Describe and evaluate the extent of the changing nature of family life in Britain today.
Even though the family is found in every society, it can take many different forms.
Marriage and family life in earlier times in Britain, and today in many other societies,
can be organised in quite different ways from family life in modern Britain.
Sociologists use a number of different terms to describe the wide varieties of
marriage and the family. The paragraphs below summarizes these varieties.
The nuclear family means just the parents and children, living together in one
household. In Britain in 2003, 37 per cent of people lived in this type of family. Then
there is the extended family which consists of two main types that is; the classic
extended family which is made up of several nuclear families joined by kinship
relations. The second one is the modified extended family where related nuclear
families, although they may be living apart geographically, nevertheless maintain
regular contact and mutual support through visiting, the phone, letters and email.
There is also the lone parent family, which is increasingly common in western
societies. In 2003, 11 percent of people in Britain lived in this type of family. Although
lone- parent families can arise from death of a partner; they are also on the increase
today due to the rise in the divorce rate. In 2003 around 25 per cent of all families
with dependent children were lone parent families, and nine out of ten of these lone
parents were women. The other type of family is the reconstituted family where one
or both parents have been previously married, and they bring with them children of a
previous marriage. In Britain more than 40 percent of all marriages involve
remarriage from one or both partners. The last family to be evaluated is the
symmetrical family where the roles of husband and wife or of cohabiting partners