Nuclear Family

2092 Words Feb 9th, 2013 9 Pages
Title Page
In Hist. Perspective
Traditional Family
Modern Family
New Family Models

The Modern Nuclear Family


The "nuclear", "isolated", or "restricted" family is not a recent phenomenon, but has existed in many cultures throughout human history. Indeed, the extended family of several generations is found mostly in relatively advanced, stable, and affluent, but not yet industrialized societies. Very primitive and very sophisticated societies seem to prefer the nuclear family model.

However, nuclear families can vary in the degree of their isolation and restrictedness. For example, before the Industrial Revolution the Western nuclear family was often embedded in a larger social
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In an extended family these freedoms are always restricted, because a "wrong" choice would affect too many relatives. Thus, people who want to take full advantage of the new possibilities normally marry late and keep their families small. However, this rule also has its exceptions. Sometimes large families are more useful, because they can serve as a "back-up unit" by providing shelter and aid at crucial moments. This may be especially important for lower-class individuals who try to "move up", although the higher classes often also maintain extensive family ties. Thus, even in fully industrialized societies one can find many men and women who appreciate the traditional extended family or at least a large network of relatives.

Still, by and large, the closely-knit nuclear family has been dominant in Western societies for the last several generations, and thus it has shaped the general perception of what a family should be: A man and a woman marry for love, have two or three children, live alone by themselves in a "family home" or apartment, and spend all their free time together. The man leaves for work in the morning, while the woman takes care of the children and the house. She also cooks dinner and ministers to her exhausted husband when he returns at night. Once or twice a year, at Thanksgiving or Christmas, there is a brief, ceremonial get-together with other relatives at "Grandma 's house", but otherwise everyone keeps

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