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Characteristics of nuclear family

A nuclear family usually consists of a father, mother and their children, whether biological or adopted. The nuclear family has traditionally been the basic unit of the larger family structure. It is from the nuclear family that we learn various values ??such as love, tolerance and coexistence. However, increasing rates of divorce, delayed marriages and delayed childbirth continue to affect the prevalence of the nuclear family. Several factors characterize the nuclear family.

1. Monogamous

In the bosom of a nuclear family is the union between a mother and a father. An existing marriage or a legal union between the father and the mother is also a determining aspect of a nuclear family. In addition, the father and mother in a nuclear family generally tend to stay together under one roof, despite circumstances such as occasional trips for work. This is different from a single family in which the father and mother of a child remain separately and are not within an existing marriage or legal union.

2. Responsibilities

The responsibilities of leading a nuclear family are exclusively of the man and woman of the house. Some nuclear families have both parents working outside the home, others work outside the home, while the wife stays at home and even a small minority asks the man to stay at home while the woman works. This is contrary to joint or extended families in which other family members such as grandparents and aunts can take on some responsibilities in the family.

3. Small and intimate

Modern nuclear families are usually small in size and tend to be intimate. However, there are some slight variations in that some families have a mother, father and many biological or adoptive children. These are also nuclear families, although they are not the model of the modern small family

4. Emotional component

The nuclear family produces the emotional unity of the family structure. Children develop their emotional and cognitive senses from the core of the nuclear family, the mother and the father. It is also within the nuclear family that the father and mother develop the ability to handle emotions such as fear, anger and disappointment between the two and their children. This emotional component is then continued by the children in their own family and the cycle continues.

5. Temporary

The nuclear family is impermanent because at some point the children of that family stop living with their parents. These children move to create their own families and the strong links between their original family and their pro-creacionales (the family in which they marry and have children) tend to erode. This is different from the joint or extended family, which increases in size when children grow up and create their own families.

Changes in the formation and charateristics of the nuclear family

Anthropology and sociology study families and their conformation, trying to define the differences between the types of them. However, while anthropology has historically been more receptive to the analysis of all existing family types, sociology rarely views the nuclear family as a structure. Bittman wonders why sociologists promote the idea of ??a nuclear family when very few people show an attachment to that type of family.

The decline of the nuclear family is originated, according to the hypothesis of the same Bittman:

  • The relative increase in average age at marriage in industrialized societies.
  • The fall in the fertility rate and the delay of the first births in the new couples.
  • The historical pattern of unstable fertility: it goes from a boom to a depression, depending on other socio-economic and cultural factors.
  • The aging of the population and the tendency to increase life expectancy.
  • The increase in the rate of divorces and of people who do not wish to marry.

Despite this, in countries such as the United States , the nuclear family appears as the most widespread structure with respect to other alternatives. In that country, nuclear families represent 73% of households with children, according to the 2000 census .

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