Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research debunks myth of self-reliant nuclear family

29.07.2005


Working parents rely on a network of caregivers - a source of positive bonds, stress when childcare is insufficient or inflexible

Despite the long-cherished belief that the nuclear family is independent and self-sustaining, most families with working parents depend on a network of care to manage work and family demands, according to research by Brandeis University sociologist Karen Hansen. More than half of all U.S. households with young children have two employed parents.

Closing the "care gap" in families with young and school-aged children typically means relying on a network of friends, paid caregivers and extended kin. This reality clashes with the ideology of family independence, a defining American value. Hansen’s research suggests, however, that the interdependence of today’s families is a source of positive relationships and unique bonds that the nuclear family alone cannot provide.



"The historical idea of the nuclear family, which is deeply rooted in our culture, is linked to our sense of individualism and autonomy," explains Hansen, whose study of working parents and the networks of caregiving they develop forms the basis of a new book, Not-So-Nuclear Families: Class, Gender and Networks of Care.

In her book, which profiles four networks in depth, Hansen found that the middle class and professional middle class parents, upper class and working class families all rely on networks to provide childcare. The professional middle class parents, however, were more vulnerable to job pressures than either the upper or working class parents, leading them to express a higher level of anxiety about their patchwork childcare arrangements. "We should support and promote these kinds of relationships, which are found among all classes and races," said Hansen. Ironically, while recent U.S. policy has focused on improving the lives of American youth by strengthening the nuclear family, improvement is more likely to be found through social policies that leverage and expand the networks already being used by millions of families, Hansen asserts.

Her research suggests that national support of childcare, through better standards and funding, is critically needed. Parents would benefit from greater flexibility on the job, as well as more and better before- and after-school programs. "What works for the mothers and fathers of the children works best for the children," explains Hansen in her book. "Informal practices must go hand in hand with formal social policies."

Laura Gardner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brandeis.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>