Explain the nuclear family.

The nuclear family is a sociological concept referring to the core members of a family unit, usually the parents and their children. This is in contrast to single-parent families and extended families. The nuclear family gets its name from nucleus, which comes from the Latin word for "nut," meaning the core of something.

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Just to be clear from the outset, the term "nuclear family" has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, nuclear power, or nuclear fission. In this respect, nuclear refers to a nucleus or core. Nucleus comes from the Latin word nux, meaning nut, which is the core of many fruits.

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Just to be clear from the outset, the term "nuclear family" has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, nuclear power, or nuclear fission. In this respect, nuclear refers to a nucleus or core. Nucleus comes from the Latin word nux, meaning nut, which is the core of many fruits.

As the above definition indicates, the sociological concept of the nuclear family relates to the core of a particular family unit: namely, heterosexual parents—usually married—and their children. This family arrangement stands in marked contrast to single-parent families and extended families.

The concept of the nuclear family goes back to the early decades of the twentieth century, but the actual family units it describes can be traced back much further. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth century that the nuclear family became a viable economic unit, no longer reliant on extended kinship networks for financial support.

In recent decades, the concept of the nuclear family has become increasingly less important in sociology due to their marked decline in Western societies. With rapid economic and social change and the relaxation of social attitudes, the nuclear family has become a much rarer phenomenon.

With the rise of single-parent families and with gay couples in many Western countries now able to marry and adopt children, this trend seems set to continue for the foreseeable future. Whether this is a good thing or not largely depends on one's political outlook.

Conservatives tend to bewail this state of affairs, seeing the decline of the nuclear family as undermining the traditional moral values of society. They continue to lay great stress on what they see as the importance of the nuclear family for social order and stability. Those on the political left, on the other hand, welcome the growing diversity of family units in society, which they believe is a sign that society is becoming freer and less rigid in its familial structures.

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