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Using Information and Evidence from Research/Lesson Stimulus Material, What Do Recent Trends in Family Life Tell Us About 'the Family' in Modern Britain?

  • Date Submitted: 09/30/2013 01:24 PM
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“Using information and evidence from your research/lesson stimulus material, what do recent trends in family life tell us about ‘the family’ in modern Britain? (24 marks)
One trend that tells us about family life in modern Britain is the changes in marriage patterns. This is because nowadays fewer people are marrying: rates are at their lowest since the 1920s. I believe that modern families nowadays are stronger without marriage due to the amount of commitment needed to sustain one and it has been proved that marriages today are more likely to end in divorce. We now have more freedom and choice to decide on what type of relationship we want so modern family life today is more powerful and the bond between families is stronger due to the lack of pressure put on couples to abide by the law. The norm that everyone ought to get married is weakening. The evidence that led me to this view is Andre Bejin’s (1985) view that cohabitation is a permanent alternative to marriage. He said that cohabitation represents a conscious attempt to create a more personal relationship as it is more negotiated and equal. This may affect family life but in a positive way as it shows some couples may share a closer bond outside of marriage rather than going along with the ‘norm’ as a relationship between married couples might just be forced as they would be obeying the law.   Another argument I agree with is Ronald Fletcher’s, he argued that the increased divorce rates come down to the “higher expectations” people put on marriage as now some are less likely to tolerate an “unhappy” marriage. Many people view a traditional marriage as the man going out to work and being the breadwinner of the family whilst a mother looks after the house and children, this shows an unequal position between the couple when really a marriage is all about unity and equal roles in the house as well as the relationship.

Secondly, the increase in reconstituted families tells us about modern family life in...

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