troubles, conflicts and ways of dealing with them and coping with them differently. The difference between back then and now is that people are more open about their troubles or conflicts then they were back then. In the U.S. Colonial Period to 1899, the families were controlled by the males and usually had unrelated individuals in their households to live and work. Slavery was a given in these times. The fathers often used physical force to discipline their children. The children had a harder time surviving in these times until adulthood, not many of them made it that far. The children were put to work as soon as they could because of the times. The families were all a hardworking group. They had to all do their part to survive. The males had gender specific roles, as well as the females. Many of them were affected by accidents, disease and illnesses. Then, as the times progressed in the 1900’s to Pre-WWII, the gender roles were altered due to political and economic changes. Women began campaigning for their rights and started attending schools and jobs outside of the home. During this time there was divorce, family violence, and child neglect. In the 1950’s, which is the golden age of the traditional family, there were higher rates of teen pregnancy then there is today. However, there were more married teenage mothers because of the fathers forcing the man to marry his daughter once she became pregnant. The divorce rate skyrocketed because of the traumas of war and the economy. When the men came home from the war, it forced the women to go back into the home and take on their roles as before. This brought on the women’s liberation movement in the 60’s, which shifted the roles into dual-income families. I think that there has never been a golden age in families. They were just better at hiding it or trying to keep it among themselves. People did not want to talk about things outside of the “norm” back then.
4. The structural-functional theory views the family as a system that encourages the maintenance of society, with the traditional nuclear family as the best arrangement. The advantage of this theory is that it promotes the function of the family to promote society as a whole. It states that when men and women conform to the norms of society, they raise healthy children. This theory stated that if failure to conform happens, it throws society into disequilibrium and results in dysfunctional outcomes such as juvenile delinquency and divorce. However, this theory was brought to a halt in the 1960s and 1970s when there was an increase in blended families, same sex couples, and single-parent families. This leads up to the disadvantages of this theory. It cannot account for social change that is going on in our world today. It labeled these family variations as…