Are Traditional Families Better Than Contemporary Families?





Are Traditional Families Better Than Contemporary Families?

            Families are the hearts of the societies that are build on them. Family patterns have changed considerably since the nineteenth century under the forces of urbanization and industrialization. Over the years, the family setting has also been influenced to change because of the growing intercession of the state in domestic affairs of the family through legislative actions. As a result, traditional families have been substituted by the contemporary nuclear families. Despite the fact that contemporary and traditional families share similarities in terms of love and care, they have several differences in terms of gender roles and family size.


Traditional and modern families share two major similarities. These similarities are mainly in terms of the constitutional concept. The modern family still follows the same institutional component that the traditional family has hence; both are the basic organism of the society (McCaffrey 83). Institutionally, both family settings have an overall head of the family. The father is considered superior and is the only member who gives orders in the family. Moreover, both families have to complete functions such as socialization of children and procreation. These functions have to take part as an institution where children are born, they receive parental care and they are finally integrated into the society.

             Another similarity is that the mother is the core of affection and warmth in both families. Their role in the society is taking care of their families and meeting their needs. Mothers in both the traditional and modern families have to ensure that their families are well fed, looked after and are in perfect health. The motherly love is present in both families and it is appreciated. In addition, both types of families are a constructive setting of love and care. It is through these institutions that children are taught about morals and are encouraged to pursue their aspirations. They are also encouraged to love and be their brother’s keepers at all instances.


The traditional and contemporary families have three major differences. Family size is the first and most common difference. Traditional families are larger as compared to modern families. They always live with their relatives at the same place and are characterized by many children thus, they are considered as large families (Taylor et. al 238). Whereas in modern families, they adopt the nuclear family setting where there exists a mother, father and their children only. Normally, contemporary families consider having fewer children hence well thought-out as being small families. This type of family does not live with their relatives. They only get to visit them during special occasions such as on New Year.

            Secondly, respect and discipline between the two family types is different. In traditional families, children live with their relatives and grandparents. They are taught about the importance of respecting their elders in the society and they are able to put that into practice in their homes. Traditional families are often strict about these rules because they look after many children. Children from such types of families are often well behaving due to the constant teachings they receive from various family members. Conversely, children in nuclear families lack respect and discipline. These children are often left at home with their nannies while their parents spend almost their entire time at work. They also seldom visit their relatives. Their parents have also given them the liberty to do anything they want. Therefore, they lack role models who can teach them about high opinion and so they end up as disrespectful children.

            Moreover, the children in traditional families are taught to obey their elders. These families are often strict about obedience. Children are taught to follow the rules that they have been taught strictly. Punishments are offered to those children who disobey their elders. On the contrary, children in contemporary families are allowed to do whatever they want. A child may disobey his father in one way or the other and be left unpunished. A common phrase used by the parents in nuclear families in covering up for their children’s mistakes is that they are just being children and they are bound to make mistakes occasionally. Nuclear families seldom punish their children hence correcting those children becomes a hard task.


Traditional Families. Traditional families encourage responsible behaviors within the society. From a younger age, children are taught about the importance of being responsible. Their parents together with their relatives ensure that their children understand what it means to be responsible and how to apply the teachings in the society. In these families, teaching children is considered as a collective responsibility of the extended family hence the children get to learn of how to become responsible people (Sarkisian et al. 104). Therefore, in a society where there are traditional families, the members involved are more responsible.

            Rules and regulations in these families have to be adhered to accordingly. These families emphasize on the importance of following rules to the letter. In the absence of their biological parents, children are taught about obedience by their relatives. This does not only apply to children but also teenagers and grown-up members of the families. In cases where one has gone against the rules set in the family, they come together and advice them. They also use various forms of correction such as punishment to those who have gone against the rules. This helps to  shape the society with people who already know the importance of following rules.

Contemporary families. Acquisition of knowledge is one of the advantages of modern families. These families acquire more knowledge about each other because of the stronger bonds they have. The family members often depend on each other for support when overcoming challenges in life. Children also witness how their parents support one another and the loving relationships they have. The examples they see everyday enables children to learn more about how people should take care of one another. The support they encounter and experience enables them to use the same concept in the society and help other people in need.

            In these families, children get to be independent at a younger age. Most parents in modern families are working and they get home late in the evening or late at night. They rarely spend time with their children like other families. Therefore, their children are forced to adapt to such situations and become more independent. They are left with responsibilities such preparing dinner at younger ages for them to fulfill. With time, they are used to such activities and become independent in decision-making and life in general. Hence, they are able to adapt to the society at earlier stages.

            These families also form the basis of teaching about diversity. A two-parent home is more likely to embrace diversity. Their smaller number enables them to make decisions with ease since the affected members are few. This includes settling in foreign lands, trying out international cuisines or learning new languages. For instance, the father in a family may be transferred to another country for business or work purposes. His whole family is forced to move out with him to his new location. Thus, the family is able to integrate with people from the other societies and embrace diversity.

            Nuclear families are normally characterized by the few children they have. Children in such families often receive the best education. In most cases, they are taken to institutions with higher education standards. This is because parents are motivated to provide the best education for them since they are fewer in number. They are also able to afford the school fees of their children because they usually plan for their education before they are born. Therefore, children in nuclear families are successful because of the education they receive.


Traditional Families. Traditional families frequently follow the family rules to the letter. Children from these families have been taught about what to do, how to do them and what not to do. The children are brought up in a specific way that they are taught to follow the regulations very strictly in their lives. This is a disadvantage to them because it limits their thinking capacities. They are not able to come up with new ideas on specific subjects because they gave been brought up following the teachings strictly. When encountered by challenging situations, they are not able to think critically and come up with solutions. Eventually, they become slow thinkers with limited thinking capacities.

            Children brought up in such family settings lack individualism. They are brought up amongst other children and they are used to doing things as a group or working under someone. They are therefore used to being controlled by others. They also lack quality leadership skills because of the inferiority that builds up within them. The traditional family has strict rules that govern it. Children live in fear because they are afraid of the possible punishments they may receive. These families do not children to make minor mistakes.

Contemporary families. The major disadvantage with modern families is that the children adapt bad habits while growing up. They are left to do anything they wish at any give time (Cutas et. al 93). This is because their parents are rarely at home to offer guidance to their children on how they should behave. Normally, these parents employ nannies to take care of their children while they are away. They are never sure whether nannies they have employed are well behaved or not. The children therefore adapt bad habits from the television, internet and other people around them regardless of whether they are good or bad.

            The absence of parents in these families breaks the bonds between them. The distance created between them weakens their relationships and they eventually drift apart (Hansen 58). In addition, they have poor relations with their extended families. This is because they live far apart and only get to visit them occasionally. Their visits last for shorter periods like 3days before they return to their respective homes. Hence, they do not familiarize with their family members and therefore develop weaker relationships with their extended families.

Contemporary families have adopted the structure of the traditional families but shaped it to fit their desires. These two types of families have similarities and differences between them. Each type has its own pros and cons. In spite of traditional families being the basis of modern families, contemporary families have more advantages compared to traditional families. Probably, that is the main reason why families in the twenty-first century have opted to adopt the nuclear family type.

Works Cited

Cutas, Daniela, and Sarah Chan. Families: Beyond the Nuclear Ideal. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. Print.

Hansen, Karen V. Not-so-nuclear Families: Class, Gender, and Networks of Care. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2005. Internet resource.

McCaffrey, Paul. Families: Traditional and New Structures. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson, 2013. Print.

Sarkisian, Natalia, and Naomi Gerstel. Nuclear Family Values, Extended Family Lives: The Power of Race, Class, and Gender. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Taylor, Steve, and Sue Howes. Families & Households. New York, N.Y: Distributed by Insight Media, 2005.

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