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The family set up in America has changed from the typical independent nuclear family to other forms of family set up. This has been occasioned by the high rates of divorce evident in the country today. Due to divorce, the rate of remarriage has also gone up thereby expanding the nuclear family to accommodate the complicated kinship networks. These networks include new partners in marriage with children from their past marriages and a number of grandparents. These types of families are known as blended families (Serena Nanda, 2010).
Cultural standards and values are set by the society and imposed on families. Traditional families did not have a problem in conforming to these cultural expectations. In recent times, however, family set up has changed from the traditional nuclear family to a complex family set up. This has seen the culture of the people change to accommodate the complexity of the situation. This paper analyzes how blended families are formed as the society changes and how this has facilitated cultural and value changes.
In the twenty first century, the government has allowed divorce even where none of the couple is at fault (Parkman, 2000). This is called no-fault divorce. This is different from the traditional society demands where one of the partners was at fault by committing a crime that in terms of marriage warranted a divorce. The government introduced the no-fault divorce arguing that America is a liberated country and every citizen in it has the right to live in marriage with a partner of their choice. No one should be forced to live with a partner if they are not willing to. This saw a rise in divorce rates with children ending up in the custody of one or both parents.
Socialization also saw an increase in blended families where people started learning about other cultures and appreciating one another in spite of their cultural backgrounds. The society, however, did not change its demands on families and their set up where intercultural marriages were frowned upon. This led to increased divorces because many people could not handle the pressure of demand on such families. A high mortality rate of people evidenced in the last century has led to the increased number of blended families where widowers remarry bringing with them children from each family. The rate of mortality has been increased by such issues as drug abuse or carelessness in driving due to alcoholism.
Socialization demands that all people are the same and equal and have equal rights such as the right to marry and have children. The rights issue has also brought forth the right of gays and lesbians to adopt children and bring them up as a part of their family (Serena Nanda, 2010). This has brought another angle in the formation of blended families.
Most often than not, blended families involve children and parents with different cultural backgrounds. When such cultures come together in a family set up so as to form a nuclear family, cultural differences always erupt. To maintain a family with varied cultural orientation, some norms and values are compromised. This has led to the cultural orientation of a society being diluted. The society in which there are families with different cultural orientation strives to accommodate such diversity. Such a society experiences the need to diversify its cultural values and norms. Integration of other norms into the cultural set-up of a society has seen to the formation of hybrid cultures. This is necessitated by the need to maintain unity and harmony in a society for the good of everyone who lives in it.
Children in a blended family set-up hate each other. They fail to have the understanding of their parents and often blame one of their parents for divorce. They face cultural misidentification and often extend their inner conflict to the other members of the family. A dysfunctional family is no longer frowned upon because the society is got used to it. Sometimes even counselling is not given to such a family because it has become a usual phenomenon. Sibling hatred has seen to dilution of family values such as unity and love which formed the basis of traditional families.
Where race is the issue in a blended family, the society has taken an interest in establishment of common grounds, although, in some parts of America, racial differences still exist. Segregation has, however, toned down thanks to increase in blended families. This has been a cause of dysfunction at family level.
America has become one big global family because of the increase in blended families. Each person brings into the family cultural factors as a way of representation in the family (Caroline Bunker Rosdahl, 2008). The cultures reflect different backgrounds. It must be noted that, despite the challenges of blended families and how they change the society, not all the blended families are dysfunctional. Some of these families make adjustments to accommodate each other’s differences without demanding that one must compromise his view. This has led to the emergence of another culture in America where tolerance is the key value.
In many ways, blended families have influenced the way how the society views occupation orientation. Traditionally, some jobs were not open to certain cultural orientations because they were a reserve of another. This has altered in recent times due to a change in cultural perspective in blended families especially those that are able to live with their cultures overlapping and integrating.
The dating customs of a society have also been changed (Caroline Bunker Rosdahl, 2008). Traditionally, it was unusual to date another person with children. This was especially so when one had to have a reason for divorce. That is not the case anymore; adults are dating and marrying partners from other cultures despite the factor of children being present. The society has allowed intercultural marriages in their midst. Many cultures have also changed their perspective on education. Traditionally, education was subject to definition according to one’s cultural orientation. A merging culture has developed a universal attitude towards education, and schools in turn have accommodated every socio-cultural orientation. The role of family members has shifted from the traditional definition where the role of women was in the kitchen and bringing up of children. Fathers have taken an active role in bringing up children and mothers have taken an active role in providing for the family. This has increased value in family norms as well as placing the family at a better position economically.
Children have learnt how to better deal with emotions (Caroline Bunker Rosdahl, 2008). This is because they have realised that other cultures matter too and must be accommodated. The broadened view of society by children in blended families has allowed them to manage their emotions better. Society demands that children who are not in blended families should tolerate other families and cultures for harmonious living.
In conclusion, blended families, whether from divorce or death of a partner, have influenced change in American society by fostering unity and harmonious living in a multicultural set-up. It has encouraged tolerance in a society and has changed its attitude towards culture and ethnicity.
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