3/29/04

A Stone-Set Family System

By: Whitney

'Family, basic social group united through bonds of kinship or marriage, present in all societies.' That is the definition of a family, if you ask MSN Encarta. How do you create the perfect one of these? How do you judge a perfect family to decide if it is perfect? I have set out to find suitable answers to these questions. I researched several different types of families including nuclear, extended, polygamy, same-sex, single parent, and a childless family in an effort to find the best on them. Trying to find the best one is very important because a family is a person's structure. They are what hold that person together emotionally. Ideally, the family provides its members with protection, companionship, security, and socialization. And in a way, they are a person's physical and emotional structural anchor.

As of now, when I am finished with all of my research, I am favoring the nuclear structure. Actually, I favor the childless family until the time when that specific family is ready to have children, and advance to the next stage, which is a nuclear family. This is very important, because if a family isn't ready to have kids, but they conceive anyway, the child is destined to have lesser of a life. In quoting an article from ;

"We all pay for unhealthy families. If we ignore the suffering, we suffer the consequences, including:

Alienation and fear, as our neighborhoods turn into places where we no longer feel safe

violence and crime

lost productivity

the costs of medical care for victims, policing, courts and prisons

The costs of a social support system to deal with the fallout from dysfunctional family relationships."

This is the exact opposite of what a Utopia should be for a child. If a couple waits to have kids until they are at the point in their lives where they are emotionally and financially stable by themselves and as a couple, the child will live a much different life. They will be able to have whatever they need, which will grow in amount as they grow older and need more. Since their parents are a stable couple, the child will have a loving and caring environment to grow up in.

Another one of the options that was an option that seems to be common these days. This is single parenting. A single parent family is pretty self explanatory. It is a family with a kid and either one of their parents taking care of them, whether it is a mother or a father. Nowadays, it is usually the mother who is the single parent, and usually, not always, has to work multiple jobs. I believe that it isn't the fact that it is a mother heading the family that makes the income less, but it is the fact that it is harder for women to find a job that will help them support them and a child. Dorothy Height said that it is not a woman leading the family that causes problems, but it is the fact that a woman works for "woman's wages" that causes problems and causes the family to possibly go into poverty. But it isn't just a woman heading the family that causes a family to go into poverty, it can happen to any family. And a single parent family is the household system that seems to attract poverty situations the most.

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As you can see here in the graph above, single parent families had the largest percentile of children in poverty. On the other hand, in a single parent family, the parent and the child are often closer emotionally and often come together to solve problems. But nevertheless, I still think that the poverty rate of single parent families outweighs this fact and that is why I ruled single families out of the running for being the best household structure.

Next, I researched the extended family, which is when there are multiple generations in the home. This can happen when the grandparents from a particular side of the family move in with the parents and child, which would make there be multiple generations. It can also happen when there are aunts/uncles, nephews/nieces, or cousins, as long a there are two or more adults from different generations, sharing the household. I have found that this family is very stable, and stability is something that I have looked for in choosing the best type of family type. Just like the nuclear family, there are many good things to this structure, and not many bad things. The child gets the benefit of having the wisdom of different generations at his/her disposal. Also, there are the financial benefits of having more people to earn money in the residence. But, since there are more family members, there are more people, and people are bound to clash at certain points. In an extended family, there are more chances of this happening, seeing as there are more people. This family type is great nonetheless, but seeing only one can be chosen, this one was ruled out.

Polygamy. It is 'the having of a plurality of wives or husbands at the same time; usually, the marriage of a man to more than one woman, or the practice of having several wives, at the same time.'. Polygamy is the subject of many heated debates. Some say that if you are in love with more than one person, then why not be able to marry more than one person? Others think it to be unethical that a person marry many times, and that it insults the traditions and the sacredness of marriage. While doing my research, I have found people who argue both sides of the topic. I found a woman named Elizabeth Joseph on , who is one of eight wives. She says that polygamy is the "Ultimate Feminist Lifestyle," and thinks it is an "Empowering lifestyle for women." I see her side of the story. In a plural marriage, more can get done. Everybody has their own job, whether it is to go to work and earn money, or stay at home with the kids. But I also found that it can be confusing to the kids. How do you explain to your child who their mommy is? Also, there are a lot of derogatory comments made about polygamy. And lots of people bad mouth it. For this reason, I didn't choose polygamy for the best family type.

Lastly, I studied the same-sex marriage, which is the topic of many arguments these days. Whether or not a male and a male, or a female and a female should be allowed to marry has yet to be successfully voted on. Personally, I think that you should be able to marry whoever you want no matter the gender. So if a same-sex couple marries and has a child (however they decide to make this happen), they could still be called a nuclear family, or an extended family, etc, depending on their situation. So what type of family they are isn't the debate, it is whether or not they should be allowed to even be allowed to unite in holy matrimony that can be debated. If a same-sex couple has a child, it is inevitable that they will be the pit of many jokes, and at the end of many cold stares. The family would have that much more to endure, and that many more hurdles to cross. It was this reason that chose same sex for my Utopia. Not because it was the best, but because it is taking the next step to making everyone understand this different type of family, and because I want to make it an option for those who choose to live that kind of life. So I blended same sex into nuclear, where there are to parents, but the two parents are the same gender.

In conclusion, I have chosen nuclear family for the best household system because I think it is better for the child. I have made it so that same-sex nuclear families are an option. Also, I found that it is better if a couple goes through a childless coupling stage before becoming a nuclear family. This way everything is more stable in the household. The criteria that judged these household systems on included the stability of the family, the efficiency, the success rate, the financial income, and the emotional stress it may put on the family members. The statistics showed that the nuclear family was helpful in all these areas.

insert graph here (I didn't put it in...)

In this graph above from http:waysandmeans.house.gov/, I gathered that it helps a child's success rate in school if their parents are together. In a nuclear family, the child's parents are together, unlike with a single parent family.

So as you can see, a nuclear family does fit the criteria that I judged with when finding the best household system. While all of the ones that I researched are sure to have their own success stories, I am sure that a nuclear family is the best for both the child and the parents. Stability, the efficiency, the success rate, the financial income, and the emotional stress are all things that a nuclear family has a good reputation with. I hope that in my utopia that having a nuclear family system will help make it better, not worse.