Coontz lists other arrangements, such as those in Africa and Indonesia where husbands and wives live in separate houses, and in other societies where married couples do not even eat together. Parents can minimize the damage to children by being aware of these factors and working on them.
All classes of parents tried to find gain for themselves by arranging marriages that consolidated the right set of in-laws. Pundits worried that via rap music, acceptance of such behaviors was creeping up the social ladder, undermining the efforts of ordinary Americans to imbue their children with a commitment to deferred gratification, hard work, and marriage.
Recently, however, society has been trying to transfer more of the costs of raising children back to parents, by reducing support for public schools and cutting funds for housing and job training. Whole Truth Behind Dream '50s Newsday, by Vickie Erv Oh, we families had a jolly time in the '50s, living Coontz summary breathing, family values, whatever those are.
All classes of parents tried to find gain for themselves by arranging marriages that consolidated the right set of in-laws. The two books under review here do not ignore race, but their primary focus is the collapse of the family system of the moderately educated, white working class.
Restore the cult of virginity and the double standard, ban birth control, restrict divorce, kick women out of decent jobs, force unwed pregnant women to put their babies up for adoption on paid of social death, make out-of-wedlock children legal nonpersons.
Some anthropologists have reasoned that marriage has historically involved a set of legal rules governing goods, social status, and titles, especially the issue of legitimate heirs.
Young people suffer from "rolelessness" as a result of the historical lengthening of adolescence, with puberty coming earlier and full adulthood coming later.
Yet they also require parents to spend ever more time and money on enrichment and educational activities for their children. This is a race in which poor parents, even married ones, inevitably fall behind, with single parents especially disadvantaged.
In fact, historian Steven Ruggles shows that the gender pay gap for full-time workers increased over the period, peaking in In preindustrial families women and men were economic partners, although men had more legal and religious authority.
Growing up is especially difficult for poor children. In a reversal of the past, people with less than a high school degree now have the lowest rates of marriage, while highly educated people have the highest. The sexual freedom of teenage girls is only part of the story, since they are often exploited by older boys.
Divorce rates rose among all groups of Americans. Both authors describe the resultant growth of inequality in vivid detail. Marriages in pioneer days lasted a shorter time than they do now.
Moreover, sexual fidelity was not always held in high regard.
In other words, the problem is not simply the collapse of traditional values. Women usually benefit psychologically from playing multiple roles.
Back in the s and s, even when their jobs were physically exhausting and money was tight, most working people had reason to be optimistic when they looked at where they had come from and where they seemed to be headed.
But the most dramatic familial changes occurred among those who were left behind, victims of the falling real wages, increasing job insecurity, and declining investment in community resources that began in the early s.
What we need is not a return of mothers to the home, but changes in the workplace and in the division of labor within the home. In the nineteenth century, the age of sexual consent in some states was nine or ten, and alcoholism and drug abuse were more rampant than today In that era, a young man with a high school education or less could start out in almost any job and see his earnings improve substantially over time, outstripping those of his father and grandfather.
The historical evidence reveals that families have always been in flux and often in crisis, and that families have been most successful wherever they have built meaningful networks beyond their own boundaries. When they do marry and most educated women dothey are then able to leave a bad marriage or cope economically if their husbands leave them.
Similarly, the women most likely to see motherhood as the main route to achieving meaning Coontz summary their lives are the ones least likely to hold feminist aspirations. Modern life is now organized to make such expensive things as cars and college educations necessities rather than luxuries.
Coontz studies the history of American families, marriage, and changes in gender roles. Putnam provides an especially helpful summary of evidence showing that social initiatives and investments to improve child outcomes do work.The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families.
Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary /5. Intensity is a novel by the best-selling author Dean Koontz, released in This book was to be a sequel to Coontz's more strictly scholarly work, "The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families, " At some point along the way, though, Coontz obviously felt the need to do more than establish her reputation in academia.
Marriage, a History is not only a major piece of scholarship but also a work that provides a crucial understanding of the central institution in modern culture. Coontz begins by demonstrating that the idea of marrying for love is a construct peculiar to the last two centuries. Stephanie Coontz is an author, historian, and faculty member at Evergreen State College.
She teaches history and family studies and is Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families, which she chaired from Coontz has authored and co-edited several books about the history of the family and marriage.
She is the author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms With America's Changing Families, and The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families.Download