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Ho Families Are Changing

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How Families Are Changing... For the Better

Betty Holcomb

The present structure of the average family in America is changing, mainly due to the growing number of mothers who now work outside the home. The current mark of dual-earner families stands at 64 percent, making it a solid majority today. This alteration of the "traditional" structure of the family is a catalyst for other changes that may soon occur.

One of the changes that recently have been evident is the increased participation of men in the family's raising of children. Of course, this is almost essential considering nearly two-thirds of all women now work out-side the home. Among other changes, women's new economic gains have made marriages increasingly egalitarian. This leads both spouses to have more flexibility in choosing careers and balancing family life. Children today are increasingly being taught new values about the roles of men and women. Day care is becoming increasingly prevalent and is becoming somewhat of an extended family. Also, institutions outside the family such as the workplace and schools are creating the biggest stresses for parents.

The biggest reason for all the changes at home are that women demand them, and their new economic resources carry a lot of weight in the decision. This has also led for the young men of today to increasingly accept this new domestic structure. Often, they choose wives which seem as their equals, as opposed to someone who "does not bring home the bacon." Though, men today often feel threatened because they no longer solely own the breadwinner role. This leads to increased stress for men, who not only want to remain breadwinners, but also want to increase the time spent with their children.

Yet, today's families have come to face some big stresses dealing with institutions that have not advanced as far. Workplaces often do not offer flexible schedules to employees, while schools are still structured as if mothers still solely remained at home. Work schedules also provide a very difficult time schedule that often conflicts with domestic responsibilities. This has lead to inflexible schedules being on of the top sources of stress for parents. Paired with the difficulty of finding high-quality, affordable child care, the daily life of families may further be altered.




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