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The Best Family System

Imagine the confusion a young boy would go through during the divorce of his parents and being raised solely by his mother with no emotional support or help from his father. Or imagine the pain a young boy at the age of 6 would go through losing his father to cancer. In Frances K. Goldschneider and Linda J. Waite?s ?Alternative Family Future?, they discussed many types of family systems and benefits and drawbacks of each system. One family system they discussed and discouraged was the ?mother-only? family system. I agree with their statements and arguments because of my personal experience with friends who have grown up in the ?mother-only? family system. I also agree with the family system they believe to be the best, the ?new family? system because it allows children to be more independent and closer to each parent. This system also makes a more egalitarian relationship between both parents.

Both of my friends growing up had no real father figure to guide them through the hardships of life. They didn?t have a father to teach them the responsibilities to be a father and a man. Yes, their mothers were there for them in times of need, but sometimes boys and especially young men need a father?s perspective and experience. As they grew up, both of my friends had many role models, but they weren?t enough. Goldschneider and Waite clearly stated ?Role models do not provide boys these insights, since they serve only to reinforce stereotypes; only having a close normal man has this effect? (354). As a result of not having a father, it is obvious to see the emotional effects they have suffered. Both have psychological problems dealing with failing and recovering. Even Goldschneider and Waite explained that only a ?real man? can show boys how to recover from failing (354). Also both of these young men were effected financially as a result of not having a father. Because their mothers had to raise them, they [the mothers] had little time to support their families economically. Consequently now both young have to take out gigantic loans to afford a higher education. Goldschneider and Waite stated that not all women can take on the parental and economic roles (355). All these factors contributed to why ?mother-only? families are not the best family system.

Truly the ?new family? system is the most effective family system. My family is the total opposite of the old family. My mother and father both work and my mother brings in a lot of our income, while my father does a lot of the house work and cooking. As one of two children growing up in the ?new family? system, I had to take on a major role in the housework. I was responsible for many chores and lawn work. I am a much more independent because of my responsibilities. This system has made it much easier for my family to communicate to one another. Also my parents have a much more egalitarian roles in the our family. Goldshneieder and Waite have suggested ? . . . such families have the potential to solve critical problems facings families today? (357). During this past summer my family and I had to deal with critical problems facing our futures. And because we were so close to one another, it made it much easier so to solve our families? problems. Another important feature of the ?New Family? system is that men take on a greater role in family matters and women take a greater role in economic situations. Goldschneider and Waite believe ? . . . marriages that are more egalitarian in sharing domestic labor appear to have positive consequences for both spouses outside the workplace? (357-8). As I mentioned before my mother and father take on roles in both the economic situations and domestic situations. This has created much more balance in our family. Also Goldschneider and Waite argue that men who help with housework report lower levels of depression (358). Since the father is helping out with the domestic problem, he will be able to spend more time with his children and family. It seems as though children would benefit in this system as well as adults. The children will be able to learn more from both parents and the family will be closer and more stable as a result. I have had to be much more responsible for and involved in the domestic work because both of my parents work.

Also there are some drawbacks to having both parents share the domestic and economic roles of a family. Goldschneider and Waite said that ?One study found that time spent in domestic activities reduced the wages of both men and women, and affected the sexes about equally? (357). Goldschneider and Waite also went on to point out that the men?s competitors will also be in the same situation, therefore this situation will not be as much of a factor as it would have been decades ago. (357) Obviously the positive effects out way the negatives.

Children who grow up in the ?New Family? system will have a much more stable and closer family. This system will make them more successful and responsible adults. They will be able to learn from their father as well as their mother, where-as in a ?mother-only? family a son won?t have a ?real man? to teach them insights that he can?t get from a role model. Both parents will share a more egalitarian role and relationship in the ?new family? system, where as in the ?old family? system they would have specific roles in economic and domestic situations.

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