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Americas Changing Families

3 Pages 743 Words

America's Changing Families
Time and time again, we hear people talking about the eroding American family. From politicians to religious leaders, we hear that we need to return to “Traditional Family Values.” So what are these “Traditional Family Values,” and what happened to them?
The 1950s are quite frequently used as the perfect example of a time with these “Traditional Family Values,” but history tells us that is not the case. According to Stephanie Coontz (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 2001), there are large numbers of people, who tell stories of tormented childhoods in alcoholic, abusive or conflict ridden families. These people can’t understand why anyone would regret the passing of the 1950s, while there are others who are grateful they were unaware of their parent’s problems. This latter sheltered group of people are grateful for whatever kept their family together, and they are also thankful the media did not expose them to many of the adult realities that today’s children see or read about. Stephanie suggests the way to get past these polarized viewpoints, is to put their strengths and weaknesses into historical perspective.
I believe it is easy to look backwards in time, and to forget the bad things that occurred, and to remember the good things, possibly better than they were. Instead of saying we should go back to “Traditional Family Values”, I feel we should discuss how we can improve life for today’s busy and diverse families.
The most often discussed value from the 1950s, has to be that some believe the woman’s place is in the home. A large percentage of households had a stay at home mom, with a dad as the breadwinner. This is where many people get the idea, that the lack of traditional values in modern society, is a result of women in the workforce. According to Stephanie Coontz (Post, Lawrence, & Weber, 2001), historically, productive work by mothers, fathers and by young people ha...

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