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Bonnie Fox (13)
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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC214H1
Professor
Bonnie Fox
Semester
Fall

Description
1. Describe the different types of families common in Canada today, focusing on their key characteristics. Explain why they are different from conventional nuclear families.  The different types of families that are common in Canada are the most traditional nuclear families, lone parent families, cohabiting families and dual-earner couple families. The traditional conventional nuclear family is what we all expect all families should be and is known to be the best composition. Nuclear families are generally defined to be the traditional family with 2 parents and their biological children. With conventional ideas such as the male role being the breadwinner and the female being the caregiver.  Lone parent families are families with children that are only living with one parent. Most single parent families are due to divorce. This type of family is different from conventional nuclear families, as women now have to take on double roles for child caring as well as earning a living.  Cohabiting families are families consisting of unmarried couples that live together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage. This however, is not an alternative to marriage. It is different from nuclear families because couples are not married. Couples may want to cohabit for a variety of reasons, such as lesbian and gay couples, or testing for their compatibility before they commit to a legal union.  Dual-earner families are also different to the conventional nuclear families because both adults participate in the public labor force. Both adults are contributing to the family living. A dual-earner family is defined in which both husband and wife worked. All of these types of families are different from the conventional nuclear family that we most expect from people. 2. Arguably, there are few families today that do not rely on people outside their household for support, especially with childcare. Describe the kinds of support relied on by the diverse types of families discussed in this course (from poor African-American families and transnational families to dual-earner couples and families without stable sources of income).  There are few families today that do not rely on people outside of their household for support, especially when it comes to childcare. We generally define ‘household’ to be the people we live with. This usually comprise of the 2 adults and their biological children as well as with their extended family such as their aunts and grandparents. In poor African- American families, their family composition represents extended families and not nuclear families. In their culture, extended families are considered as important as conjugal families. They see childcare as a collective responsibility around the neighborhood. Thus, in terms of kinship it is socially defined. In Stacks article, she mentioned that network is centered on women. They have the responsibility to build relationships upon networks. In their culture, their major survival strategy is based on reciprocity. The more they give, the more obligations for return. In terms of childcare, women rely on their side of kindred as well as aunts and grandmothers on the father side of kindred family.  In transnational families, the woman usually leaves their children and husband in the homeland, and leaves to another country to earn a living. These women do not have friends or the neighborhood to help child caring, thus they usually just rely on their mothers. The grandmother in the household usually takes on the role of taking care of the child whilst the mother is gone and the father is working in the daytime. In return for the mother’s favor, the woman sends back money every month as to cover their general household expenses back in their hometown. These women suffer great emotional stress due to the separation with the family, but they do not have a choice.  In dual-earner families, both the husband and wife works during the daytime. These families again, usually rely on their extended family including, grandparents or other relatives. Grandparents, usually the grandmother helps take care of the child during the daytime, when parents are not at home. Society doesn’t see childcare as the states responsibility; rather it is the individual’s responsibility to be able to have work and childcare balanced out. Only wealthy families have the ability to hire baby-sitters or nannies or other daycare facilities, yet this doesn’t happen much in low-income families.  Families without stable income also struggle with childcare responsibilities as well as household coping and survival. Income insecurity can be a major problem within a family as it may impose difficulties to meet basic expenses. Problems such as access to housing, childcare and debts will put great stress on these families. In order to survive, these families usually turn to family and friends to deal with these difficulties. Most participants use this strategy, however on the down side, it may put a strain on key relationships in people’s lives. 3. Considering the different types of families common in Canada today, discuss the problems common to each; then suggest what changes would address those problems.  Nuclear families may be the best family composition for raising kids, comprising of only the 2 parents and their biological children. However, the major problem is with defining what is ‘family’. Most people consider some of their closest friends as their family, or even their pet, or nannies. Family is more than the people we live with and our nuclear family. The definition of family needs to be broad enough so that it can capture a variety and the diversity of different families.  Divorce may be the major reas
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