Family as a Social Institution

Family as the most Important Agent of Socialization

Among the five agents of socialization that include media, education, family, religion and peers, family is the most important socialization agent. Family is regarded as the most essential agent of socialization since it is the social institution that¬† is required to teach children about social life at a very tender age. Children are completely dependent on family members as infants to survive. The parents, siblings or those assuming the role of parents have a responsibility of teaching children on how to take care of themselves and their roles in the family and the society. They help them fit in a society and family system. Family teaches children about relationships, resources sharing and group life. It also provide children with their initial system of beliefs, norms and values (Chambers, 2012). Therefore, family act as the foundation of a child’s social life and thus, it is the most essential socialization agent.

Causes of Dramatic Changes to the American Family

There has been a dramatic change in the American family for the last 60 years. This has highly been attributed to industrial revolution. This revolution resulted to women financial independence and expansion of social equality, and women liberation in the society. Initially, women role was to nurture families while men role was to provide for the families. Women were more submissive in marriages and children were more cared for on these days. However, the change of women’s status in the society resulted to the current change in the marriage institution. American families are currently characterized by increase in level of divorce, cohabitation instead of marriage, blended families of both heterosexual and gay design, and single motherhood where children are born out of wedlock. This marks a change from the ideal companion marriage experienced in 1920s to egalitarian associations, enhanced freedom, and self-aspiration experienced today (Cheal, 1991).

Differences in Marriage and Family life Linked to Class, Race ,Gender and Personal Choice

America is a country with a diverse society based on social class, race, and gender among others. This diversity has attributed to differences experienced in family and marriage life. Normally, those in a high social class cares about their norms, social reputation and values and thus, they always fight to maintain perfect marriages where possible. In this regard, they always raise stable families and train their children on the importance of families and maintain family ties. On the contrary, those in a low social class have a number financial problems which makes it hard to maintain the family bond. Therefore, to them, fighting hunger rather than staying tight as a family is the most important thing.

Race is another aspect that determines the differences in American families. Normally, blacks and other minorities are faced by a number of social problems which forces their family to be more dysfunctional as compared to whites. Normally, most white single mothers are singles by choice. On the contrary, most blacks are single mothers due to early pregnancy, school dropout,  high rate of incarceration among black men, and men involvement in drugs and other criminal activities that initiates social conflicts and thus, increasing the rate of divorce or separation among blacks (Sussman et al., 1999).

Gender and personal choice are other aspects creating differences. Normally, it is easy for a woman to nurture her kids from early pregnancy or dysfunctional marriage alone than a man with a child’s custody. Men tend to remarry as compared to women. A single mother is more likely to cohabit than remarrying. This creates difference on families based on gender difference. Personal choices on the other hand makes some to consider being single parents before they try marriage. In addition, it makes other to have a gay relation and adopt a child. This normally result to a change of family definition from what it was initially to a diverse range of definitions based on the kind of family one wishes to adopt (Chambers, 2012).

Trend Toward Diverse Families

In my opinion, the current family trend is negative. Families are the basic element of a society and when families are dysfunctional, the society experiences a major problems. The new diverse family trend makes it hard to maintain societal norms and values. Growth of diverse families weakens the family bond and as a result the social bond in the society cannot be felt with a similar magnitude than before. Morals are now taught based on the family structure of the child’s origin. The definition of a perfect family in schools or other social institutions results to demoralization of children of other diverse families and thus, lowering children’s self esteem. Therefore, the current diversity highly affect the life of our children in school, religious gathering and in other social institution, and thus affecting their general well being. This will definitely affect the future society until when the current change is accepted in other social institutions (Cheal, 1991).

Effect of Trend to Traditional Families on Women’s Right

Although the traditional families are currently considered as the ideal families, they were more oppressive to women than any other family members. Women were only required to take care of household chaos and to be submissive to their husband. This highly undermined their rights as human beings and more so as grownups in the society. If the current family trend would shift to embrace the traditional families, then, there is a likelihood that women would be denied their right to work. However, this is not an obvious effect. There are currently a number of single mothers who take care of their children and manage their work. In addition, there are a number of working women in their traditional like marriage, of a man and wife who cares for the family. In this regard, it is possible for the society to adopt the traditional marriage and maintain women’s right. However, these families will only require to adjust to accommodate a house maid or allow children to be cared for by daycare service providers where necessary. The society only have to adjust to accommodate women with more rights in traditional marriages (man and a woman with man as the head of the family) (Sussman et al., 1999).



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