The American family has undergone numerous changes in terms of values and perception of issues afflicting the society. The family has also undergone major demographic shifts regarding the perception of the family unit. The family unit has evolved from being strictly a nuclear family to modern changes in which the family has acquired a totally new definition (Thomas, 53). It is at present common to see single and even gay people having families recognized by society.
The nuclear family ideal that used to exist in pre-colonial times is slowly but surely being exposed as a sham. The ideal nuclear family is being portrayed as a family that was brought upon people by circumstances, religiousness, and often tended to oppress its members. It denied its members the option of leaving unions in which their rights to freedom or happiness could not be achieved or had been denied (Runciman and Anderson, 96). In actual fact the notion of an ideal marriage and family was only a figment of the imagination brought about by fairy tales.
Divorce and remarriage on the other hand has been propounded to provide a way out of unworkable marriages. Divorce has been taken lightly when it has the painful consequence of alienating the child from one of the parents. Remarriage and letting children live with relatives while expanding the child's horizons prevents the formation of strong relationships with significant people in the child's life (Thomas, 45). Children are for the most part happiest when brought up by both parents. Though parents from remarriage may be happy, there is always a missing element when the parents are not the biological parents.
Women who get married due to lack of any other options though should be allowed avenues to get out of unhappy situations. The stereotype of the family by society needs to change to accommodate changing times and realities. Stereotypes sometimes are as a result of cultural values and ideals ingrained in people since childhood. Close knit cultures tend to be more stereotypical and have more influence on their members.
Family usually has the greatest influence on the values and ideals that are held by a person. Families that are communicative loving and close knit generally influence their members in positive ways and vice versa (Thomas, 62). Less close knit families might lead to people in the family to have less allegiance to the family and values which lead to rebellion. Preconceived notions (whether conscious or unconscious) may also cause hostility and rebellion among families due to issues such as controlling parents, over expectation, and feelings of abandonment by other members (Kingsolver, 71).