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magz
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11 Nov 2020, 3:58 am

It seems part of American conservative-progressive debate centers around the role of nuclear family, with proposals of abolishment clashing with defense of what is considered sacred fundaments.

I'm from a different culture and I feel like I miss some important unspoken information.
In my culture, family is very highly regarded, it's considered one's primary social safety net and fundamental social environment - but the shape of the family unit is flexible, depending on circumstances. Old parents or disabled siblings need support, people die or divorce, then remarry, new home can be unaffordable...

I grew up with my parents, siblings, grandmother and uncle sharing a single apartament. It was cramped and conflicts were unavoidable but when my parents finally gathered resources to move out, it turned out, the conflicts and problems did not end at all, but there were less people to distribute the load.

Now I'm living in a nuclear family and I find it a trade-off: on one hand, I have less other adults to negotiate the rules and struggle for power/autonomy; on the other hand, I have less other adults to take part in social development of my children.

What are your opinions on nuclear family?

PS - It's PPR but please, keep high standard of respectful debate.


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uncommondenominator
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11 Nov 2020, 4:33 am

I always assumed the main conservative selling point of the Nuclear Family was that it conveniently rigidly reinforced a narrative that was inherently hetero-normative, and discourages divorce or separation, with an expectation that you have to have kids. As for not living with extended family, that seems to have come about when resources became abundant enough that a core family could sustain itself economically without needing the whole family to contribute. Then capitalism happened, and getting everyone in their own home was a good way to sell homes. Thus, the american dream was born. A house with a white picket fence, a wife and two-point-four kids, and a job that makes it all possible. In this day and age, it's little more than clinging to tradition as far as I'm concerned.



Last edited by uncommondenominator on 11 Nov 2020, 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mona Pereth
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11 Nov 2020, 4:34 am

As I wrote in another thread here:

David Brooks, a moderate conservative-leaning writer, has written The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake ("The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together."), The Atlantic, March 2020.


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magz
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11 Nov 2020, 5:01 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
As I wrote in another thread here:

David Brooks, a moderate conservative-leaning writer, has written The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake ("The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together."), The Atlantic, March 2020.

The story is long and interesting, it seems to lean towards going back to reinforcing the role of extended family. That's something obvious to conservatives here, as our post-WWII history wasn't really about safety and prosperity and family networking was often crucial to survive.
I didn't finish reading it yet - I'll do later.


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11 Nov 2020, 8:15 am

I think the idea that nuclear families are normal and desirable can be damaging.
It stigmatises young adults who don't move out of their parents' home, for example, or old people who need care but don't want to go into "a home".
We need to see non-nuclear families more in the media, I think, to de-stigmatise them.
Like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.



magz
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11 Nov 2020, 8:37 am

I had a reflection on family in media when my children watched Disney's Sophia the First.
The show, while in candy-sweet Disney Princess aesthetics, very seriously tackles issues of patchwork family. Patchwork family kids can definitely relate to Sophia struggling to find her place in a new family after her mother remarried - and ultimately learning to make the best from both the "old" and the "new".


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kraftiekortie
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11 Nov 2020, 8:54 am

I believe in both the "nuclear" family and the "extended" family.

I believe in neighbors looking after each other's kids----but I also believe in privacy amongst individual families.

I believe the wise presence of grandparents in the lives of families is a good thing. People should not just put older people aside, and disdain them.



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11 Nov 2020, 9:09 am

The choice as to the type of family -- whether traditional, extended, communal, or even no family at all -- should be up to each individual and the families, and not dictated by some clueless government types whose idea of a "family" more closely resembles a feudal empire than a loving, nurturing relationship.


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11 Nov 2020, 9:18 am

Grandparents here often play the role of nannies while parents are away working.


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11 Nov 2020, 9:26 am

Pretty interesting article. My dad's relatively big immediate family still gets together every Wednesday for dinner at my grandma's house. On a related note to the article claiming the nuclear family is a mistake, I remember reading another article that goes even further arguing the Agricultural Revolution itself was a mistake 8O



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11 Nov 2020, 9:37 am

I have nothing against the concept of the nuclear family; but with so many other options, why stay in a nuclear family if it does not keep you happy?


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kraftiekortie
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11 Nov 2020, 9:42 am

I believe in the Nuclear Family as a concept----but my own Nuclear Family didn't work out so well.



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11 Nov 2020, 9:44 am

Haven't family structures in the US been a mixed bag for decades? I've known all kinds of variations.


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11 Nov 2020, 9:46 am

Family structures have been somewhat fluid throughout recorded history, except for those whose religious beliefs dictate a "Thou Shalt / Thou Shalt Not" arrangement.


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kraftiekortie
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11 Nov 2020, 9:47 am

Probably, we in the US have less "extended" families living in one household, and more "nuclear" families, than most nations.



kraftiekortie
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11 Nov 2020, 9:49 am

Imagine if there was such a thing as a "thermonuclear" family? :P