Families are changing too

imagesTechnology is changing the way we live our lives.   Each of the different generations we come from have certain ways their lives are lived.  Baby boomers, Gen X’ers, Millennials, Gen Z, etc. are all different.  Different expectations of what is the most important to them.

What is the future of families going to look like?  Not surprising is that most people gravitate towards spending their life with someone who wants the same things out of life.  Money can play a role in that as it generally plays a role later on.  More women will be equal to their male counterparts in the careers that they are pursuing and we will see more women financially outperform their partners in the future. It won’t be just women taking off 10 years to raise the family it will be men too.   That shifts the family dynamic.  It will work for more men in the future but my guess there will be some bumps in the road along the way.

Many couples are choosing not to get married but to have a ceremony without the legal ramifications.  They go on to have a family but they are not following what has been the norm which is getting married in the eyes of the law.  Their are legal issues when someone gets sick (and others) but lawyers have figured that out for gay couples for years.  Expensive but you can do it.   Not sure why people are choosing this route but it is worth noting.

I read an article the other day that discussed the overwhelming stress of work and family.  It seems more amplified than it was 20 years ago.  The concept was to look at how kibbutz’s work.  Shared responsibility for children and everyone takes on the roles that work for them.  When I was a kid my father thought this was a great idea and had this concept that we would do this with some couples.  Shared responsibility for dinners, lunches, shopping, cleaning, kids have built in play-dates, etc.  I am not sure I see this as a future trend but again an interesting concept.  It takes a village, right?

The classic nuclear family hasn’t changed that much over the past centuries it just looks different.  The school our kids went to as children had a yearly event where kids would bring in photos of their family and hang them throughout the school.  The event (I believe) is called Love Makes A Family.  Single parents, gay parents, divorced parents, grandparents raising the children, multi-racial families etc.  It is a really powerful installation.  One would think that with gender equality (soon, soon), more women running companies, more women leaving the work life for shorter periods of time, more men being the caretakers for periods of time, gay marriage (thank god)  and more equal sharing of responsibilities at home that there might be an interesting shift in the future family dynamic.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Laura Yecies

    I read somewhere that in the bay area less than 1/2 of all kids under 18 live in a traditional mother/father nuclear home. Pretending otherwise does no good.

  2. pointsnfigures

    thought the book America 3.0 was insightful about America, and the American family. http://twotheories.blogspot…America 3.0 is about America’s evolution: from its deepest cultural origins in the Germanic tribes who populated England as the Anglo-Saxons, through the foundation of the agrarian frontier-oriented America shaped by the Constitution and Bill of Rights (America 1.0), to the industrialized centralized Big-Government Big-Business America of recent decades (America 2.0), and looking ahead to the future realization of a newly decentralized, voluntarist, anti-bureaucratic America that revives our society’s founding values and principles (America 3.0).Throughout their narrative, Bennett and Lotus argue that “The continuous core of our distinct American culture is the American nuclear family.” (p. 26)“A novel feature of this book is our identification of the defining cultural element that makes us different from the rest of the world. That element is the unique American style of family life that has an unbroken history going back at least a thousand years and possibly for fifteen centuries or more. A feature of our lives we take for granted has made us what we are, and has been the continuous thread linking each of the three “versions” of America.“… Once our readers have this perspective, they will see that America’s history and its future form a continuous pattern that is oriented toward freedom and prosperity. This innate strength will allow us to ride out the dissolution of America 2.0 successfully, and build a superior iteration in its place. The likely continuation of our ancient pattern is a source of hope and optimism to the authors of this book, and we hope our readers will come to agree with us.” (p. xx-xxi)This particular kind of family — technically, the Absolute Nuclear Family — is defined by its practices:“(1) adult children choose their own spouses, (2) adult children leave their parents home to form a new, independent family in a new home, (3) the parents do not have a duty to leave their property to any child, and they may sell it during their lives or leave it by will to anyone they choose, (4) children have no duty to provide for their parents, and (5) extended families are weak and have no control over personal decisions.” (p. 52; also see pp. 27-28)In other words, it’s very different in design — as well as in its consequences and implications — compared to the extended–family, clan, and other tribal designs that prevail elsewhere.In this day and age, I think the key is 2 parent families. “marriage” or a civil contract that binds the two people is essential to preserving the contract of “family”. Too easy to walk away if there is just a mutual understanding when the going gets tough, or someone gets unhappy.