In this section you are going to discuss what it means to be part of a family. You will also hear information about the contemporary American family.
If you read or think about a topic before you hear it discussed, you will find the discussion much easier to understand.
1 Read the following passage.
What exactly is a family? The traditional idea of a nuclear family, meaning two married adults who live together and take care of their children, is becoming less and less common in the industrialized world. In the United States, for example, only about one quarter of all families have this structure. In fact, there have been such far-reaching social changes over the past century that the word family is becoming hard to define.
The concept of family has to take into account such social changes as industrialization, increased geographical mobility, and women’s progress toward gaining equal rights. Other considerations include increases in single-parent families, cohabitation ‘people living together without getting married), divorced couples who marry other people, and othe; increasingly accepted alternative family structures.
2 Answer the following questions according to the information in the passage.
1 What is meant by a “traditional nuclear family”?
2 Why is the word family hard to define today?
3 What changes have affected family structure over the past century?
3 Read these questions and share your answers with a partner.
1 Has your own family been affected by the social changes mentioned in the passage? If so, how?
2 How would you define the word family today?