ERIC Number: ED330496
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
What's Happening to American Families? ERIC Digest.
Can the contemporary family's problems be solved in ways that seemed effective in the past? The extent to which the family has changed argues in the negative. The American family has been stripped of two of its traditional social functions: serving as a unit for economic production and as a school for the vocational training of children. The first function has been usurped by commercial firms, the second by the state. The family is no longer an interdependent economic unit to which all members contribute. Women's roles in the family have been transformed, and the salience of the family has been markedly reduced. In the modal American family of the 1980s and 1990s, both parents work outside the home. Consequently, children have less time than before to spend with parents. Many children grow up in economic poverty: 21 percent of U.S. children are poor. Among parents under 30 years of age, the figure is 35 percent. Even grimmer, 75 percent of the children of young single-parent families live in poverty. Four policy initiatives are needed to provide family support in these conditions: (1) measures to protect young mothers and their children against poverty; (2) paid parental leave after childbirth; (3) assured access to high quality infant and child day care; and (4) education in parenthood. While implementation of these policies is no panacea, it will cushion children against poverty. (RH)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.