The impact of societal change on family structures, functions and resources has become evident through, the acceptance of, same sex marriages/couples, sole parent, extended, foster, nuclear and defacto families, physical, economic, emotional, social, cultural, moral, spiritual, religious and adaptive lifestyles. Statistics from around the world are showing the changing views and perspectives on various roles in the family. It wasn’t long ago in Australia, that births outside of marriage were considered to be unacceptable. In those days the young woman was sent off to the country to have her child and give it up for adoption, as to not damage her family’s reputation. Nowadays many women are having children out of marriage. Whether it is through the convenience of not being married or an unplanned pregnancy it has become frequently more common and accepted throughout Australia. This also brings in to the equation the growing number of mother’s in the workplace. Previously after a woman had a child she did not return to work, but as the number of single mothers in the community has become more acceptable so has the view that women can return to the workforce after they have a child. Through the assistance of government pensions, workplace run childcare and daycare centres, single mothers have the option of full government support or returning to work, with some assistance from the government.
Apart from single mothers, there is the issue of single father’s. This could occur through the death of the mother or the mother being unsuitable to her role. Support and acceptance are now widely offered to either single parent. Australians are also showing a trend to marrying later and having fewer children, often preferring to focus on their careers rather then settling down. Previously men and women were expected to have a family in their late teens, but as the necessity to have lots of money the view on this has changed. Also because of IVF and many other resources to help you have a child, both men and women do not feel the rush to have children, compared to people twenty years back. Since the number of babies has dropped dramatically over the past few years, it has brought about an increase of other nationalities to spread across Australia. Also acceptance of inter-racial and inter-religious marriages has become accepted, as many people are coming to terms that all races are the same. This also brings in the acceptance of adoption, as many couples are starting to adopt children from overseas countries, such as Asia, Africa and Russia, as well as having their own children has increased the number of blended families, in Australia.
As Australia now is a growing multicultural society it has accepted and adapted to many multicultural traditions, cultures and beliefs. This has affected the way all Australians think; as we have a more diverse background we are more acceptable and adaptive to change in our society. Divorce was once considered to be a taboo, less than twenty years ago but statistics have proven that this view has been changed dramatically with, out of 331 200 marriages 173 600, will end in divorce. Many of these marriages include children with the average age of the child being seven years old. It has also proven that women are more likely to gain custody of the children then men, and in cases like these 14% of divorced dads end up, either not wanting to see their children or neglecting them emotionally. When divorce does occur there is a dramatic drop in the family’s income, assistance is sometimes required from the government to provide for the basic needs, eg food and clothing. As a result of less income the family members become extremely acceptable to breakdowns and stress, which can lead to anger and falling out between family members. This can lead to the reduction of socialisation between family members, as they can no longer stand being around one another.
There is a variety of reasons in why more people are becoming divorced, they include, it being easier and more acceptable. In many cases divorced parents end up re-marrying, which creates stepfamilies. The couples who do survive the high divorce mortality rate often after their children leave home become foster parents as many couples seem to believe that having children around will keep them forever young and forever together. The largest societal change by far has been the acceptance of same-sex couples. Previously these couples were shunned by men and women alike, with many suppressing their sexuality. (Homosexuality dates back to Ancient Greece.) Is now only just becoming more readily accepted. There is now almost 18% of ” outed” same sex couples in Australia, with a further more 9%, pursuing IVF or similar treatment to have children.
The family functions has also changed through many fathers becoming the stay at home “mum” and the women, after having the child return to the workforce and become the “breadwinners”. The good old nuclear family, being 2.3 children, mother, father and a dog has a seemed to have disappeared, with the impact of societal change. People have begun to realise that they can be an individual family and that they do not have to identify and have the same religion, culture and beliefs as everybody else. I believe that the change in society on family structures, functions and resources has changed for the better.