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The Discussion on the Institute of Family Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2020

Modern Issues in Family Formation

The story which Melanie Thernstrom shared with the readers of The New York Times actually represents a rather sensitive topic in the discussion of the institute of family. Melanie suffered from inability to have children for a long time. Every time, when her pregnancy failed, she felt that her life is ruining (Thernstrom, 2010). After unsuccessful fertility treatment, she and her husband decided to apply for surrogacy.

Unarguably, the surrogacy is rather painful issue in the society with some part of people accepting it and the other one claiming that it is wrong to divide a child with the woman who gave him life. Speaking about the society as a whole, it will be logical to cite the words of Bayer J.A. who says that “like every other culture, American society depends on reproduction for its continued existence” (Bayer, 2002).

Sutherland and McCall Smith (1990) mention that “some legislators and jurists have responded positively to this challenge; others appear to have felt threatened by what has been seen as a frontal assault on the traditional notions of genetic relationship and family bonds” (p. 2) In spite of the controversy around the problem, Melanie and Michael did not want to live their life without children. Nowadays, Kieran and Violet are the children of Melanie and Michael making their family complete and happy.

In my opinion, the relationships between adults and children in this family do not suffer from the fact that Kieran and Violet are not biological children of Melanie and Michael. Moreover, it will be incorrect to say that the way these children have been born will influence their future life in some negative way. Instead, they will be always lovely children of Melanie and Michael who will take care for them.

The Problem of Family Institutionalization

Another problem in the sphere of family relationships touches upon those families, the members of which became imprisoned. Generally speaking, this issue is about the attitude of the society not only to the sentenced themselves but also to their relatives.

The incarceration became the way of the family institutionalization which can be explained as the formal organization of family made by some external institutes such as the court. The film A Sentence Apart is devoted to the problems of the families of incarcerated. One story included in the film is told by the young girl, whose father was sentenced when she was born.

In essence her father’s sentence and isolation became the reason for her own alienation which she felt while being a child. Nowadays, the girl says that she has overcome that and she makes the efforts to inform a society about the problems of the families of the incarcerated. “We are the leaders of tomorrow, and there will be no leadership in a future if there are no protective due here in a sentences carcer” (Community Works, 2010).

There are other types of family institutionalization including the military one. Unarguably, it differs from those described above. Military institutionalization of family is called to unite people in case of war or external threat to the nation, whereas institutionalization of imprisoned families reflects the legal regulation of social order and safety, sometimes, even the personal safety of the family members of the sentenced individuals.

Criminal incarceration differs from other kinds of institutionalization primarily due to the social alienation which it brings to the family functioning. That is why the effects which different kinds of institutionalization make are also substantially different and very often they are not positive ones.

Impact of Marketing on Children

The uprising of children is a vital issue for the society as our children is our future. The impact which the media and the pop culture make on children is discussed in the film Consuming Childs. Belford T. in his review on the film summarizes its main idea stating that “the consumerism in the United States has moved from marketing products based on actual features to be conveyed by advertising to the practice of marketing social meaning of products” (Belford, 2010, n.pag)

It was found that “children in the United States spend over a week of their lives every year (10,700 minutes) watching television advertisements” (Chapter 7.Consumerism, 2009). The authors of the film make it clear that the marketing techniques are aimed at children as a target audience promoting certain models of behavior for them. Unfortunately, these models are very often mentally and morally destructive for young generation.

McGergor says that the adults are responsible for teaching their children not only consumption but also making them aware of the problems it may bring to society (McGregor, 2003, n.pag.) The consumerism and the ensuing materialism cause the priorities reversal changing people’s values (Abela, 2006). In this context, a society should be more conscious in respect to the environment in which the children rise.

It is important to emphasize the role of law regulating promotional activities and advertising. It is able to restrict the time of certain commercials on TV, for example. However, it should be said that despite of the measures the social institutes can make in order to protect children from negative external influence, the most part of responsibility should be taken by parents who must persuade their children in the importance of the ethical model of behavior.


Abela, A. V. (2003). Marketing and consumerism: a response to O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy. European Journal of Marketing, 40(1/2), 5-16.

Bayer, J. A. (Ed.). (2002). Historical and multicultural encyclopedia of women’s reproductive rights in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Belford, T. (2010). . Web.

Chapter 7. . (2009). Web.

Community Works, (2010). A Sentence Apart: Excerpt. Web.

McGregor, S. (2003). Consumerism as a source of structural violence. Web.

Sutherland, E., & McCall Smith, A. (1990). Family Rights: Family Law and Medical Advance. Edinburgh, the United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.

Thernstrom, M. (2010). Meet the Twiblings. The New York Times. Web.

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