Traditionally, the American family used to be made up of two parents. They could fully support each other in terms of family needs. The traditional nuclear families were the major source of hope and inspiration for all the family members. However, the changing times have ushered in new types of families and their respective roles. It is highly likely that the socio-economic changes witnessed in the last five decades or so have significantly transformed the family structure.
To begin with, most of the modern American families are no longer nuclear-based. There are myriads of blended families that have cropped up with parents who remarry especially after separating or divorcing from their spouses. While cases of divorce and separation of parents was not a common occurrence in the past, the modern American families have rapidly assimilated these practices. It is very common for parents to part ways and secure custody of their children.
The changing family times has also witnessed the degrading family values especially due to the fact that children who are brought up by either single mothers or fathers do not receive the full parental support during their sensitive years of development. It is equally profound to note that conflicts within families have been on the rife.
Lack of cohesiveness and strong family ties have led into several cases of divorce and separation.
In the event that a divorced parent remarries and opts to have children with the new spouse, a new family springs up. Consequently, new relations such as step brothers and step sisters have emerged. There are some blended families that relate well while others may not be in good terms at all.
Parents who are divorced may decide to either share custodies of their children or manage the family roles single-handedly. However, lack of a common custody has led to the overstraining of family resources owned by a single parent. In some instances, it has occasioned serous suffering of children who are under the care of a single divorced parent.
It is also vital to mention that not all cases of single parents emanate from divorce and separation. There are spouses who have decided to bear children without being in a legally recognized marriage.
Nonetheless, single parent families that have found it difficult to support themselves in terms of accessing healthcare, food, education and housing have been compelled to seek monetary support from close family members such as uncles, aunties and grandparents. It is not surprising that there are several instances where grandparents have assumed active roles of raising their grandchildren.
Perhaps, the employment and money issues have significantly affected the modern American family structure. Traditionally, one working parent used to provide for the entire family. However, it now requires concerted effort to do so due to the challenging economic times. It is not uncommon for parents to secure more than one job in order support the financial needs of their families.
The difficult economic times have also interfered with the traditionally acknowledged family roles. Although a standard family is supposed to perform certain social roles, the changing family structure can no longer allow the latter. Some of these roles include physical development, intellectual development, emotional development, social development, and moral development. In other words, the modern family cycle is similar to the changing seasons of the year.