Essay: The Evolution of the Family

With changes brought by the industrialization process, the family was no more a unit of production but turned into a unit of consumption. In the olden days, family members used to work together to make a living. However, with modern technology taking over manual work, most of the production was done in the industries. Thus, the dependence of family members reduced. Moreover, fewer children were given birth to as the costs of living had risen. This meant that the family had become an institution which was putting a pressure on family members.

Industrialization also changed the status of children and women in society. The former were no longer independent but became ‘sacred’ to the societies. In the past, children used to work and were aware of the harsh realities of society. However, with passing time, children became dependent individuals till the age of 18. These meant parents were more concerned about the education of their child. Due to increasing violence experienced globally, parents protected their children by dropping them off at school and taking them to malls and outings. This meant that children were kept under a certain to restrain them from knowing the real nature of the world.

The status of women has increased in the recent years, as laws have been created for women’s liberation. Women were dependent on their husbands as they did not have freedom to work for themselves. This has changed, and women are more concerned about their careers, rather than starting their family. This has paved the way to a decline in marriages. This type of attitude is also evident in men, as they also aspire to reach their career goals rather than marrying and settling down. In the western countries, women have a greater choice of cohabitation and abortion have been made legal. Thus, women have a greater control on how they want to spend their lives.

The expectations of couples have been raised by the influence of media. This creates conflicts in married couples and this may lead to divorce. Increasing divorce rates also mean that reconstituted families would become a cultural norm. Reconstituted families consisted of partners marrying who have either been divorced or widowed, and bring in children from their previous marriage. Thus, family structure has changed in the recent years.

The family members in the olden days were economically dependent on each other and were not emotionally attached. However, family life is becoming more flexible as parents and children share similar interests. Friends are also becoming the new family as families tend to live at a distance from their relatives. Thus, friends share the same relationship and are more successful at it.

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