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In what ways do social forces (outside influences), make it easier or more challenging...

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brigaither | Student | Honors

Posted June 19, 2012 at 11:05 PM via web

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In what ways do social forces (outside influences), make it easier or more challenging for different family forms to function in society? Support your answer with detailed examples.

The three different family forms you should consider are Adoptive Families, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and Mixed Families.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 20, 2012 at 4:42 AM (Answer #1)

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I am not sure I agree that there are only three family forms. For example, there are families that are single parents raising children, and that form does not seem to be contained within these three categories.  However, insofar as societal forces are concerned, certainly, the dynamics of society have an impact on each. 

I have noticed that grandparents raising their grandchildren sometimes have problematic interactions with the school system, not comfortable with modern practices, terminology, etc.  Teachers and administrators can be impatient with this, not always providing the support grandparents need to be involved with their grandchildren's education.  I have also noticed that grandparents tend to be digital "immigrants," which makes them uncomfortable with the technology their grandchildren use, something that can cause a greater rift than the rift from just one generation to the next. 

Adoptive families have their own problems, particularly when a child is of a different race.  Strangers stare and ask rude questions, for example.  And the trend toward open adoptions creates new problems in society, such as what the role of biological parents should be.  There is not much precedent yet for how such families should proceed. 

By "mixed," I am assuming you are referring to what I call "blended" families, those in which there are offspring from previous marriages or relationships, sometimes including a new child or children between the new partners.  While we are more accustomed to this form these days, there is no one template that society has put a stamp of approval on.  How does one merge this new assortment of people and personalities?  Given society's inclination to split custody, it is difficult to blend into a new family when children are constantly coming and going to their other parents. 

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