A family is an intimate domestic group of individuals connected by blood bonds, legal ties, or sexual mating according to the definition by the sociologists. It is a very resilient social unit, which has adapted and survived over time.
The family acts as the primary socialization of kids, in which the child first acquires the fundamental norms and values of the society in which they grow up. A child must be well nurtured, moulded into responsible persons with ethical values and strong ethics, and also well cared for. It is, therefore, essential to provide them with the proper childcare, and they grow up to be active individuals mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau 2007 described a family as a relatively stable community of two or more people connected by marriage, blood, or adoption living in the same house. The family is viewed as the primary cornerstone of society. Education and the nature of the family affect the personality and social character of any society. Family is where everyone knows how to be compassionate, love, be ethical, care, be truthful, be equitable, have reasoned, have common sense, etc.
Yet there are continuous discussions about the declining values of the family. The same family is seen as “an entity that is bankrupt and oppressive.”
CHALLENGES FACED IN FAMILY
When it comes to determining what does not make and what does make a family, North American citizens are a little divided. In a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid in 2010, individuals involved were asked what they thought was a family unit. Eighty per cent of respondents accepted that a family consists of a spouse, father, and baby. Sixty-six per cent said a common-law couple with children also constitutes a family. The numbers drop for less conventional structures:
A single father and children (54%), a single mother and children (55%), grandparents raising children (50%), gay male couples with children (45%), common-law or married people without children (46%). This survey disclosed that children tend to be a significant indicator when establishing the status of “family”: the percentage of individuals who agreed that unmarried couples comprise a family almost doubled when children are added.
Earlier on, the family was shown to be warm and supportive. However, many writers questioned the’ family’s darker side.’ The fact that women spend most of their time either at work or doing household work will contribute to family emotional stress. The family of the twentieth century is mostly the nucleus, and thus sometimes children feel isolated and lack the support of their extended kins: aunts, grandparents, cousins, etc. They are introverts, and their stress level increases to such a degree that it can cause dramatic results when an explosion happens. This can result in violence, psychological harm, mental illness, intake of drugs, crime, etc.
Children’s breakdowns can lead to parents quarrelling. Marriages may fail in the long run and therefore lead to a break-up. The incidence that may seem insignificant will burst out of control and have dramatic family repercussions. The media is progressively drawing attention to the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children to the public through neglect. Likewise, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children 2000 reports that about 10% of children suffer severe neglect or abuse by their parents at home.
Recently, domestic violence has become so prevalent in society. One in every four women is reported to be a victim of domestic violence.
THE FAMILY AND WOMEN
According to John Bowlby, the crucial role of women is especially to serve as mothers, and as such, their places are at home to take good care of their children at their tender age. He notes that the product of mental separation from mothers is juvenile delinquencies in young children. Children’s mental stability lies entirely with their families. Therefore an intimate and close relationship between mother and child is needed.
Nevertheless, in refuting Bowlby’s argument, Oakley (1974) uses the example of Alor, an Indonesian island. Women are not tied to their offspring in’ small-scale horticultural societies,’ and there is no apparent side effect to it.’ She doesn’t see the needed’ close and intimate relationship.’ Studies have shown that women come back to work after delivery and that working mothers’ children are’ less likely to be delinquent’ than non-working mothers.
THE CONCEPT OF CHILDCARE
For a given period, the definition of childcare does not apply to oversight and accountability within the food, dressing, and other forms of daily care for an infant. Childcare requires the duty of maintaining a healthy mix of caring, affection, and encouragement to facilitate the child’s overall development.
Child care is among the most significant challenges confronting working families. Parents are not always able to stay with their kids and take good care of them as they wish, because of their work responsibilities. Families choose to leave their children to care for such persons whom they can entrust to their precious children without any fears or misgivings. “Childcare has been the obligation of the extended family for quite some time. Family modernization and industrialization, have developed severe childcare problems. The weakening of the extended family means that families helping women who cannot afford childcare can only opt-out of the labour market (October 2003 Summary of the situation of children and women in Mauritius).
In relation to globalization, the drastic change in labour is the other element affecting dual-income working families. We all know that the nature of work has changed as a result of globalization; this has come to light for long hours at work. We must also understand why the situations are like that and not only blame families, especially women, for being unable to care for their children.
Families, therefore, have no choice, because they may be afraid that they will be jobless and are not attractive nowadays because of the high cost of living. Families can’t do anything but work because they are single parent that has to assume all the obligations alone or as a result of poverty.
Nevertheless, we believe that parents work for the family, but how much is that good for the family? When couples work especially for longer hours, the child and house cannot be provided for because of stress, pressure and often work at home.
This causes disputes in the family, such as domestic violence, and prolonged conflicts in which not only adults but also children are involved. It often end in divorce, and the child cannot tell much, but it impacts the child emotionally and cannot deal with it in school. Inevitably, the distinction between policy and social research in the field of family sociology continues to be blurred. Excellent family studies have a long tradition, combining both practical and theoretical concerns.
However, future family sociologists’ questions will unquestionably be distinct as changing situations bring new issues to light. One thing is clear, though: irrespective of changes in shape, size, form, or membership, if past experiences are used as a guide, then the family is here to stay.