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Chapter 5

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University of Guelph
Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020

COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  5   1     Enlarging  the  Family  Circle   The  Social  Script   • Myth  of  motherhood  –  motherhood  is  an  instinct  that  will  fulfill  a  woman   • Women  who  do  not  have  children  are  often  considered  antisocial  or   psychologically  defective     • Myth  that  you  need  a  boy  and  girl  to  have  a  well-­‐rounded  family     • Structural-­‐functional  concept  –  without  all  four  the  family  is  left  incomplete     • Women  in  their  30s  and  40s  seek  to  have  a  child  while  they  still  can  either  with  a   partner  or  artificially     Childfree  Through  Choice   • 7-­‐8%  of  Canadians  remain  childless   • By  age  40,  more  than  10%  intend  to  remain  childless   • Fear  that  their  relationship  will  be  damaged   • Women  fear  giving  up  the  equality  in  their  relationship   • Some  don’t  want  to  sacrifice  their  career   • Want  to  keep  their  options  open  to  new  experiences   • Want  to  learn  about  the  world   • Don’t  have  a  partner  that  they  want  to  have  children  with   • Face  disadvantages:  priority  given  to  those  with  children  in  the  workplace     The  Shrinking  Family     • People  used  to  need  to  have  a  large  family  because  some  would  die  and  they   needed  their  support   • Men’s  power  over  women’s  sexuality  and  the  resulting  children  were  the  price   women  paid  for  economic  security   • The  birth  rate  for  women  born  in  the  20  century  showed  a  drop  from  almost  4   children  to  2.5  for  those  born  in  1943  and  completing  child-­‐bearing  in  the  1980’s     • More  women  in  their  30s  are  having  children  and  more  are  reaching  their  20s   before  having  children   • In  order  to  replace  the  population,  each  woman  must  have  2.1  children  –  Canada   has  been  below  this  level  since  1977   • The  number  of  children  a  woman  is  expected  to  have  has  been  stable  since  1993   –  1.54  children   • The  sharpest  decline  is  women  aged  20-­‐24,  followed  by  those  later  in  their  20s   • By  2005  the  teenage  pregnancy  rate  dropped  to  13.3  per  1000,  less  than  any   other  under  40  group   • The  majority  of  children  “born  out  of  wedlock”  have  both  parents  present   • Quebec  –  in  2001-­‐2003,  over  half  of  children  were  born  to  unmarried  parents       Why  is  the  Family  Shrinking?     Medical  Advances   • Infant  mortality  rate  has  declined  steadily  since  1960   • It  is  no  longer  necessary  to  have  a  number  of  children  to  ensure  survival   • Contraception  is  more  convenient  and  effective     Changes  in  Law   • Birth  control  was  thought  as  obscene  and  would  corrupt  morals   • Family-­‐planning  clinics  opened  illegally   • Women  relied  on  folk  recipes  and  illegal  abortion   • The  birth  rate  showed  its  sharpest  drop  after  the  legalization  of  birth  control   • Availability  of  abortion  when  the  woman’s  life  or  health  (mental  health  included)   was  at  risk,  was  legalized  in  1969   • 1988  –  considered  the  procedure  required  to  obtain  an  abortion   unconstitutional     • Canadian  married  couples  where  the  wife  is  over  35  –  2/3  are  protected  through   sterilization   Economic  Trends   • Children  were  required  for  labour  on  the  family  farm   • Provided  cheap  labour  and  contributed  to  the  family  income   • Cheap  immigrant  labour,  better  technology,  and  school-­‐attendance  laws  made  it   difficult  for  them  to  participate  in  manufacturing   • Decline  during  the  Depression   • 1926  –  man  left  his  estate  to  the  woman  with  the  most  children  in  Toronto   • After  WWII  –  baby  boom     • 1970s  and  80s  –  decline  as  more  women  worked   • Many  individuals  put  off  having  children  now  that  education  is  more  important   to  employment     • Children  are  expensive  –  families  spend  10-­‐15%  of  their  income  on  their  first   child   Psychosocial  Reasons   • Large  families  puts  stress  on  the  husband-­‐wife  relationship   • Having  children  is  more  acceptable  –  yet  there  is  pressure  for  grandchildren  and   ticking  biological  clock   • Children  born  close  together  may  result  in  one  at  a  disadvantage     • Providing  children  with  the  same  opportunities  as  those  in  small  families  is   difficult     Unwanted  Children   • An  expectant  mother  has  3  options:   COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  5   3     o Not  having  the  baby   o Giving  the  baby  up  for  adoption   o Raising  the  baby  herself   • Until  the  70s  –  those  who  were  unmarried  and  pregnant  were  labeled   promiscuous     • Abortion  was  illegal  and  they  were  stigmatized   • Adoption  was  seen  as  a  rescue  for  both  mother  and  child     Not  Having  the  Baby   • Infanticide    -­‐  mothers  killing  their  babies  after  birth   • Only  a  mother  can  commit  infanticide,  seen  as  the  result  of  a  mental  disturbance     • An  abortion  is  the  medical  termination  of  a  pregnancy     • Mid-­‐1990s  –  there  was  one  abortion  for  every  three  or  four  live  births   • Yukon  –  more  than  2  abortions  for  every  5  births,  the  highest  in  Canada   • The  time  gap  between  the  last  date  an  abortion  can  be  performed  safely  and  the   date  at  which  a  fetus  could  survive  is  becoming  shorter   • Chromosomal  disorders  are  being  diagnosed  through  amniocentesis   Giving  the  Child  to  Someone  Else   • In  the  19  century  –  children  in  orphanages  were  placed  in  foster  homes  where   the  children  were  expected  to  help  out   • Usually  families  were  not  well  screened  and  unfortunate  placements  were  made     • Large  group  sent  from  England  to  Canada  –  praised  for  providing  opportunities   but  they  were  exploited   • New  France  in  1700s  –  many  women  gave  their  babies  to  Aboriginal  people  to   raise   • Homes  for  abandoned  children  had  mortality  rates  of  85-­‐90%   • Most  states  in  the  U.S.  have  “safe  haven”  laws,  naming  places  where  babies  can   be  abandoned,  with  the  hope  they  will  live   • “Baby  farmers”  –  took  unwanted  children  for  a  fee  and  would  try  to  place  them   up  for  adoption   • Nova  Scotia  –  “butter  box  babies”,  sold  some  babies  and  let  others  die   • Foster  parents  were  compensated  for  children  who  were  hard  to  place  –  the   young,  sickly,  those  with  mental  and  physical  challenges   • Adoption  –  legal  rights  and  responsibilities  are  transferred  from  the  birth   parents  to  the  adoptive  parents   • Single  mothers  –  experience  some  pressure  from  their  peers  to  raise  the  child   • Those  who  give  a  child  up  for  adoption  are  less  likely  to  be  from  single-­‐parent   homes,  have  professional  parents,  see  adoption  as  giving  their  baby  a  better  life   • Various  degrees  of  openness  in  adoption   • Some  children  are  raised  by  extended  family  members  –  more  common  in  ethnic   families     Raising  the  Child  Oneself   • Any  child  born  within  a  marriage  is  assumed  to  be  wanted  although  this  is  not   always  true   • Married  women  do  have  abortions  and  place  children  up  for  adoption     • Unplanned  or  unwanted  children  often  become  loved   • Many  unmarried  women  choose  to  have  a  child  with  no  desire  to  marry   • Many  lesbians  have  children  and  don’t  consider  this  to  not  be  an  option   • The  real  decision  is  how  to  become  pregnant  since  it  is  not  as  easy  as   heterosexual  women   • Until  1970,  fathers  had  virtually  no  rights   • 2006  –  nearly  one-­‐fifth  of  lone-­‐parent  families  were  headed  by  men     • Unmarried  fathers  receive  little  support   • Gay  men  have  fewer  options  than  women   • Some  adopt,  father  a  lesbian’s  child  and  become  actively  involved,  use  a   surrogate  mother     • The  unwanted  child  is  at  risk  for  physical  or  emotional  abuse   “Desperately  Seeking  Baby”   • Infertile  couples  may  have  a  sense  of  being  defective   • Sex  may  lose  spontaneity  as  the  couple  plans  intercourse  around  when  the   woman  is  most  likely  to  conceive     • If  treatment  is  successful,  the  woman  may  experience  an  anxious  pregnancy   • If  it  is  unsuccessful,  the  couple  mourns  not  being  able  to  have  children     • People  around  them  may  not  be  supportive  because  they  don’t  understand  the   severity  of  the  loss   • Women  often  feel  the  lack  of  children  more  than  men   • Men  see  their  infertility  as  an  assault  to  their  manhood   • Fertile  partners  may  feel  that  if  they  married  someone  else  they  would  have   children   • They  have  many  more  options  now  than  they  used  to     Foster  Care   • Fostering  provided  a  long-­‐term  home  for  a  child     • The  foster  family  would  receive  support  payments     • With  advances  in  medical  science  and  benefits  for  single  parents,  children  are   less  likely  to  enter  foster  care  because  of  their  parent’s  deaths  or  poverty   • They  are  more  likely  to  be  in  foster  care  for  behavioural  problems  or  because   they  are  victims  of  neglect  or  abuse   • Foster  parents  are  required  to  have  special  therapeutic  and  child-­‐management   skills     • Contact  between  the  children  and  their  birth  parents  is  encouraged  so  that  the   move  home  will  be  smoother   • If  they  want  the  child  to  stay,  foster  parents  may  have  to  adopt  the  child   themselves   COUPLE  &  FAMILY  RELATIONSHIPS:  CHAPTER  5   5     Adoption   • Early  20  century  North  America  –  adoption  was  regarded  with  suspicion   • Adopting  children  that  were  older  was  seen  as  safer  because  you  could  better   judge  their  character   • 1873  New  Brunswick  –  first  Canadian  province  to  pass  adoption  legislation   • 1896  –  Nova  Scotia   • Before  this  time,  parents  could  sign  an  indenture  of  adoption  but  this  was  not   binding  and  the  child  could  be  returned  to  their  biological  parents  if  they  proved   unsatisfactory  to  the  adoptive  parents   • 1930’s  adoption  became  more  respectable   • Matched  children  to  parents  on  race,  religion,  hair,  and  eye  colour   • 1980  –  most  provinces  considered  adoptive  children  became  the  children  of   their  adoptive  parents   • Original  birth  records  and  court  orders  were  sealed  to  protect  confidentiality     • Agencies  tried  to  place  “guaranteed  babies”  with  “ideal”  adopting  couples   • If  there  was  a  defect  the  child  could  be  returned     • Parents  came  to  love  their  adoptive  child  before  discovering  health  problems   • Agencies  began  placing  children  with  minor  correctable  physical  problems,  then   those  with  severe  difficulties     • 1995  –  Ontario  became  the  first  province  to  allow  adoption  by  same-­‐sex  couples   • Adoption  was  advocated  as  a  way  of  reducing  overpopulation     • 1960  –  reduced  supply  of  white  babies  to  adopt     • Temptation  to  buy  a  baby  illegally  in  a  black-­‐market  adoption     • 1950s  and  60s  –  intercountry  adoptions  gained  popularity     • Foreign  adoptions  increased     • The  largest  number  in  2008  came  from  China,  about  2/3  were  girls  and  the   majority  were  placed  in  Ontario  and  Quebec   • The  adoptive  parents  are  responsible  for  all  costs  such  as  travel,  medical   expenses,  and  agency  fees   • The  belief  that  the  biological  tie  between  mother
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