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Family & marriage Essay

1. The U.S. Census Bureau defines family as two or more people living together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. Heterosexual or Homosexual unmarried partners are excluded from this traditional definition. Many people object to the Census Bureau’s definition. The Journal of Marriage and Family, a scholarly journal about families published by the National council on Family Relations, opts for a broader, more exclusive definition saying that a family is a relationship by blood, marriage or affection, where members of the family cooperate economically, may care for children, and can consider their identity to be intimately connected by a larger group. It can include a family of orientation, which is the family that you were born into, and a family of procreation, which is the family that you make through marriage, partnering and/or parenthood.

This text also includes fictive kin in its definition of family. Fictive kin are nonrelatives whose bonds are strong and intimate, such as the relationships shared among unmarried homosexual or heterosexual partners, or close friends. Chapter 1, pg 3-5. 2. Regulation of Sexual Behavior: All cultures regulate sexual behavior, including who can have sex with whom and under what circumstances they must do so. A virtually regulation is the incest taboo that forbids sexual activity among close family members. Reproducing and Socializing Children: Each society must produce new members and ensure socialization, teaching children the rules, expectations and culture of society. Property and Inheritance: For much of human history, when people were nomadic hunters and gatherers, families owned little or nothing of their own, and so had nothing to pass down. Agriculture made it possible for people to own property, or to obtain a surplus beyond what was needed to survive, therefore, it became important to identify heirs. Economic Cooperation: A family is the group responsible for providing its members with food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities.

Social Placement, Status, and Roles: Families give their members a social identity and position. Members find their place in the complex web of status and roles. Care, Warmth, Protection, and Intimacy: Humans need far more than food, shelter, and clothing to survive. Families are intended to provide the emotional care needed to survive and thrive. Chapter 1, pg 6-7. 10. Poverty comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Poor families face a higher degree of stress, disorganization, ad other issues in their life. Poverty is hard on every one, but it weighs especially heavy on children’s physical, social, and emotional health. Poverty puts the health of children at risk in many ways, including a low birth weight, which increases chances of serious chronic and acute illness, along with emotional and behavioral problems.

Poverty has a negative effect on the quality and stimulation of the home environment. Poor children on welfare who were between the ages of 13 and 36 months hear only half as many words per hour as the average working class child. Poor children have a higher probability of being abused, neglected, and more severely injured by abuse. On average, poor children have fewer resources for learning in the home, including books and educational toys. Because poor families cannot pay high rent they often live in housing that may lack proper cooking, heating, or sanitation. Poor children live in inner cities where violence, crime truancy, loitering, and a sense of despair predominate. Chapter 2, pgs 63-65. 11. We are all made up of many different characteristics.

We aren’t simply male or female, Asian American or Hispanic, rich or poor. A person may be a White working-class female, a Japanese American upper-class male, a Cuban middle-class male, a white upper-class female, or any number of other racial, ethnic, gender, sex, and class combination. We have multiple statuses and they all interact to shape our lives. Our statuses intersect with one another. Sex and gender, race and ethnicity, and social class, individually and together, shape a constellation of privileges and constraints that can affect our goals, opportunity, choices, and experiences. They influence family structure we are born into, the way our parents raise us, our choices and opportunities in intimate relationships, how we parent, and how we age. Chapter 2, pg 67.


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