Assess the Extent to Which Social Policies Reflect and Support the Traditional Nuclear Family (24 Marks)

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Assess the extent to which social policies reflect and support the traditional nuclear family (24 marks)

A social policy refers to the plans and actions of government agencies, such as health, welfare benefits, schools etc. These can often be used by politicians to promote certain family structures, which they believe to be ‘ideal’. There are many examples of policies which the government use to try and promote the traditional nuclear family which is commonly seen as the family ideology. One example is the 1930’s Nazi government who wanted to create an Aryan race and put policies in place to sterilize certain groups to prevent them from having children. Another more recent example is China’s two child policy which was out in place to
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However, there are also policies which have been introduced that support family diversity. An example of a policy is the Civil Partnership Act which was introduced to allow couples of the same sex to have a legal relationship, similar to that of married couples. This promotes same sex relationships and also makes their rights more equal to those of heterosexual couples, which supports and encourages family diversity. Another key example of a policy which supports family diversity is the change made to adoption laws in 2002, which allowed gay couples to now adopt children, again making the rights of gay couples and heterosexual couples more equal. The New Labour approach recognises that due to social change, social policies cannot be introduced to support nuclear families because the reality is that most households in the UK are not nuclear. They recognise that nowadays, both parents tend to act as dual earners in the family and it is now less common for women to be the long-term housewife and child carer. Functionalists view social policies as generally positive if they support the traditional nuclear family. They say that the Welfare State takes the pressure off the family in ways such as, education and healthcare, which allows them to focus on the key functions of the family such as, primary socialization and childcare. Feminists would disagree with Functionalists, as they argue that some social

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