Творческая работа на тему Is the family unit really the basis of society

МБОУ «Средняя общеобразовательная школа №27 с углубленным изучением отдельных предметов»

Is the family unit really the basis of society?

Работу выполнили участники

3 областной научно-практической конференции

« Духовность и современность»

учащиеся 10 «б» класса

МБОУ «Средняя общеобразовательная школа №27

с углубленным изучением отдельных предметов»

г. Балаково, Саратовской области

Сеитова Алина и Шапкина Виктория

Научный руководитель :

Леонова Ирина Владимировна

учитель английского языка

Балаково 2013г.


1.Introduction. Family relationships…………………………………………..

2. Is the family unit really the basis of society?………………………………

2.1. Family patterns…………………………………………………

2.2. Family roles…………………………………………………….

2.3. Different kinds of Russian and American families.

2.3.1. American families…………………………………………..

2.3.2. What is the typical American Family?……………………………..

2.3.3. Russian Families…………………………………………….

2.4. Family problems…………………………………………………….

2.4.1. Generation Gap………………………………………………

2.4.2. Parent-child relations…………………………………………

2.4.3. Sibling relations……………………………………………….

2.4.4. Marriage and divorce………………………………………….

2.4.5. Financial side of marriage……………………………………..

2.4.6. Married couple living with their parents……………………….

2.5. Adoption…………………………………………………………….

2.6. Is it topical for young people to get married nowadays?………………..

3. Conclusion. Why is family important?…………………………………………..

4. List of reference materials…………………………………………….


1.1. Family relationships.

We agree that a family plays a critical role in a society. It is one of the key problems of nowadays, because it is from a family where everything begins. Family is a base unit of a society. It is what constitutes to form a country. From a macro perspective, it shows the society’s identity. It tells us a lot of it from the way a family thinks, work, play and behave. Families in this case actually serve as an ambassador of a society. They are the ones that give outsiders a certain impression of a society, setting a reputation.

It is generally accepted that family is a place where warmth can be felt. Members of a family will share love, care and concern to each other, felling his sense of attachment; their close relationship will be even more bonded. In this way they can feel the essence of living and be able to enjoy life to its fullest extent since humans have emotions. With such a positive atmosphere and united spirit, it will definitely do more good than harm to the society.

As everybody knows, the family is the core cell of society as it transmits to its new members its values and tips to evolve in the world. Usually family is not a public but a private affair. Every family chooses to live its own way just as they can choose their doctor. But governments have always tried to influence families because they are very important to a country.

It is a well-known fact that the family plays a very important role in everybody’s life. Labour achievements, mood and what is called happiness depend on family relations. When young people marry, they sometimes think that happiness in their marriage will be created by somebody else, not by themselves. They are mistaken.

So, we shall concern ourselves with the problem of family values.


2.1 Family patterns.

We shall now proceed to show family patterns. The family is the most basic and ancient of all institutions, and it remains the fundamental social unit in every society. The nature of the family keeps changing: there are a number of types of family that exist in a society at any one time. There used to be mainly two types of families: the extended and the nuclear (core) family. The extended family most often included mother, father, children, and some other relatives, such as grandparents, living in the same house or nearby. Then as job patterns changed and the economy progressed from agricultural to industrial, people were forced to move to different parts of the country for job opportunities. These moves split up the extended family. The nuclear family became more prevalent; this consisted of only the parents and the children.

There is an opinion that a family is incomplete if there are no children in it. Fortunately, this problem is crucial for many families. Being a “cell” of the society, a family has function to give birth to a new person to raise a citizen for the country with moral values and education.

For a newborn child family members are the first and sometimes the only people who help a baby to discover the new world. While growing up, the child makes friends with kids of the same age, communicates with brothers or sisters, and then with teachers… The child learns new things in different ways and through communication with various people but nevertheless he believes parents most of all. Parents should understand that they are responsible for their children’s lives. There is no place for mistakes.

What characteristics are common to all family forms? First, the family consists of a group of people who are in some way related to one another. Second, its members live together for long periods. Third, the adults of the family group assume responsibility for any offspring. And fourth, the members of the family form an economic unit – often for producing goods and services (as when all members share agricultural tasks) and always for consuming goods and services (such as food and housing). We may say that the family is a relatively permanent group of people related by ancestry, marriage, or adoption, who live together, form an economic unit, and bring up their young. Now, besides these two types of traditional groupings, new types of family have appeared. With the divorce rate nearly one in two, there is an increase in single-parent families: a father or mother living with one or more children. Blended families occur when previously married men and women marry again and combine the children from former marriages into a new family. On the other hand, some couples are deciding not to have any children at all, so there is an increase in two-person childless families. There are also more people who live alone: single, widowed, divorced.

2.2. Family roles.

Then comes the problem of family roles. Families have to make many decisions, often on a daily basis, about who will be responsible for completing a certain task or fulfilling a particular responsibility. For example, families must decide who will take out the trashy who will take the children to school, who will cook dinner, who will watch the children after they return from school, who will work and provide financial support for the family, etc. In healthy families, roles are assigned in such a way that family members are not overburdened

It is universally known that over the last hundred years the roles of men and women in the family have been undergoing a change. Traditionally, man was the main breadwinner in the family. Their role included earning an income in one way or another, supporting and defending the family, being strong, independent, and self-reliant, and supervising their wives in running the house and bringing up children. The man was the head of the family and making important decisions was his responsibility. The woman’s role was subordinate and included: the responsibility to give birth to and to care for children, to run a household under the supervision of a husband. Running a household and caring for children was a ‘full-time’ job. It usually included cleaning, cooking the meals, canning and bottling the farm produce if the family lived in the country, and providing for all needs of the husband and children. Children were taught their roles when very young. Boys were shown how to provide for their future families’ needs. They went to school where they were taught the basics along with being introduced to career alternatives. Higher education was available for them. Girls learned how to do the household chores, and received some basic school education. Higher education was not opened for women until the 19th century, and even then only to a very limited degree, hence career alternatives were not available for them. Girls were taught how to be wives and mothers.

Nowadays, the traditional distribution of roles in the family has changed. First, men and women have equal economic, political and social rights. Women have the same right to education as men do, and are no longer officially discriminated in their careers. Nowadays many young women choose to get higher education and often get higher scores in achievement tests. They take up careers in many fields including traditionally ‘male’ professions, such as politics, medicine, army and police. Second, the high cost of living in modem society has put the family in the position where both adults must work full time jobs to survive. Wives’ incomes help maintain living standards. The changing social roles of men and women resulted in significant changes in the family roles. In fact, there are three types of family role distribution — the traditional one when the husband is the only breadwinner and the wife stays at home to bring up the children and look after the house. The second model is the prevalent one, where the man’s and woman’s roles tend to be equal or at least the couple tries to find a balance between work and home. In this family type, both spouses share the responsibilities and pleasures of family life. Both careers tend to be considered equally important by the partners, and men participate more in domestic tasks, such as doing household chores and raising children. It has clearly become more socially acceptable for men to be and to say they are involved in child care, cooking and cleaning over the past three decades than it was in the past. Also, both partners have an equal chance at time for their own pursuits, and tend to spend leisure time together. In this type of the family the husband and wife usually share important decision making. When the children are old enough, they participate as well. The old rule that children should be seen and not heard is rarely followed, and children are often allowed to do what they wish without strict parental control. The father seldom expects his children to obey him without question, and children are encouraged to be independent at an early age. The third type of the family is the one where the woman plays the leading role.

However, the problems of mixing career, marriage and parenthood have been lessened by the development of more nurseries and other pre- kindergarten child-care institutions. Moreover, getting the extra income made it possible paying for a nanny.

2.3 Different kinds of Russian and American families.

2.3.1 Americans families

We shall see below American families. Over the second half of the 20th century, American families underwent significant changes in composition and lifestyle. According to 2010 research by the Pew Research Center, these changes correlated with new definitions of the American family. In growing numbers, families moved from rural areas to urban centers or suburbs, and more women joined the workforce. Family size became smaller and more children were born to unmarried parents. As a result of these trends, American families of the 21st century are highly diverse.

2.3.2. What is the Typical American Family?

The traditional American family includes mom, dad and the kids, but there are many combinations of households. 8% are single-parent families, where one parent lives with children. In general, the average number of people living together under one roof has got smaller. The number of children in a family is also much smaller.

People usually get married in their thirties, although some couples decide to live together without getting married. Some single people look for partners through the personals, ads that appear in newspapers or magazines.

One out of two American marriages ends in divorce. Children of divorced families often live with their mothers. When the parents have joint custody of the children, the children often divide their time between each parent.

At the same time, many American middle-class families expect their children to find part-time jobs, especially as they enter their teen. This might be working at the local supermarket or service station, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers before school starts or baby-sitting. In fact, about 70% of high-school seniors work during the average school week. One effect on American society is that middle-class children can do menial work with put loosing face. Sometimes it`s a way of gaining status.

Most Americans expect their children to leave home at an earlier age than do parents in many their western countries. Beyond a certain age, they are often expected to contribute to, or pay for things that go beyond food, clothing and shelter. Many high school students have their own cars. But most of them are paid for by the students themselves.

2.3.3. Russian families

We turn now to Russian families. Russian families are large and friendly. The meaning of the family in Russia is not limited to the husband, wife and children. It stretches to include grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. The members of the Russian family closely communicate with each other and frequently get together, especially on such family occasions as birthdays and anniversaries. Just like in any family, there might be misunderstandings and even quarrels among family members, however one thing is certain: Russians cherish their families and are always ready to help their relatives in difficult times. The tradition that everyone should love their own home and protect their family is instilled into Russians since the early childhood.

Just a few decades ago, it was very common among Russians to get married at an early age. Young men and women would get married at the age of 18-20 while studying in their second or third year at the university. A typical student family would consist of a young husband and wife pursuing their university degrees while receiving material support from their parents.

According to the latest statistics, the marriages between Russians of the same age are much less common. In the majority of Russian families, the husband is 4-6 years older than his wife but the age difference of more than 10 years is still acceptable by most Russians.

The Russian tradition, according to which a young woman had to get married as early as possible traces its roots to the distant past. In the ancient Rus’, a fifteen year-old girl was considered to be mature enough for adult life and giving birth to children. Marriages were arranged and were a matter of practicality with the emphasis not being on romance. Such views on life preserved in Russia until the end of the twentieth century when marriages at the age of 18-20 were still common. It was only at the close of the twentieth century when an unmarried 20-year-old girl would no longer be referred to as someone who “stayed too long in maids” and an unmarried 25-year-old woman would no longer be called the “old maid”.

Nowadays the majority of young men and women in Russia prefer not to rush to marriage and the opposite trend has gained popularity: prior to marriage, the future spouses strive to receive good education, find a decent job and achieve the first successes in their careers. By the time of marriage and the birth of children, the young families have their lives arranged and are able to support themselves financially.

Civil unions have been gaining popularity in Russia lately. A civil union is a relationship where a man and a woman live together and share household expenses without officially registering a marriage. Civil union is a great opportunity for the young couple to test their feelings and make sure they are ready for a family life together. A marriage becomes official when the couple receives a wedding certificate in the Civil Registry Office (ZAGS) and gets married in a civil ceremony. In addition to the official civil ceremony, many newlyweds arrange an Orthodox wedding ceremony in the Church.

The Russian Federation actively supports young families to reduce the number of divorces. There is a special program in Russia that supports construction of housing for young couples and provides favorable terms for home loans.

When a child is born, the young family receives support in the amount of 343,387 rubles (approximately $11,000 in 2010). Many Russian families bring up three or more children. These families are called large families and receive discounts on electricity, gas, water, education and public transport.

2.4. Family problems.

2.4.1. Generation gap.

In the next chapter we shall explore more closely some of the specific features of family problems. The generation gap is and was a term popularized in Western countries during the 1960s referring to differences between people of a younger generation and their elders, especially between a child and their parents` generation.

Generations usually differ in their attitudes to fashion, food and health habits, tastes in art and music, opinions about morality, marriage and career. Several reasons: first, the two generations, having grown up at different times, have different likes and dislikes, as well as moral and social values. Second, the old are usually conservative and tend to ignore some vital changes. Then, due to having little in common to talk about, the old and the young are not willing to communicate and resolve the conflicts. The third reason is, with the pace of modern life becoming faster and faster, both of them are so busy they do not spare enough time to exchange ideas. One more reason results from the difference on the age psychology: the old are often too convinced of their rightness basing on their life experience and compose their attitudes on the young while the young always try to prove they are grownups equipped enough to make decisions and take control of their lives on their own, and resent the petting attitude of the elders.

We believe that generation gaps can be reduced by making efforts, and most efforts must come from the parents who have the wisdom.

2.4.2. Parent – child relations.

Now we shall turn out attention to Parent-child relations. The three important relationships in a family are material, parent-child and sibling relationships. The parent- child relationship affects us more profoundly than any other relationship of our lives. The mutual bond of attachment is extremely important to the child’s well being in many ways. It helps ensure protection and safety for the child, creates a secure base from which the child can explore his world. Through these relations, a child learns empathy and compassion and eventually, will develop a conscience. It is the foundation of all of our relationships and the source of our earliest ideas of love, intimacy, trust and security. It can nourish us to self- confidence or scar us to life.

The main purpose of parenting is to raise self-sufficient adults who can venture into the world with self belief and the ability to respect other people, consider their interests and communicate with them. All these abilities and personality traits can be developed in children through positive communication with their parents. Another important thing is to love and support the child in any age. Receiving warmth and affection is very important for the child’s mental, physical as well as social development.

2.4.3. Sibling relations

Now let us look specifically at sibling relations. Being a part of a family might be very demanding but the benefits are obvious. Relationships with siblings are among the longest relationship that an individual will ever experience. The bond that unites siblings based on the amount of time that they share a relationship builds quickly and effectively. Studies show that these relationships have a big impact on our psychological and social development. While parents teach their children the proper way to perform socially, siblings teach us to get along with friends and peers.

There are evidently many advantages of having brothers or sisters. First, those who have siblings feel a stronger sense of support and love. This is the certain unity among siblings that helps them rely on each other, and depend on each other. Second, having a brother or sister involves companionship and communication.

Having a sibling reinforces many values and life skills that are necessary for survival in the world. This includes sharing, considering the feelings of others, understanding that everyone requires a certain amount of space for themselves, and teamwork. Children who are nurtured by their older siblings become sensitive to other people’s feelings and beliefs, and older children are pulled out of their egos. They better get along with people who were different than themselves. They tend to comfort and help other people more than an only child.

Conflicts between siblings are inevitable, but on the other hand these conflicts became unique opportunities for children to develop the ability to understand other people’s emotions and viewpoints. Siblings’ rivalry teaches them conflict resolution, which is a skill people bring to their workplaces, marriages and other relationship.

Nevertheless, having brothers or sisters has some disadvantages. First, the older one tends to protect the younger ones from other people, but these rules do not usually apply to their own conduct with their siblings. Second, when there are several children in the family, the parents have to divide their time, affection and even money, and share each one gets is evidently less. Third, younger children often choose the older ones as their role models, and if the older engages in delinquent behavior, this dependence can be quite a problem for the parents.

2.4.4. Marriage and divorce.

If the couple is not happy, they may choose to get a divorce. Now women are not afraid to separate from their partners or to divorce. The child, being a baby or just a minor is not the subject to marriage prolongation anymore. If women are not satisfied with the marriage, they demand the divorce. A divorce is relatively easy to obtain in most European countries and the USA. The divorce rate has risen rapidly over the last twenty years. Approximately one out of every three marriages ends in divorce, and the numbers are rising. Nowadays many people believe that unhappy couples should not stay married for the sake of the children, they do not want to sacrifice individual happiness for the sake of the children. As a rule these women have good jobs and feel their significance in the society. They strive for the sole custody of the child or children through the court and very often they win. However, the child who was raised by the only parent can have inferiority complex. Communication with the only parent, let it be a mother or a father, affects the child who needs attention of both parents. This is the main reason why more and more often the court shares the custody over the children between both parents. It gives them right to spend the same amount of time with the child or children. A parent can be deprived of the right to communicate with the child in view of some circumstances. The government usually helps single parents with social benefits.

2.4.5. Financial side of marriage.

We have now to trace financial side of marriage. When two people are engaged, they tend to focus on the joyful and romantic side of marriage: falling in love, the wedding and the honeymoon. As a result, many couples don’t take the time to focus on the not so pleasant aspect of being newly married: money and finances. From an economic perspective, marriage creates opportunities, as well as challenges, for a couple. One of the most important commitments you can make to ensure a successful marriage is to work together to establish sound financial habits, starting from the first day. Couples often begin married life with different approaches to money. One partner pays bills like clockwork, the other runs late. One is carefree with money, the other follows a budget to the penny. One spouse saves for the future, the other spends for today. And this is all very typical but workable. One of the biggest adjustments in marriage is figuring out financial cooperation between two people. Being transparent with open communication will help with discussions like whether you want to hold separate bank accounts and investments or combine them.

Marriage agreements.

It is at this point that we can look more specifically at marriage agreements. Marriages don’t always last these days. About one in every two marriages will end in a divorce. Although you love the person you are marrying and probably expect the marriage to be permanent, it’s sometimes prudent to make plans how things will unfold in the event your marriage comes to an end.

A marriage agreement is a legal contract, just like any other type of contract such as the contract you might have with a landlord or a business partner. It’s a written document that summarizes each person’s obligations to the other. It sets out a series of promises that you each make to the other.Marriage agreement often deal with financial issues.Typically, a marriage agreement talks about who will be responsible for managing and owning assets and debts during the marriage, and about how those financial issues will be handled if the marriage breaks up. Marriage agreements sometimes also point whether spousal support will be paid.

Marriage agreements sometimes also talk about how children brought into the marriage will be cared for after separation. They usually don’t talk about how children born during the marriage will be handled, and they usually don’t talk about child support.

Marriage agreements seem to be used more often in second marriages than in first, especially when there are children from a previous marriage, probably because a spouse who has gone through an unpleasant breakup would reasonably want to avoid going through that unpleasantness again.

2.4.6. Problems of couple living with parents

We must now briefly look at common characteristics of problems of couples living with parents. Living with parents is difficult even when we are teenagers, imagine what the scenario would be after becoming fully grown adults and being married too! Problems of Living with Parents after Marriage:

Lack of Privacy:  No one has huge mansions in the country side these days. Mostly it is cramped up apartments with two or sometimes only one bedroom. A couple needs a lot of space after marriage.

Lack of intimacy: Intimate moments for a couple does not belong only to the bedroom. Private communications are more important for a married couple.

Lack of space: A couple is not free to go out and come in at any point of time when they are living with parents.

Your home is not just yours: You cannot invite friends over for a drink or party with loud music late into the night if your parents are around.

Parents too seek attention: If you just keep going out with your spouse after marriage it can anger your parents without your knowledge. Parents are often possessive about their children (especially single child so common these days). They feel neglected after the coming in of the spouse.

2.5. Adoption

Adoption is a legal process by which a child becomes part of a family. Modern systems of adoption tend to be governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations.

Parenting and development of adoptees has been subjected to many studies. The biological relationship between a parent and a child is important, and the separation of the two has led to concerns of adoption. Adoptive parents enrich their children’s lives to compensate the lack of biological ties.

Researchers often assume that the adoptee population faces heightened risk in terms of psychological development and social relationships. Adoptees seem to develop differently than the general population while facing greater risks during adolescence. Many adopted persons experience difficulty in establishing a sense of identity. By the time children are of school age they are beginning to ask questions about who they are, who they belong to and where they come from. For adopted children this is a little more complicated than for their non-adopted peers. The formation of identity is a complicated process and there are many factors that affect its outcome.

A 2004 report from the Pew Committee of Foster Care has shown that the number of children waiting for foster care doubled since the 1980s and now remains steady at about a half-million a year.

Attitudes and laws regarding adoption vary greatly. Whereas all cultures make arrangements whereby children whose own parents are unavailable to rear them can be brought up by others, not all cultures have the concept of adoption, that is treating unrelated children as equivalent to biological children of the adoptive parents. Under Islamic Law, for example, adopted children must keep their original surname to be identified with blood relations, and, traditionally, observe hijab (the covering of women in the presence of non-family) in their adoptive households. In Egypt, these cultural distinctions have led to making adoption illegal.

Still adoption is a controversial problem nowadays. It is true that the discussions over this problem have been widely held in recent years.

2.6. Is it topical for young people to get married nowadays?

So, the question of family importance has become acute. It is worth analyzing precisely the youth attitude to family matters.

Nowadays young people are not in a hurry to get married because they understand that marriage imposes certain obligations and responsibilities. They prefer to enjoy their life, to live to the full making career and having fun with friends. While getting more mature people feel that they are ready to create own families. As a rule, this decision is made after achieving certain financial stability and living standards. Thus, nowadays people start families later and their age is not the same among men and women. On the average, the marriage age for men is around 30 and for women around 27. This data may vary according to many factors. Marriages are normally not “arranged” in Europe and the U. S.

Even in an age when about half of marriages end in divorce, young people are still hopeful about their own marriages lasting.

According to a recent survey, the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults found that 86 percent of people—single and married—aged 18 to 29 expected their marriages to last a lifetime. Young people have a very romantic view of marriage. But romantic ideal that is very difficult to sustain for a lifetime. It’s especially difficult when couples then are, in a few years, raising young children, and there’s so many stresses that go along with that and they don’t get time to spend together anymore so much. Young people expecting marriage to be a continuous source of romantic feelings, that sometimes they say to themselves, “Well, I guess I don’t love my husband/wife anymore. I’m going to get divorced.” It’d be smarter to view that as a realistic adjustment to the new phase of life, of raising children.


3.1Why is family important?

We must conclude that there are many moments in life when you wish you do not have any responsibilities at all. At such phases, you wonder why family is important. To start with, family is important because it provides you with the most important things in life.

It is only family which loves you, unconditionally. There are some aspects to say why family is important in our lives. Safety Needs: The feeling of fear is present in every human, all of us need to feel secure, security is important for the smooth running of our life. A family provides that security. The number or the strength of family members does not matter; a nuclear family or even a joint family gives you a feeling of being safe. This is because you know that your family will stand by you, no matter what. You don’t have to fight on your own against anything alone, this feeling helps in the progress of human being as he does not need to be worried about his safety. Safety also refers to the safety of morals, property, and employment.Psychological Needs: Just as the basic needs, a human also has many psychological needs. The fulfillment of those needs is necessary for the mental and physical being. So what are those needs? Well, everybody needs affection, appreciation, a sense of belonging, love, etc. A family relationship provides you with all these things, without you demanding for it. It does not only give you love, but also boosts your confidence from time to time. It teaches you the morals and principles of the society, in a way; it teaches you how to survive in the outside world.Other Reasons: Being a social animal, that we are, we need company. Though we like to spend time alone, we cannot live happily alone, forever. Family provides us with reasons to laugh, cry and think about. A family provides one with reasons to live life. Family members are the only people who feel you genuinely; they are the only people who really care for you. The best part of a family is that they keep on giving you everything, without expecting anything in return. Your friends or even your beloved will expect you to care, love for him, but family won’t expect anything. No doubt they will feel bad, they might even complaint about your cold-blooded nature, but they won’t stop loving and caring for you!Always remember that the goodness in you is due to your family. It is this unit of the society that you can turn to, even if you have done something grave, something wrong. You are a part of it! Be happy because you are lucky enough to have a family!

List of references.

Е.А. Занина, «Английский язык. Эссе: темы и аргументы».

И. Кошманова, «90 устных тем на английском языке

А.П. Миньяр-Белоручева, «Англо-русские обороты научной речи. Практикум. Для студентов, диссертантов и деловых людей».

В.М. Павлоцкий, Н.А. Храмова, «30 Topics for free conversation».

А.В. Шитова, Л.Ф. Шитова, «Практика английского языка. Совершенствование навыков языкового общения. Fun stuff».

Интернет ресурсы:





10. http://www.marriagebuilders.com/