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Try to answer these questions without searching for the answers in the text.
1. Steve: … We have much in common, don’t we?
2. Boris:Don’t you just research the problems of the families?
3. Boris:By the way, how do you like your host family?
4. Natasha:And now, do grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and nieces and
nephews live together in Britain?
5. Troy:Don't you think it's better to stay single? What are the advantages and
disadvantages of getting married?
6. Troy:What do you mean?
7. Troy: What are you trying to say?
8. Eve: …What about independence?
The family is an old and fundamental social institution. In the past it was the centre of political, economic, educational, and religious activities. But the position of the family in society is different now. The family is an institution based on kinship. One of its functions is to replace and nurture the members of society. Every culture has rules and norms that shape the family in different ways. Kin refers to people related to one another through common ancestry, marriage, or social agreement. According to the size of family unit, families are nuclear (husband, wife and children), extended (nuclear family plus other relatives), modified-extended (each nuclear family lives in separate houses, but there is visitation) and reconstituted or blended (new family that is the result of divorces and re-marriages), single parent family (one parent raising children).
Families are who you love. Our families all “look” different and it's always been so. A family is a care giving unit. It might consist of a couple: a mother, a father and children; a single parent and a child; grandparents and grandchildren; a sibling group.
Families are the foundation of society. They are where we come into the world from, where we are nurtured and given the tools to go out into the world, capable and healthy.
When families break down and fail to provide the healthy nurturing we need, the effects impact not only our own lives, but also our communities. In other words, we all pay for unhealthy families. If we ignore the suffering, we suffer the consequences.
In the past few decades, the world has seen major changes in the face of the family. Since 1975, the divorce rate has doubled resulting in the increase of single-parent households, remarriages and extended families.
According to the latest surveys, single parents maintain 27.3 percent of the family households with own children under 18. There are 2.1 million father-child and 9.8 million mother-child families. In the mother-child family groups, 42.2 percent of mothers have never been married.
Most of the time when a person thinks of the definition of a family, the image of a mother, father and children is what comes into the mind. That is actually the definition of a nuclear family, which is parents, and one or more children. However, there are more definitions that can be used to define a family such as a single-parent family which is one parent and a child or children. Extended family is when a nuclear family or single-parent family lives with any extended family members.
Family units take a variety of forms, all of which involve individuals living under one roof. The family form or structure does not indicate how healthy the family is or how they function. The family form is merely the physical makeup of the family members in relationship to each other without respect to roles and function.
A. More than 50 % of people live in nuclear families. A nuclear family consists of a mother, a father, and their biological or adoptive descendants, often called the traditional family. The nuclear family was most popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. The nuclear family can be a nurturing environment to raise children in love, to spend time with children, to support them emotionally, to low stress, and to provide a stable economic environment. In nuclear families, both adults are biological or adoptive parents of their children.
There are three types of married nuclear families depending on employment status of a woman and a man. In the first type, a man works outside the home while a woman works inside the home caring for children. 28 percent of all households fit this description. In the second type of married nuclear family, a woman works outside the home and a man cares for a children. This constitutes 2 percent of the families. In the third kind of married nuclear family, both a wife and a husband work outside the home, they are breadwinners.
B. One of the most striking changes in family structure over the last twenty years has been the increase of single parent families. In such a family there is only one parent in household raising children. More than half of all children will spend some of their lives in a single-parent family. Currently, 88 percent of these families are headed by women. In 1970, the number of single parent families with children under the age of 18 was 3.8 million; by 2005 the number had more than doubled to 9.7 million. In single parent families parents and children are more willing to co-operate with each other to find solutions to solve household problems.
C. Since 2005 21% of all people have lives in extended families. An extended family is two or more adults from different generations of a family, sharing a household. It consists of more than parents and children; it may include parents, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster children etc. The extended family live together for many reasons: raise children, care for a disabled relative, or tackle crucial financial problems. Sometimes children are brought up by their grandparents when their biological parents died or no longer can look after them. Extended families can be found all over the world in different communities and countries. The number of these families has increased by 40 percent in the past ten years. There are three types of extended families: one, two and three generation families. Forty eight percent of all extended families live in a two generation family.
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