Compare and Contrast Traditional and Modern Families Essay

Faouzi NOURI-GIRONES CIT 071807 Compare and contrast traditional and modern families Since the nineteenth century, in the western societies, family patterns changed under the forces of industrialisation and urbanisation. Another factor which has been involved in those changes is the growing intervention of the state, by legislative action, in the domestic affairs of the family. As a result of these trends, the modern “nuclear” family has been substituted for the traditional extended family.

The increase of values such as individualism and egalitarism has influenced the patterns of modern family. Although traditional and modern families share similarities in terms of constitutional concept and milieu of love and care, they have several differences in term of family size and gender roles. Traditional and modern families share similarities in terms of constitutional concept. As the traditional family was, modern family is still on institutional component of western societies. In other words, both are a “unit structure” or “basic organism” of which society is composed.

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As an institution, traditional and modern families similarly have to complete functions such as procreation and socialization of children. For example, even though the modern family has decreased in size, it is still the common environment where children are born; receive a moral education, where their tendencies are disciplined and where their aspirations are encouraged. Therefore, to reassure the pessimist sociologist of the early twentieth century, family evolution has not lead to desinstitutionalization.

Another similarity between traditional and modern families is that both are a favourable milieu for love and care. As it was in the traditional family there is in the modern family a formidable tie between husband and wife, which springs from an elective affinity and symbolises love. In the warmness of the family this love spreads amid the children who tend to experience it in their adult life. In addition, in the traditional families the mother usually bore the sole responsibility of the child caring.

Modern parents now share this responsibility together because of social and work constraints. However, holidays which are not common in the traditional family, allow them to spend quality time with their children. Moreover in many modern families the father becomes a house worker, to provide for the needs of his children. As the statistics shown in the United Kingdom in 2001, 155 000 fathers were stay home husbands. All in all, the emphasis on nurturing children can be seen in traditional and modern families, alike.

Apart from the similarities mentioned above, traditional and modern families have several differences in the areas of family size and gender roles. One major difference between the traditional and modern family is the decrease in family size. The traditional family tends to be extended with three or more generations in the same household because it provides a strong union between its members. Another reason for a large household is that usually farming was the principal economic activity of the family 1 members.

In contrast, the modern family household contains two generations, parents and dependants children. Unlike the traditional family the modern family lives in small houses due to the fact that big houses are expensive and also because modern families usually live in cities. In addition the modern mothers use contraceptive medicine to reduce the chance to have babies whereas traditional mothers did not use birth control. Statistics from the National Office show that the average number of children by women born in 1934 decreased from 2. 46 to 1. 76 for women born in mid 1980’s.

To sum up, the migration of the family to the cities, financial constraint and birth control contributed to the decrease in family seize. Another difference is the shift which occurred in the role of male and female within the transition from traditional to modern family. In the traditional family the male was dominant; he was the breadwinner, the sole financial provider to the family. In part related to this, the women were dependant on her husband. In fact, she had to obey not only her husband but also the other males living in the household.

Conversely, in the modern family there are equal rights between male and female, as women has the right to enter the workforce and be financially independent. Therefore, the commitment of women in the economic affairs of the family has contributed to set up a mutual respect in the modern family. Furthermore, in the modern family fathers are no longer the authoritarian leaders, very often they discuss with their family before making important decision. As a result owing to the change in gender role, there has been a great improvement in the relationship between modern family members.

To conclude, although, traditional and modern families differ in many areas such as family size, division of responsibilities of labour between the sexes; they share more than one common universal institutional concept. Furthermore, their similarity as an environment of love and caring as much as the differences above are the produce of societies advances. Therefore, there is no reason for people to think that family evolution is declining Word count: 839 2

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