The family is important to people all over the world although the structure of the family is quite different from one country to another. In the United States, as in many countries in the world, the family is changing. A generation or two ago, the traditional family, in which the father was boss, was customary.
Now the modern family, in which both the father and mother are equal partners, is more common. Although there are several similarities between the traditional and the modern family, there are also some important differences.
The traditional family of yesterday and the modern family have several similarities. The traditional family was a nuclear family and the modern family is, too. The role of the father in the traditional family was to provide for those in his care. Similarly, the father in the modern family is expected to do so also. the mother in the traditional family took care of the children’s physical and emotional needs as the modern mother does.
On the other hand, there are some great differences between the traditional family and the modern family. The first important difference is in the man’s role. The traditional husband was the head of the household because he was the only one who worked outside the home. If the wife worked for pay, then the husband was not considered to be a good provider. In many families today, both husband and wife work for pay.
Therefore, they share the role of head of the household. In addition, the traditional husband usually made big decisions about spending money. however, the modern husband shares these decisions with his working wife. As well, the traditional husband did not help his wife with the housework or meal preparation. Dinner was ready when he came home. In contrast, the modern husband helps his working wife at home. he may do some of the household jobs and it is not unusual for him to cook.
The second difference is in the woman’s role. In the traditional family, the woman may have worked for pay during her first years of marriage. However, after she became pregnant, she would usually quit her job. Her primary role was to take care of her family and home. In contrast, in many families today, the modern woman works outside the home even after she has children. She is doing two jobs instead of one so she is busier than the traditional mother was.
The traditional wife learned to live within her husband’s income. On the other hand, the modern wife does not have to because the family has two incomes.
The final difference is in the role of the children. In the traditional family, the children were taken care of by the mother because she did not work outside the home.
However, today preschool children may go to a childcare center or to a babysitter regularly because the mother works. The school-age children of a traditional family were more dependent. Their mother was there to help them to get ready for school and to make their breakfast. In contrast, modern children are more independent. They have to get up early in the morning and get ready for school. Their mother is busy getting ready for work so they may even have to make their own breakfast.
In conclusion, the American family of today is different from the family of fifty years ago. In the modern family, the roles of the father, mother and children have changed as more and more women work outside the home. the next century will surely bring more important changes to the American family. It will be interesting to see what these changes will be.
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