The Intentional Family By Malery Wahlin

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The Intentional Family by Malery Wahlin Doherty begins his book, The Intentional Family, by telling the reader that this century has witnessed a revolution in the structures and expectations of family life. He states that we have reinvented family life away from the traditional family, or how he terms it, the “Institutional Family,” a family based on kinship, children, community ties, economics and the father’s authority. Children are now growing up in single-parent homes or living with a step-family, and an adult is likely to cohabitate, marry, divorce and remarry. The Institutional Family was suited to a world of family farms, small family businesses and tight communities bound together by a common religion. It began to give way during the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, when individual freedom and the pursuit of personal happiness and achievement began to be more important than kinship obligations, and when small farms and villages started to give way to more impersonal cities. A new family began to emerge – the “Psychological Family” – replacing the Institutional Family of the past. This new kind of family was based on personal achievement and happiness more than on family obligations and tight community bonds. Doherty believes that in the early twentieth century, Americans turned a corner in family life, never to go back.
By the 1950’s, the Psychological Family had largely replaced the Institutional Family as the cultural norm in American. The

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