A husband and wife and their children who live together in the same household
Couples who are not married by live together.
Ideology of the nuclear family
The argument that the nuclear family is the best family type for individuals and society as a whole
Cereal packet family
An idea developed by Leach – he used this term to demonstrate that the media portrays the nuclear family as the ideal through advertising and TV programs.
Dark side of the family
The negative aspects of the family e.g. abuse, inequality etc.
Increasingly children are places at the centre of the family and given more status/decision making power.
Extension of childhood
The argument that childhood has been extended, possibly because young people now have to stay in education for longer and parents have more income to spend on them.
Views on the family
Nuclear family - Good
Nuclear family - Good
Nuclear family - serves capitalism
Very bad - exploits women
nuclear family - OK
Similar to Marxists
Unlikely in society
The nuclear family performs two essential functions, including; socialisation of children and stabilisation of adult personalities (with males adopting the instrumental role and females adopting the expressive role). He also argued that nuclear families are better for industrial society which might require families to be more mobile –to move for work.
Men are increasingly likely to bring up someone else’s children whilst their own are brought up elsewhere.
Beaujouan & Bhrolchain (2011)
argue – cohabitation before marriage has become the norm. Couples also live together for longer before getting married.
Marriage is declining
the media promotes the nuclear family as the ideal – on TV programmes, adverts etc.
functions of the family; primary socialisation, education, emotional function, reproductive function, sexual function
toxic childhood – children are being fed a diet of junk food, excessive exposure to violence and porn and a lack of love and discipline due to parents being forced to work long hours.
paranoid parenting – parents are now terrified of risk and harm to their children – this can lead to helicopter parenting where parents fuss over their children and restrict their lifestyles
The home habitat of children has shrunk to 1/9th of the size it was 25 years ago as children’s movements are restrictied.
Asian children are bought up more strictly than white British children-with more emphasis on family honour.
ethnic minority groups – Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black families are more likely to grown up in poverty, affecting their experiences of childhood.
Trends in marriage
- UK society is moving away from marriage to serial monogamy
- Because of secularisation religious marriages are decreasing
- Entry into marriage is being postponed
Trends in cohabitation
- Cohabitation is now more accepted but was seen as a sin in the past
- Most couples who cohabit go on to marry
- In the last 20 years, cohabitation outside of marriage has doubled
Perspectives about family diversity
Negative - The nuclear family is universal and performs 4 main functions
Very negative - Heterosexual nuclear families underpinned by marriage is the ideal family type
Positive - The nuclear family functions to serve capitalism
Very positive - The nuclear family is rooted in patriarchy and taught to children through gender role socialisation
Radical + Marxists
Very positive - The greater variety of choices and freedoms that characterise a postmodern society has led to greater diversity and fluidity in the form families now take
- Sociologists believe childhood and adolescences is a social construction or a set of social attitudes. Childhood varies across societies, cultures, places and historical time periods
- Sociologists argue until the mid-19th century children weren't treated as special and worked alongside adults
- In 1880, education became compulsory which prevented children from working and that modern childhood is a 20th century invention
Girls may be more strictly brought up
Class + Ethnicity
Barn (2006): Children from ethnic backgrounds may experience similar deprivation to white working-class children
Upper-class children may spend most of their childhood in boarding schools away from home
Childhood and power
- Children have limited opportunity to earn money and therefore, rely on parents more
- Laws give parents control over their children
- Parents control children's responsibilities and the speed they grow up