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Changes in family structures Essay

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Updated: May 20th, 2019

During the 20th century, family structures and dynamics were changed. Families turned from large to nuclear size, the level of divorces increased and new forms of cohabitation arose. The traditional emphasis in Western society is based on the image of heterosexual married couple who has biological children. In such traditional system, non-traditional families, non-married couples, homosexual couples, families with one parent and families with adopted child are affected by the traditional emphasis of biological ties.

Today, such issues as emotional anxiety, marital tension, stress and pressures make women less able to have normal family relations and to give birth. According to Baker, “infertility for men often avails itself as a joke of male sexual performance” (Baker, 2005, p.525). In this situation, even adaptation of child is not seen as the solution due to the high possibility of non-acceptance of woman as a real mother (Baker, 2005, p.539; Lynch, 2010, pp. 217-220).

Living in traditional community, adopted child may be affected by the coevals from the traditional families. Such fairs can prevent people from adoption, as they would think about possible conflicts related to psychological problems within the family and negative attitude of the society.

Although adoption is considered as a positive and respectful step, the biological and social risks “impact on child emotional, cognitive and behavioral development, learning and adaptive functioning, and family relationships and adjustment” (McMahon and Gibson, 2002).

Family relations within non-Western cultures, for instance, the relations in the Asian cultures, are based on deepest religious believes that family is a sacral structure that cannot be destroyed. The level of divorces in Asian countries is less than in the Western counties. There can be found such other kinds of “ties” as the high level of respect of the cultural traditions, moral principles and rules of behavior.

For instance, women in Asian culture are more dependent on their husbands; in most of the families, women do not work and they cannot leave their husbands. However, one can notice that due to the process of globalization, migration and cultural mixing, the representatives of non-Western culture demonstrate the new attitude to the family relations which is more Western, than Eastern. Besides, the new forms of unions and cohabitation arise.

Recent researches of childhood settings in the context of non-traditional families demonstrate that children’s attitude to gender roles had been changed due to the parental influence. On one hand, non-traditional families (same-sex couples) more likely adopt children and secure them a good childhood.

On the other hand, children grown in non-traditional families can demonstrate different attitude to gender roles than their coevals from traditional families. Such issue can lead to disbalance and confused perception of relations, gender and family as the social institute. This aspect also includes the relations within the families of migrants who adopt child from local group. Thus, Spark and Cuthbert analyze the problem of migrant peers in the Australian community (2009).

Growing in a family from the different ethnical background, child may face with a problem based on the cultural differences. However, it would be wrong to conclude that people prefer to adopt child from the same community.

Znang and Lee indicate that the United States is “one of the major baby-receiving countries in the world”, the Americans prefer adopt foreign-born children (2010). Although the cultural and racial aspect is not significant for parents, this issue has serious impact on childhood of the adoptees who can face with the serious physiological problems.

Reference List

Baker, M. (2005). Medically assisted conception: Revolutionizing family or perpetuating a nuclear gendered model? Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 36 (4), 521-543.

Lynch, D. (2010). Being a real mother: adoptive mothers’ experiences. In S. Goodwin & Huppatz, K. (eds.), The Good Mother: Contemporary Motherhood in Australia (pp. 215-231). Sydney: University of Sydney Press.

McMahon, C. A. & Gibson, F. L. (2002). A special path to parenthood: Parent-child relationships in families conceiving through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 5 (2), 179-186.

Spark, C. and Cuthbert, D. (2009). Other people’s children: Adoption in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Znang, Y., & Lee, G. R. (2010). Intercountry versus transracial adoption: An analysis of adoptive parents’ motivations and preferences in adoption. Journal of Family Issues, Advance online publication. Doi:10.1177/0192513X10375410

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