American Families across Time • In order to understand how Americans have evolved as a family we are going to look at the progression of the family over the centuries and then at the similarities and differences between American Families.
Native American Families • Over 240 groups of Native Americans, with distinct family and kinship’s, patterns, inhabited what is now the U.S. and Canada.
Families were small with high mortality rate, the mothers’ breastfed infants, and abstained from sexual intercourse during breast-feeding. • Children were rarely disciplined. They were taught by example. Families praised them when they were good and publicly shamed them when they were bad. • Children played at hunting games and with dolls to model adult behavior. • Ceremonies marked the transition into adulthood. • Girls underwent puberty ceremonies at first menstruation. Boys celebrated killing their first animal. • Girls usually married between the ages of 12 & 15 Boys married between 15 & 20 • Tribes were generally monogamous although sometimes they had two wives.
Colonial Families • The family was basically an economic and social institution, the primary unit for producing most goods and caring for the needs of its members. • Romantic love was not a factor in choosing a partner, love came only after marriage and was considered a duty. • The colonial family was strictly patriarchal. • The authority of the husband/father rested in his control of land and • property. • Children were believed to be evil by nature. • were regarded as a small adult and childhood ended at six or seven. • Children were often bound out, to live with a relative or stranger to be an apprentice or domestic servant. They were taught a skill, educated, and disciplined correctly.
Bundling-the New England custom is which a young man and woman spent the night in bed together. • Patrilineal-Rights and property flowed from the father. • Matrilineal-Rights and property descended from the mother. • Adolescence-The social and psychological state occurring during puberty.
Nineteenth-Century Marriages and Families • A wife was not equal, but a “helpmate” who was economically dependent upon her husband. • For women, marriage marked the beginning of a constant cycle of childbearing and child rearing. • Love, as a basis for marriage, came to the foreground. • Women now had a new degree of power in the ability to choose whom they would marry.
The nineteenth century witnessed the most dramatic decline in fertility in American history: • Women began to control the frequency of intercourse. • This allowed women to have fewer children & concentrate on mothering; it opened up opportunities to participate in the world outside the family. • A new sentimentality surrounded childhood and protecting children from the evils of the world became a major part of childrearing. • In contrast to the colonial period, nineteenth-century adolescents were kept economically dependent and separate from adult activities. • School became important & children formed peer groups which became very important. • During the eighteenth century and later, West African family systems were severely repressed throughout the New World.
Though legally prohibited, slaves created their own marriages. • In the harsh slave system, the family provided strong support against the daily indignities of servitude. • Slave marriages were not seen a legal. • The separation of slave families was common, creating grief and • despair among thousands of slaves. • Men who were held in slavery could not support a family and they were not autonomous. • When the formerly enslaved became free, the African-American family had strong emotional ties and traditions forged from slavery and their West African heritage.
Immigration: The Great Transformation • History breaks the waves of immigration into two spheres. The old immigrants arrived in the new world between 1820 & 1920 they were mosltly from northern and western Europe. Many Chinese immigrated to the West Coast during this time. • The New immigrants arrived between 1890 & 1914 the majority of these immigrants came from eastern and southern Europe. Japanese also immigrated to the West Coast and Hawaii during this period. • In the nineteenth century, industrialization transformed American families from self-sufficient farm families to wage-earning urban families.
The rise of Companionate Marriages: 1900-1960 • Without its central importance as a work unit, the family became the focus and abode of feelings. • The companionate Marriage has four major features • Men and women were to share household decision making and tasks • Marriages were expected to provide romance, sexual fulfillment, and emotional growth. • Wives were no longer expected to be guardians of virtue and sexual restraint • Children were no longer protected from the world but were to be given greater freedom to explore and experience the world, they were encouraged to express their feelings.
During war time women stepped into the employment positions previously occupied by men. • The change during WWII came form middle-class women stepping into the work force.
Factors that promote change in American families. • 1. Economics: the family has shifted from being an economically productive unit to a consuming, service-oriented unit. • 2. Technological innovations: major technological developments and innovations have altered the way families work, live, play and socialize. • 3. Demographics: the most significant changes have been the increased life span, increased divorce rate, and decreased fertility rate. • 4. Gender roles/Opportunities for Women: the past decades have brought about major gender role shifts contributing to a third force of change in American marriages and families. • 5. Values: There has also been a major shift in American values from an emphasis on obligation and self-sacrifice to individualism and self-gratification.
Social classes are categories of people who share a common economic position in the stratified society in which they life. • Social classes in the United States can be based upon the four class model of Upper Class, Middle Class; Working Class, and Lower Class. • Marriage and family relationships are affected by the economic stratification
Socioeconomic status-A term used to refer to the combined effects of income, occupational prestige, wealth, education, and income on a person’s lifestyle and opportunities. • Fictive kin ties-refers to the extension of kinship status to neighbors and friends, thus symbolizing both an intensity of commitment and a willingness to help each other meet needs on a daily life. • Social mobility-movement up or down the social class ladder.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity • Racial group-a group of people such as whites, blacks, and Asians, classified according to their phenotype. Racial groups share common phenotype characteristics, such as skin color and facial structure. • Phenotype characteristics-anatomical and physical characteristics. • Ethnic group-a group of people distinct from other groups because of cultural characteristics. These characteristics included as language, religion, and customs are shared within and differentiate between ethnic groups. • A minority group- a group of people whose status places them at an economic, social, or political disadvantage.
In African American families or Black families, Culture of poverty-African-American families are immersed in illegitimacy, poverty, and welfare as result of their slave heritage. • Hispanic can be described in two ways devoted to the family and Machismo-is the amount of male dominance.
1. African-American families have a strong sense of familialis.. • 2. Understanding socioeconomic status. • 3. Striking features of African-American families include: a long history of dual-earner families as a result of economic need (creating more egalitarian family roles than white families); the importance of kinship bonds; a strong tradition of familialism; the fact that children are highly valued; and the likelihood of living in extended households.
Latinos are the fastest growing and second largest ethnic group in America. • 1. There is considerable diversity among Latinos in terms of ethnic heritage and socioeconomic status. • 2. Important factors in Latino family life include close kin cooperation and mutual assistance, the importance of children, Catholicism, and a tradition of male dominance (although day-to-day living patterns suggest that women have considerable power and influence in the family).
Asian-Americans are a particularly diverse group. • 1. The largest Asian-American groups are Chinese-Americans, followed by Filipino-Americans and then Japanese-Americans. • 2. More recent arrivals (Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and Hmong) first immigrated to the United States in the 1970s as refugees of the Vietnam War. • 3. Values that continue to be important to Asian-Americans include the importance of family over the individual, self-control to achieve societal goals, and appreciation of one's cultural heritage.
Contemporary American-born Chinese families: emphasize familialism; tend to be better educated, have higher incomes and lower rates of unemployment than the general population; have conservative sexual values and attitudes toward gender roles; have a strong sense of family; and expect women to be employed and contribute to household income. • There has been a considerable migration of Native-Americans to urban areas since World War II because of poverty on reservations and pressures toward acculturation. • Generally, acculturation brings about considerable diffusion of cultural traits in one or more directions. • Because of the importance of tribal identities and practices, there is no single type of Native-American family.
Although considerable variation exists among different tribal groups, extended families are significant to Native-Americans and large numbers of Native-Americans are married to non-Native-Americans. • White ethnicity is strongest in the East and Midwest. • Symbolic ethnicity is an ethnic identity used only when the individual chooses.