May 4, 2012
The Family Structure
Symbolic interactionism and conflict theory can both be illustrated to explain the change
in family and marriage relationships in America. Families were once a strong central unit of the
American fabric. Unfortunately, marriage rates have significantly declined over the last five
decades. In recent years, the changes in family relations have not only changed the way men and
women view each other, but also the way they view marriage today.
What happened to the long lasting marriages? What happened to men being the sole
providers of their families? Why are so many women raising children by themselves as well as
maintaining a career? Has our society been reduced to the acceptance of not trying to make
marriages work in which if a husband and wife have a disagreement it is okay to get a divorce?
Why are so many men becoming accustomed to walking away from their families having women
to be both the provider and mother and father to children and calling it family? In the past fifty
years, nearly forty percent of children in single parent homes have not seen their father in over
one year (Harms: 1999). These are some of today’s social dynamics that affect American
These problems have plagued many families since the mid-twentieth century in America.
Relationships were not always this condescending. It was very unlikely until the late 1960’s that
men did not provide for his family. In the previous decades, men took pride in being the sole
providers of his home. His job and his family were the reasons he existed. If a man took care of
his family he had pride within himself.
I can still hear my grandfather’s words resonating with me, “Grandbaby, don’t get with a
man that don’t know how to treat you right. If he can’t spoil you and do thangs for you, you
don’t need him.” As I remember those words, I can only smile and say to him if he were here,...