How Family Affects the Children Position in Life Essay Example


Much of society is appalled by the current moral deterioration that has infested modern values. Yet they are blind to its origination and absent-mindedly encourage its progress. Over the decades, government assistance and public influences have encouraged the commonality of single-parent families. Complications that form from the struggles of single parenting produce handicapped children and, eventually, unproductive adults. The breakdown of the nuclear family presents negative consequences for parents, children, and society as a whole, but change in societal knowledge and cultural values can reduce and even reverse the progress of this epidemic.

A nuclear family consists of a married male and female that are the biological parents of their children.  It is the most beneficial family structure for children, but the general public often fails to know why it is so successful. The key is the child-centered nature of the family structure. Married parents devote substantial time and effort to developing their children (Hymowitz). Financial stability and relatively advance education of married couples gives them the opportunity to invest in their children. Financial stability reduces stress within the family and offers free time that would otherwise be devoted to earning more income. Advanced education provides parents with both a higher income and an awareness that children need to be invested in substantially to become effective adults. These attributes of the nuclear family have consistently produced children with “better physical, emotional, and academic well-being” (Anderson). The parents’ constant support and involvement in their child’s life encourages him or her to do well in school and provides a reliable support group for their child’s emotional needs. A nuclear family’s comfortable salary makes regular healthcare and a healthy diet accessible to their child. It also ensures the child can focus exclusively on school activities instead of working to help support the family. All of these factors combine to give the child ease of mind and the opportunity to develop effectively. 

Single-parent families typically consist of a single, permanent biological parent and his or her children. This family structure consistently produces sub-par adults because they often lack the significant components of stability and time for children. Compared to married couples, “(s)ingle parents tend to be younger, less educated, and more inclined to believe in the child’s “natural growth” (Hymowitz). Youth and sparse education leave the parent unable to spend necessary time with their child as his or her job availability is limited. These same attributes also leaves the parent unaware of the negative impact natural growth has on their children. 

Natural growth is leaving a child to his own devices as he matures. Children are often left alone and unsupervised for extended periods of time due to the parents need to work excessively in order to earn a liveable income. Children are provided with little formal guidance as they mature; parent involvement in the child’s life is kept minimal. Unsurprisingly, the almost abandoned children of single-parent family structures “suffer from emotional insecurity, decreased social and psychological maturation, decreased cognitive and academic stimulation, and poor health” (Anderson). All of these effects stem from the consistent absence of the child’s parents, whether that means the one who is “out of the picture” or the permanent parent who struggles to make a sustainable income. Without continuous parent involvement, a child will become isolated and unmotivated. The child has neither a support network or a direction. Mental health deteriorates quickly during this isolation and gives way for adverse effects. Eventually, these childhood complications coalesce into an adult that fails to contribute to society productively.

Single-parent families are on the rise in most developed nations. It is being preached as the consequences of modern life’s loose morals. In reality, the catalysts for this epidemic have been weaving themselves into society for over five decades. The birth of radical feminism in the mid-twentieth century sparked cultural backlash against marriage. Women and men began recognizing “the institution of marriage as a tool to suppress and entrap women” (Fagan and Noyes). Radical feminist ideology twists societal perception of marriage. Instead of recognizing marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman to successfully raise their children, radical feminism accuses marriage to be a vessel torment used by men to constrain women. 

Radical feminism’s contorted perspective on marriage has become increasingly mainstream. Within the last decade, support for radical feminism has seemed to of grown exponentially. This can partially be blamed by the accessibility of radical feminist ideology to developing minds. It has infiltrated its “way into college textbooks and whole college courses” (Fagan and Noyes). Radical feminism’s unsubstantiated argument against marriage is manipulating the minds of future leaders within universities before they have even had the opportunity to develop their personal opinions. Of course, in these particular universities, students are not offered counter-arguments against feminist ideology to help ensure their sway in opinion. Universities attempt to justify these one-sided courses and textbooks through sociologist Jessie Bernard’s erroneous arguments that marriage is harmful (Fagan and Noyes).

Despite the fact that Bernard’s argument against marriage has been discredited by a multitude of family studies, universities still push their preferred ideology upon their students. Radical feminism has, unfortunately, flourished in society because it uses mainstream feminism’s goal for female equality as a medium to effectively spread propaganda against marriage. This is why the universities and others hold onto the radical feminist arguments. They are misguided by the plea for female equality and are manipulated into dismantling nuclear families. Consequently, universities in developed countries have taken an essential role in the production of societal disdain against marriage.

Radical feminist ideology is not the sole reason why the nuclear family structure is diminishing. The ideal of personal happiness is another change in societal culture that has proliferated single-parent family influx. Cultural change in the 1970s encouraging the importance of individual happiness has made marriage and child-rearing a second thought if considered at all (Pethokoukls). On the surface, living on the basis of personal satisfaction seems to be a fantastic philosophy to live by. Unfortunately, those who adopt this way of living and choose to have children often have severe consequences.

These individuals will quickly abandon a fruitless relationship in order to find one suitable for their needs. Ignorant to their own actions, they blindly “believe their children will adapt to new family relationships so that divorce or separation will have few long-term, adverse consequences” (Anderson). They believe their personal happiness gages the happiness of those around them. When in the passionless relationship with the children’s other parent, the individual believes his or her children are also unhappy. When he or she enters a zealous relationship with a new partner, the individual believes the children must also be happy despite the fact they had just been torn from the love of one of their parents. Children’s well-being is overlooked or misinterpreted by individuals who live by the basis of their own happiness. Children of these individuals will not be cared for effectively and will move from one semi-permanent relationship to another.  This too creates lack of stability and support needed by a child. The children will be raised to live life in search of everlasting happiness and will continue the cycle. 

Welfare programs are another major factor in the breakdown of the nuclear family. Although it is essential to assist those in need, the federal government has inadvertently created a positive feedback loop between single-parent homes and impoverishment. The assistance from the government programs allows the second income of the partner to become optional (Smith). The newly formed single-parent may be relieved at the reduced martial tension, but often faces new extreme challenges through increased responsibilities and loss of support. The parent had failed to understand all the ways in which the partner had supported the family. Disillusioned, most will notice that the welfare program does not sufficiently make up for the partner’s absent check.

Extreme financial strain inevitably ensues. According to Tripp and Cockett, “...USA research has shown that one year after separation, mothers and children are living on an income reduced by 40% and by much as 30% fiver years after divorce.” Divorce’s devastation last long after the court date. The family unit continues to suffer as a lone parent tries his or her best to fill two roles. Unsurprisingly, the single parent typically fails one’s self, fails one’s children, and fails to provide society with effective productivity from his or her self. These stressors have a direct impact on the ability for the child to develop into a functional adult and ultimately continues the cycle in most instances. 

Modern America needs to make the nuclear family common again. The happiness movement needs to be abandoned along with radical feminist sentiments. Traditional values must be instilled to produce productive members of society once again. In 1996, President Bill Clinton recognized issues arising from such high divorce rates. He signed a welfare reform to help strengthen marriages and reduce the appeal of divorce. It allowed the states to fund marriage strengthening and divorce reduction programs through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Surplus (“Encouraging Marriage and Discouraging”). Unfortunately, most states refuse to participate in this program. While our President found urgency in prevention of nuclear family deterioration, the local government failed to see the solution through.

One would think the court system could be used as a deterrent for divorce. Michigan Family Court set up a program to resolve marital issues through Mediation. This program was tested on twenty-six couples that were seeking divorce.  Out of the twenty-six couples, only two decided to continue through with divorce (“Encouraging Marriage and Discouraging”). These results show how effective martial support can be against divorce. Divorce should not be a simple process when consequences include the complete decimation of a family’s financial and mental well-being. Focused Mediation should be mandatory in all state courts before divorce requests are allowed to proceed. 

One of the most significant factors that contribute to divorce rates is public ignorance about marriage life. Prerequisites for obtaining a marriage license should include weeks to months of education and counseling that explains marriage thoroughly, not idealistically or negatively. This will help couples strengthen their relationships before marriage “by getting them to discuss potential areas of conflict and actions that could create anger or alienation” (“Encouraging Marriage and Discouraging”). People need to understand that marriage is work. This work is necessary for most people to produce a fruitful life and successful children. It is also important to understand that feelings are fleeting. A marriage will never produce a lifetime of honeymoon giddiness. Misrepresentations of marriage in society lead people to believe marriage is something grand and easy to maintain. Marriage Preparation Courses will reveal the truth about marriage to prevent severe shock between couples. In reality, a couple’s marriage is not wrong and requires divorce, but is simply not the lie society had lead them to believe. 

While these solutions have tremendous implications, they fail in impact due to executional failures. These examples and others need to be amplified in order to produce couples that can maintain a healthy marriage. Society must be willing to reform its perception of the nuclear family from the inside out. Communities across every nation need to form cultural alliances that motivate marriage education (“Encouraging Marriages and Discouraging”). If a community exudes support for marriage, the majority of individual opinions will naturally align. Importance will be placed back on the couple and the family. Overall, the tides would turn against single-parent families and the nuclear family would prevail again.

For couples who believe divorce is the only answer, they will only find open support for the continuation of their marriage. Divorce, as it should be, will only be last resort for unsalvageable unions. Counselling in other nations, such as “Focused Thinking Mediation program in South Africa has helped as many as 50 percent of couples seeking divorce decide to remain married” (“Encouraging Marriage and Discouraging”). Couples are driven to divorce not by an unsolvable problem but a communication error that can be resolved through professional and supportive guidance. Marriage should be a lifetime commitment devoid of convenient loopholes such as divorce. Every state needs to mandate Mediation for couples that demand divorce.

Families need to be supported in a way that directly supports the family unit and not an individual parent. Instead of “throwing more funds at government programs that deal with the effects of family breakdown, federal and state officials should take steps to prevent family disintegration in the first place” (“Encouraging marriage and Discouraging”). Prevention is always more effective than reaction. If legislation focused on the prevention of family breakdown, the need for government assistance would significantly drop. Traditional values would reinstill the priority of child centered family structures. Failing to reevaluate the purpose of the nuclear family will cause an endless production of ineffective adults and will ultimately cause society's downfall. 

Our youngest generation of adults are entering life with mental illnesses and instability due to the poor family structures they were raised in. The nuclear family should be the center of society and should be actively supported by our civic and government leaders. Community education should provide the ubiquitous understanding that feelings are fleeting, but commitments are fundamental for success. The government should limit divorce and encourage programs that strengthen marriage. The nuclear family structure is the underrated backbone of a functional society. Mothers and fathers working together to build a life and raise children that give back to society sufficiently. Selflessness is required to produce an effective nuclear family. Clearly, this virtue demands too much of society as the main contributors to the deterioration of the nuclear family preys upon personal gain.

Works Cited

Anderson, Jane. “The impact of family Structure on the health of children: Effects of Divorce.” The Linacre Quarterly, Nov.2014, www.ncbi.nih.gov\pmc\articles\pmc42400511. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019

“Encouraging Marriage and Discouraging Divorce.” The Heritage Foundation, 26 Mar. 2001, www.hertiage.org\marriage-and-family\report\\encouraging-marriages-and-discouraging-divorce. 

Fagan, Patrick and Lauren Noyes. “Why Congress Should Ignore Radical Feminist Opposition to Marriage.” The Heritage Foundation, 16 Jun. 2003, www.heritage.org\welfare\report\why-congress-should-ignore-radical-feminist-opposition-marriage-O 

Hymowitz, Kay. “The Real Roots of the Nuclear Family.” Institute for Family Studies, 23 Dec. 2013, if studies.org\blog\the-real-roots-of-the-nuclear-family.

Pethokoukls, James. “Can anything really be done about family breakdown and American poverty? A Q & A with Brad Wilcox.” AEI, 11 Mar. 2014, www.aei.org\publications\can-anything-really-be-done-about-family-breakdown-and-american-poverty-a-qa-with-brad-wilcox\.

Smith, Allison B. “The Breakdown of the Nuclear Family: Why Welfare REform is not the Answer.” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy.  Vol. II, Feb. 2014, pp.761-793, scholarship. Law. nd.educ\cgi\viewcontent.cgi?article=9406&context=ndjlepp. Accessed 15 Feb. 2019

Tripp, John H., and Monica Cockett. “Parents, parenting, and family breakdown.” Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1 Feb. 1998, adc.bmj.com\content\78\2\104.info. Accessed 13 Feb. 2019

 

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