Family Structure in the UK Essay

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As family structure has changed in the UK, so child care arrangements have become more diverse and complex. What are the implications of these changes for children? Introduction In the last 50 years or so, family life has changed becoming more diverse and complex, which has been the source of research by social scientists especially the effects of divorce on children. Marriage is no longer an institution that couples need to suffer if times are difficult, divorce is easier and cohabitation is more morally acceptable. The ideology of the nuclear family whilst not outdated is not the only type of family in which to raise children. The modern more complex family arrangements include step families, lone parents, step sibling…show more content…
Furstenberg (87) proposes that couples should only stay together if they are happy. However, there is a view that children do better in two parent stable families (Amato, 2000). The type of family a child grows up in is not as relevant in my opinion as how stable it is and how effective the parenting and relationships are. I believe that children do better in situations where they are living a fulfilled family life, whatever the definition of that family happens to be. Kelly (2003) is critical of some early literature by Wallerstein and Blakeslee (1989), arguing that these were biased and influenced public perception, with a ‘persistent emphasis on pathology’ (Kelly 2003, p 240). Other studies on divorce are more robust and ‘challenged the belief that divorce alone was the cause of children’s poor well being’ Kelly (2003 p.240) citing Cherlin et al (1991). This may account for the greater acceptance of the variety of modern families. Because divorce is so common, children no longer wish to be typecast as ‘children of divorce’ (Flowerdew & Neale, 2003, p. 158). It is these stigmas that could have negative connotations for the child as well as the parent; these stigmas in themselves may prevent children from adjusting if they feel that they are being judged. The pre-divorce period has important implications for children, in cases where conflict is high;
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