Family roles and responsibilities
Changing Roles of Family
Future of family
Family, like many other social institutions within society functions to create social order. Social order constitutes a subset of normative behavior established either by law or association that represents acceptable conduct. As society evolves social change becomes inevitable. Structure and functions of institutions lose their values; deviation is enacted forging reconstruction. Hence, in the following pages of this document the author will research the sociology of family and the cultural factors implicit in its development and organization.
Sociology of the Family Cultural Factors
When the sociology of family is considered aspects of how this structure functions as an agent of socialization is embraced. Therefore, this discussion will undertake a literature review exploring African American/ Caribbean family cultural values defining; types, roles, responsibilities changing roles and projections of how family customs and patterns mutatein the future of family structure and functioning.
Family is often conceived within the context of its culture. From this paradigm values emerge specific tothat dispensation and function. For example, when researching the American or West Indian family, definitions are explored within not only a geographic connotation, but also what members regard as sacred and important. It can be defined as the structure through, which children are physically produced and become socially aware of themselves. Most importantly, it a framework through which traditions, customs, rituals and artifacts transcend generations (Bass, 2005).
Macionis & Gerber (2011) when describing the African- American and Afro-Caribbean family from its cultural origin often defines it as matrifocal being a form transposed during African family model mutationinto societies where African slave labor was imported. Other forms of cultural definitions pertain to the names family members ascribe to children born within a consanguine family relationship in relation to what is termed ‘outside children.’ They arrive either during a marriage relationship or before(Macionis & Gerber, 2011).
When comparing Andrews’ (2006) model of public private cultural compositions to this aspect of family culture being defined within the aforementioned context, it would appear to embrace a primary family focus. Andrews’ (2006) elaborates on emerging family forms, which are considered deviation, but functional since deviation is a call for reconciling social order regarding to how family is perceived asa twenty-first century philosophy (Andrews, 2006).
Culturally, the traditional African American/Caribbean family still embraces marriage as the perfect family form. Williams (2005) and others contend that marriage across these cultures are the foundation of sexual relationships and procreation. This is why the US constitution now sanctions gay marriages as culture and values pertaining to same sex relationships are changing. Statistics show that with the rate of divorce among heterosexual unions many people only consider marriage for economic purposes (Williams et.al, 2005).
Precisely, nuclear and extended family form cultures have moved towards single parenting and gay couples. Many single people do not marry, but continue the process of procreation and raising children in a single parent environment. Don and Patricia Edgar (2008) contend that children caught in this family culture crossfire many times need smarter parents and parenting. They emphasized that the values learnt during childhood within a family structure irrespective of the type are very important for socialization. More importantly, the family is the primary socializing unit and first focal socialization agency within the society (Edgar & Edgar, 2008).
Comparing these perspectives with Andrews (2006) public and private family cultures arguments pertaining to the preferences of a family consisting of marriage same sex couple still continues to be society’s model of a perfect family form (Andrews, 2006). However, in the African American society strong deviation forces are infiltrating family culture and values forging new systems to evolve.
Family roles responsibilities
Tabak (2012) and his counterparts argue that in many cultures family values are held in greater esteem than personal ones which on many occasions affect the roles and responsibilities executed by members of a house hold (Tabak et.al, 2012) For example in the African American/ Caribbean family culture husbands are expected to take the lead in providing financially for their families while wives are responsible for bearing children, assist in their basic training and nurturing.
In the American society due to economic pressures both parents must work. Caribbean families living in America are caught in the same rat race. However, while women go out to work in Caribbean countries there are longer maternity leave periods whereby during the formative years, time can be spent nurturing their children ashusbands take the financialresponsibility (Tabak et.al, 2012).
When researching single parent family households, especially, if the mother is a teenager both roles and responsibilities rest with that single parent. If it is an extended family house hold inclusive of grandparent/s there is some degree of economic relief for the mother due to grand parenting input.
Caribbean culture responsibilities are slightly different from the American. In America if children are not well catered for in the family the state takes responsibility and removes those children from the home. If there are financial difficulties subsides are granted until the mother can find employment. In cases of fathers’ abandonment again the state will intervene and take responsibility for that family (Edgar & Edgar, 2008). In the Caribbean children belong to the extended family. Every adult within and without the household contributes to the financial support of children who are abandoned by fathers.
Changing Roles of Family
With reference to Andrews (2006) the changing fluid definitions of family forms complicate descriptions of what constitutes a family culturally (Andrews, 2012)In assessing the African American/Caribbean Family cultures marked differences pertained to values of responsibility exists. A family value that supersedes personal values is being a responsible parent. The culture of provider being is a major role of father in the American context. While this is the expectation in a Caribbean family form significant support is derived from the extended culture interactions that prevail. However, with the emergence of controversial family forms, values are threatened within existing cultures.
The Future of family
With the present turmoil surrounding values, traditions within and without family cultures, it is my belief that despite these mutations, the family will remain the main institution for socialization of children. Current pressures to eliminate, marriage, legalize same sex unions or cater to more foster parenting traditional family forms will still prevail amidst these unprecedented changes.
Andrews, J. ( 2006). Public and Private Families: An Introduction, (6th edition.). New York.
Bass, L. (Ed.) (2005): Sociological Studies of Children and Youth. Amsterdam. Blackwell
Edgar, Don & Patricia (2008), The New Child: in search of smarter grown-ups, Wilkinson
Publishing, Melbourne, Australia
Macionis, J. J., & Gerber, L. M. (2011). Sociology (7th ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson.
Tabak I., Mazur J., Granado, M. Örkenyi, Á. Zaborskis, A.Aasvee, K. & Moreno C. (2012).
Examining trends in parent-child communication in Europe over 12 years.The Journal of
EarlyAdolescence, 32 (1), 26-54
Williams, B. Sawyer, S., &Wahlstrom,C.(2005). Marriages, Families &Intinamte
Relationships.Boston, MA: Pearson