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Changing Idea of Family

The family has for time immemorial been considered the basis of society. The family is the ideal unit of the human community. The family has been almost universally considered the ideal and perfect living arrangement for human beings – haven in a heartless world.

With the rise of industrialized society and the mobility the joint family that was a norm in older days shrank in size. Contributing to the disintegration of large family units were other factors like inequality of incomes of its members and increasing number of women opting for jobs and the slow breakdown of the hierarchical notions of society. In recent years the family has shrunk to nuclear family structure and more recently to single parent families. Technological and economic changes have been rapid in the recent past. They have had an inevitable impact on the social attitudes and values. On the one hand certain cherished values have been lost leading to confusion in the social setting. On the other hand the pace of economic progress and modernity have not been accompanied by the change in customs and attitudes. This is a paradoxical situation and it has led to the disintegration of the family as a unit and disruption in family ties.

With increased earning power and a consumer culture both parents and children have altered their responses to family life. The nature of parenting and the role of the spouses are no longer clearly defined. Urban areas exhibit the changed and changing situations of family bonds. With young people going away for education and jobs the old parents are left behind to fend for themselves. The elderly people are faced with emotional loss and bleak future in the absence of their children. Economic independence has brought in its wake individualism. Women are asserting their independence within the family structure. At the same time the general social attitude to working women and their role at home has been much slower to change. Children also seem not to accept the authority of the parents at home. In the time of information boom the human values have taken backseat. The erosion of authority has naturally taken away the conflict-solving power that families once had. The individualism and exigencies of work or study as led to family members eat at different times. Different members now take even holidays that were once a combined affair at different times. The family as an institution may have to change in keeping with the winds of change and breadth of knowledge that the world today is experiencing.