How could you describe the word "family"? First of all "family" means a close unit of parents and their children living together. But we shouldn't forget that it is a most complex system of relationships. Family relationships are rarely as easy as we would like, and very often we have to work hard at keeping them peaceful.
When do people usually start a family? This question doesn't have a definite answer. In the 18th, 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century people used to get married at the age of 18 or even 16. If a girl about 23 or more wasn't married, she was said to be an old maid or a spinster. That might have turned out a real tragedy for her family which usually brought up more than three children, because in some cases a successful marriage was the only chance to provide a good life for the daughter and to help her family. Despite the fact that the girl was so young, she was already able to keep the house, take care of her husband and raise children. To feel the time, its culture and customs I advise you to read a wonderful novel or see a breathtaking film "Pride and Prejudice". Though the story takes place at the turn of the 19th century, it retains fascination for modern readers, revealing some problems which may be urgent in the 21st century.
But life's changing as well as people's style of life. Nowadays we have got much more freedom in questions concerning family. It is natural to get married at the age of 20 up to 30; however, some people prefer to make a career first and only after that start a family when they are already in their forties. Moreover, there are many cases when people prefer to live together without being married. There are some reasons for this phenomenon. Firstly, it is difficult to juggle a family life with studies at school or university. But without good education it is practically impossible to find a suitable well-paid steady job. It's a must to get a higher education, but by this moment you are already 22—24 years old. After that you seek for a well-paid job to live independently, which takes about 3—5 years. Now you see why people in the 21st century do not hurry to get married.
There is also another difference between old and modern families. Nowadays it is very unusual to find three generations living under one roof as they used to do in the past. Relatives, as a rule, live separately and don't often meet one another. This fact sharply hurts an older generation. Our parents and grandparents usually suffer from lack of attention and respect from their children and grandchildren, although they try not to show it. They really don't need much, just a telephone call or a visit once a week will make them happy.
There are two basic types of families. A nuclear family — a typical family consisting of parents and children. A single-parent family consists of one parent and children. Nowadays there are very few people who have never divorced. Today the highest divorce rate in the world has the Maldive Republic. The United States of America take the third place. Russia is at the ninth place. What are the reasons of great numbers of divorce? Let us name some of the most common and serious ones.
• Occurrence of adultery once or throughout the marriage. The unfaithful attitude towards a spouse destroys the relationship and leads to a final separation.
• Communication breakdown. After some time of living under one roof spouses find out that they are absolutely incompatible. Constant clashes, brawls and squabbles cause serious problems. The differences grow as a snowball and can't be already settled by kisses or hugs.
• Physical, psychological or emotional abuses. When a person taunts, humiliates, hits the children or his spouse, it can't but end with a divorce.
• Financial problems. It sounds lamentably, but sometimes love alone can't guarantee well-being, whereas money can solve many of your problems. So when a couple lacks it, their relations become more and