Remember it, Test it!

Remember it, Test it!

What is a family?

1.) Nuclear families 2.) Gay or lesbian families 3.) Extended families 4.) Lone-parent families 5.) Reconstituted families.

Sociological approaches to the family:

Functionalist sociologists: The family is forreproduction, primary socialisation and economic and emotional support.

Feminists see nuclear families as responsible for maintaining the unequal distribution of power.

The New Right approach approves that women often take the caring role and that men take the breadwinner role. It believes one-parent families are more likely to produce dysfunctional, anti-social members of society.

The Marxist approach sees the nuclear family as maintaining inequality, socializing the proletariat and propping up the capitalist systemby producing future workers.

Reasons behind changes in fertility patterns

Delayed marriage; developments in birth control; changing attitudes.

Contemporary family issues

Arranged marriages; styles of parenting; conflict between teenagers and adults; ageing population.

The effects of divorce

Increase lone-parent, reconstituted families and one-person households; a reduction in income; stress and sadness; loss of family contact; continuing family conflict.

Changes in family roles

Patriarchy on the decrease; families more child-centred; older children more financially dependent; changes in contact between members of the wider family.

Changes in conjugal roles

The rise of the symmetrical family; fathers playing larger role in children’s lives; closing up of power balance between the sexes.


Test It!

  1. Describe five different types of family.
  2. Give two reasons why the average age at which people get married has increased in the last 30 years.
  3. Identify three reasons why women may choose to delay having children until later in life.
  4. Identify three reasons for the general rise in the divorce rate in Britain during the last 40 years.
  5. What consequences do you think divorce might have on individuals or society as a whole?
  6. What does a sociologist mean by a traditional nuclear family?
  7. To what extent might sociologists agree with the view that the traditional nuclear family is the most appropriate family type in which to raise children in modern Britain?
  8. Discuss how far sociologists would agree that it is realistic to talk of a typical British family today.