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 Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>