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    Causes of weakening families and solutions

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    Many experts cite the weakening of the family as one of the causes for some of the problems our society faces today. Do you agree? In your response, include the following:

    Identify important changes in families since 1960. What factors are responsible for this change?

    On the balance, are families becoming weaker or simply different? What evidence can you cite?

    If you agree with the experts, what proposals do you have to strengthen the family?

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    Since 1960, the American family has undergone further radical changes. In little more than a decade, the divorce rate doubled, as did the proportion of working mothers; the number of single-parent households tripled; the number of couples living together outside of wedlock quadrupled; and the birthrate fell by half. Forces for change have included a massive influx of women into the work force, propelled by a rapidly rising cost of living; increased control over fertility, which has permitted many women to pursue careers more readily; heightened emphasis on self-gratification and self-fulfillment, which has helped reduce the stigma attached to divorce; and the rise of feminism, which has challenged the idea that child care and housework are the apex of a woman's accomplishments and her sole means of fulfillment.

    Black families have experienced particularly intense strain. In 1960, 21 percent of black families were headed by women and 24 percent of black children were born outside of marriage. By the end of the 1980s, nearly half of all black children lived in female-headed households, more than half were born outside of wedlock, and over half were growing up in poverty. Low wages, unstable jobs, high levels of unemployment, and welfare policies that permitted many states to deny benefits to two-parent households contributed to the breakup of many impoverished families.


    Trend #1: "The proportion of the nation's children living with both biological parents jumped from 51% in 1991 to 56% in 1996.

    Trend #2: "Nuclear families now comprise less than 25% of all households".

    Egalitarian Sex Roles:
    Percent of US adults agreeing it is "better for everyone if the wife takes care of the home":
    1977: 65% 1996: 35%

    Attitudes toward marriage:
    Percent of respondents agreeing that "all in all, it is better to be single than to be married"
    1980 mothers: 9% their daughters in 1980: 23%
    1993 mothers: 10% their daughters in 1993: 11%

    Attitudes toward divorce:
    Percent of US adults agreeing "when there are children in the family, parents should stay together even if they don't get along."
    1962: 49% 1977: 20 % 1993: 17%

    Attitudes toward sex:
    Percent of adults agreeing that "premarital sex is always or almost always wrong"
    1972 men: 46% 1998 men: 30%
    1972 women: 56% 1998 women: 40%

    Attitudes toward children:
    Percent of US high school seniors agreeing "being a (father/mother) is one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can have"
    1976 women: 65 % 1998 women: 72 %
    1976 men: 69 % 1998 men: 76 %

    Attitudes toward non-marital childbearing:
    Percent of US high school seniors responding: "A man and woman who decide to raise a child out of wedlock are violating a basic principle of human morality" (out of five possible responses)
    1976 women: 25 % 1998 women: 18 %
    1976 men: 21 % 1998 men: 19 %

    Explaining the breakdown of the specialized family since 1960:
    It emphasizes the entry of women ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution contains a discussion of the possible causes of the weakening of families through a look at changes since the 1960's. Also listed are possible solutions to this problem. The text contains 1847 words and references.