The society is a very dynamic entity, which keeps on changing with time. Societal values keep on changing, and people in the society have to change to adapt to the new order. Therefore, it is natural to leave behind the trends that guided people in the past and to learn to live in accordance with new rules and standards. Some of these trends are good, while some of them are not important in the new life. However, people tend to leave even good things that were important in their life in the past. The institution of family has suffered a big blow with time. The strife of people to start a family has been declining, and values of traditional family have been replaced by values of the modern family. The number of traditional families has been declining in a steady manner. There are many factors that led to this. These factors can only be described by referring to values of the modern (non-traditional) family.
Definition of Traditional and Non-traditional Families
Since ancient times, the family has been the core unit of the society. Many societies put a lot of emphasis on family. Traditionally, people were first identified with the family before they were identified with the society. The family gave people their identity in the society. However, the institution of family has changed over time, and things that were taken seriously in the past are losing their significance today. This is because the society has changed, and society’s perception of family has also changed (Tischler 19). In traditional terms, the family comprised of parents (mother and father) and their children. The father was the sole bread maker of the family, and the mother took care of children and the home. The father was perceived to be the head of the family. In these terms, the non-traditional family comprises of all other families not included in the traditional family.
However, some world cultures believed that the whole society made up the family, and all members of the society were responsible for each other. For instance, in Indian tribes, people loved all children equally, regardless of their parents. In traditional cultures, all people belonged to a certain family, and their identity, names, and status in the society were associated with the family. The modern family (nontraditional family) has changed the state of affairs, and the institution of the family has changed tremendously.
Traditional Family vs. Nontraditional Family
The traditional family has been dramatically changed by the influence of the modern family. The idea of the modern family has rearranged the whole set up of the traditional family, and, as a result, the traditional family has lost significance. There are several factors in the modern family that have contributed to the deterioration of the traditional family. These factors are common parts of people’s daily lives and they have adverse effects on the communication of family members (Tischler 41).
One of the modern factors that have led to the decline of traditional family is homosexuality. According to some people, homosexuality is a virus that destroys family institution. In traditional family, homosexuality was a taboo and it was not practiced. All members of the society were expected to get married and have children, who later became parts of the whole society. Traditional family put much emphasis on people having children since this ensured continuity of the society. Gays and lesbians could not have children. Therefore, people who adhered to the philosophy of traditional family saw homosexuality as a threat to traditional family and rejected it completely.
The modern world, on the other hand, has come into terms with the idea of homosexuality. The American President, Barrack Obama, showed his stance on homosexuality, which was received with mixed feelings. People who believed in traditional family saw this as a threat to the institution of family, while people supporting homosexuality felt that Obama had taken a big step towards equalizing all Americans. These news caused ripples of anger in countries that support traditional family values, and made leaders rebuke Obama for supporting homosexuality. The arguments against gay marriage made by many people held that homosexuality is contradicting natural laws, since only people of the opposite sex should marry.
The law has also significantly changed the nature of traditional family. Traditionally, people were expected to marry their relatives, including first cousins. In Europe, people were not supposed to have sexual relations with non-relatives. In fact, Europeans considered it incestuous to have sex with a 7th cousin and beyond and only marriage between cousins was welcomed. This ensured that the family maintained strong family ties that could last for generations (Tseng 77). Americans had very strong family ties, and family names were preserved for a long time. These names still exist even in the modern times. Americans took pride in their family history, and every American was expected to know his family history. However, the law put an end to these marriages, and people in the modern society marry only because of love and emotional attachment. Therefore, when these two feelings go away, people become strangers to each other and they end up divorced. In the traditional family, on the other hand, if people fell out of love and emotional attachment, they were still joined by family ties. This made most of the marriages last long. It was also easier to overcome family problems since they were solved within the family. In the modern family, on the other hand, conflicts are taken outside the family. This has led to the breakage of many marriages, since outside parties do not have much to lose in case of a divorce. In fact, many lawyers have been benefiting financially from settling divorce cases (Tseng 94).
Cohabitation has also affected traditional family negatively since a lot of people, nowadays, do not take marriage seriously. Baca Zinn and Eitzen conducted a study in America and found out that couples that cohabited before marriage had a higher divorce rate. Couples that had not cohabited before marriage maintained stable relationships and had fewer incidences of divorce.
Traditional conception of marriage required people to marry by going through a wedding ritual or ceremony. The whole society witnessed this marriage. The couple had trust for each other because they were certain that their marriage had been approved by the whole society. However, this is not the case in non-traditional family. Today, a lot of couples are cohabiting, which is against values of the traditional family.
High divorce rate has also led to a decline of the traditional family. Many sociologists have attributed divorce to a number of factors. First, marriage has been individualized by many people. Nowadays people feel that they can get in and out of marriage as they wish (Folberg 61). This move has given the institution of family a big set back. Traditionally, people stayed married for their whole lives without getting divorced since marriage was a societal entity that had to be respected. Today, people have lost respect for marriage hence the deterioration of the traditional family. People have also detached from the society. This has made them lose respect for societal values. Marriage became not important to them and more and more often people end up breaking up shortly after they get married.
In non-traditional families, both parents contribute to the well-being of the family as opposed to traditional families (Baca 130). Therefore, both parents are always working and have little time to spend at home. When they come home, they get into conflicts regarding who should serve the other. Mostly, men are the ones that are influenced by the traditional concept of the family. They feel that women should be the ones to serve them. This leads to conflicts, and the traditional concept of a harmonious family is lost. Therefore, it can be said that modern trend of both working spouses has led to the decline of traditional family.
Other factors that have led to the decline of traditional family include immigration, social movements, and some professions among others. Nowadays, immigration has led to the decline of the traditional family because partners get separated from each other and their bond gets weaker. Consequently, this leads to a divorce. The battle for equality has transformed patriarchal society of traditional family into a society that judges people based on their merits and not sex. This has led to a decline of the traditional family, since women are heads in some families. The situation like this was not acceptable in the traditional family. Some professions in the modern world also prevent persons from getting married, thus affecting the traditional family. However, these unmarried people still have children, and these children are brought up in the modern family without one parent.
All factors discussed above have contributed to the decline of the traditional family. Non traditional families and traditional families have different ways of connecting people, and this leads to the prevalence of certain trends in the society. The way people are connected influences the way they fit in the society of their time, and hence, socialization in any given society determines its formation (Baca 135).
Socialization in the Family
The family connects people to fit them in the society of their time (Andersen 241). The society keeps on changing, and people have to change accordingly. Therefore, modern trends in the society reflect current world trends, and people’s relationships with each other are influenced by these trends. Traditional families raise their children in a way to make them able to pass the values and beliefs they were taught to next generations. This ensures continuity of the family and societal lines since all people derive their history and culture from their socialization in the family. For instance, in the traditional family, men were perceived to be bread winners and protectors of their families. Therefore, from an early age they were taught to play the role of a leader in the family. Consequently, when men grew up they got married and were able to support their families. On the other hand, in the modern non-traditional family, these values are not taught to members of the society. Instead, people are left to create these values on their own and most of them make choices regarding marriage on their own. In the non-traditional family great emphasis is placed on equipping members of the society with professional knowledge and skills which can be used by these people to accomplish economic and career goals (Berns 84). Therefore, people, from an early age become somewhat detached from the family. Children are separated from their parents when they go to school, making the bond with their parents weaker.
The traditional family taught people to act for the good of whole society. Conversely, the modern non-traditional society teaches people to cater for their own needs first. Therefore, a person from the modern non-traditional family will try his best to improve his own life and will disregard the needs of other people. People in traditional families prioritized putting the whole society ahead of all their personal needs, in this way strengthening social unity (Berns 93). For instance, in case of a catastrophe, all members of the society assisted each other in their efforts to survive the disaster even if all people were affected equally badly.
If compared to the traditional family, the modern family uses different media of communication with their children. The traditional family relied on social cohesion for connecting its members. This included one-on-one communication where people interacted face-to-face. This ensured that members of the family and society came to know each other quite well. This strengthened the bond between people, making individual participation in the dealings of the society and the family a responsibility of everyone. With time, however, technology has greatly developed in the modern society, making even members of the same family have an attached detachment. This is because they communicate through social media more often than one-on-one. Thereby, people in the modern society have become detached from each other as a result of relying on social media including mobile phones and the Internet.
Modern society has also been significantly influenced by other cultures. More and more often people become estranged from their family tradition and become assimilated to other cultures. This is because the community has been utilizing a lot of social media, which made people to leave their traditions unconsciously. For example, television stations air programs from different parts of the world. These programs in their turn reflect the culture of the place in which they are shot. Further, people from other cultures who watch these programs become influenced by their culture and they slowly begin to alienate from their cultures. This has led to a desire to create a world culture. However, the effect of the world culture is devastating to the modern family. This is because different cultures have their own unique concepts of the family, and bringing together these contradicting values will create chaos in the whole institution of family in the world (Marciano 214).
Relationships among members in the family determine the resultant society that is created. Therefore, any family that raises children by emphasizing strong interpersonal bonds contributes to a creation of a strong society and vice versa.
Effects of Socialization in the Family (Traditional and Non-traditional)
As opposed to the non-traditional family, the traditional one succeeded in creating a cohesive society. Children raised in the traditional family grew in a stable social environment that contributed to their physical, social, and psychological growth. These children attached great value to the family and they made efforts to create an ideal society (Andersen 241). These children did a lot to ensure that the society remained strong. They grew up to become good people in the society by taking care for the good of all people.
Children who are brought up in the modern family display numerous characteristics of detachment from the society. These children are more self-centered than children from the traditional family. However, these children have simply adopted the trends of the modern family and they should not be blamed for that. As it was already mentioned, the society is dynamic, and these children add to its dynamism and changing nature (Kit 320). They reflect values held by the society at the particular time, and they pass them on to next generations.
Traditional and non-traditional families have their own differences and similarities. The biggest of these similarities is that these families reflect the society of their time. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to say that one form of family is superior to the other. This is because the family unit is the mirror of the society. There are bonds that are formed by people who consider themselves to be family in both traditional and modern perspectives. However, people in the modern society have simplified the concept of the family making it loose its significance. People who adhere to the standards of the non-traditional family do not place a lot of importance on the idea of having children. Therefore, they do not worry about the continuity of the society. They also do not have much family history to guide them and they do their things the way they come. The debate continues as scholars keep on studying drawbacks and benefits of the two forms of families. These scholars have reached a compromise claiming that an ideal society will be formed if the two forms of the family were combined. This is because the traditional family, as opposed to the non-traditional one, has a strong moral grounding, while the modern family, as opposed to the traditional one, is more suited to adapt to changes in the society. Therefore, the type of family which could result from the convergence of traditional and non-traditional ones would be able to solve social problems more effectively since it would understand all the aspects relating to both modern and traditional philosophies.