The Nuclear Family Has Failed – by Yoram Hazony – Re: How the Formerly Extended, “Traditional” Family Was Better for Individuals and Societies
(Link): The Nuclear Family Has Failed – by Yoram Hazony
May 13, 2022
When people talk about the structure of the family, they often find themselves arguing for or against the “nuclear family”, which consists, on most tellings, of a father and mother, with perhaps two or three children in their care for the first 18 years of their lives.
These children are then supposed to leave the house, move somewhere far away, and make nuclear families of their own.
Contemporary conservatives are especially inclined to embrace this image of the family, although it is not entirely clear why.
The “nuclear family” is not the same as the traditional Christian or Jewish family that existed before the two World Wars. On the contrary, the nuclear family is closer to being an invention of industrialisation and the 20th century.
And there are good reasons to think that this form of family is, in fact, a failed experiment, one that has done immeasurable harm to almost everyone: to women and men, children and grandparents.
The time has come for us to consider retiring the ideal of the nuclear family, and replacing it with something that looks more like the family of Christian and Jewish tradition.
What is the traditional family?
I’d like to propose five principles by which the traditions descended from the Bible channelled the natural tendencies of men and women to establish what I’m calling the traditional family:
[Please note I will not be pasting in every point the author outlines in his essay; what follows is a partial list]
1. The lifelong bond of a man and a woman.
… 4. The traditional family consists of multiple generations in daily contact.
The traditional family often consisted of three generations (or even four) in daily contact with one another. The bond between parents and children was not yet imagined as something that undergoes a rupture when a child turns 18 or 21, and so the relationship of parents to children continued throughout life. …
5. The traditional family is part of a broader congregation.
The traditional family was part of a broader loyalty group — the clan, which in later versions became the community or congregation — with which it was concerned on a daily basis.
… As anyone who has lived among such families can immediately see, the nuclear family is a weakened and much diminished version of the traditional family, one that is lacking most of the resources needed effectively to pursue the purposes of the traditional family.
When this conception of the family became normative in America and elsewhere after the Second World War, it gave birth to a world of detached suburban homes connected to distant places of employment and schools by trains, automobiles, and buses. In other words, the physical design of large portions of the country reflected a newly rationalised conception of what a family is.
In this new reality, there were no longer any business enterprises in the home for the family to pursue together. Instead, fathers would “go to work”, seceding from their families during their productive hours each day.
Children were required to “go to school”, seceding from the family during their own productive hours.
Young adults would then “go away to college”, cutting themselves off from family influence during the critical years in which they were supposed to reach maturity.
Similarly, grandparents were excised from this vision of the home, being “retired” to “retirement communities” or “nursing homes”.
Under this new division of labour, mothers were assigned the task of remaining by themselves in the house each day, attempting to “make a home” using the minimalist ingredients that the structure of the nuclear family had left them.
Much of this involved increasingly desperate efforts to keep adolescents somehow attached to the family — even though they now shared virtually no productive purposes with their parents, grandparents, and broader community or congregation; and instead spent their days seeking honour among other adolescents. …
But mothers had the worst of this new family life. …
Feminist writers were mistaken in supposing that the reconstructed household of the post-War era was itself the traditional family. But they were right that the life of a woman spending most of her productive hours in an empty house, which had been stripped of most of the human relationships, activities, and purposes that had filled the life of the traditional family, was one that many women found too painful and difficult to bear. …
… Now that the household is no longer the location of a common business enterprise, of devotion to God and the study of Scripture, of a direct responsibility for the education of the young, of a direct responsibility for honouring and caring for the old, and of significant responsibilities for the establishment and growth of the community and congregation, why should anyone be surprised that what remains is neither terribly sturdy nor especially attractive to the young?
You can read that article in full here.
(Link): The Nuclear Family Was A Mistake – by David Brooks – and Related Links
(Link): Authors at The Federalist Keep Bashing Singleness in the Service of Promoting Marriage – Which Is Not Okay
(Link): BreakPoint Unfortunately Pushing the False and Un-Biblical “Society Needs Marriage and the Nuclear Family” Rhetoric (and I say this as a Conservative)
(Link): Christian Complementarian Owen Strachan Pushing “the Nuclear Family” Narrative – Unfortunately. (The Bible Does Not Prescribe The Family or Marriage as Cures for Individual or Societal Sin)
(Link): I Married Young. I Was Widowed Young. I Never Want A Long-Term Partner Again by R. Woolf
(Link): What You Lose When You Gain a Spouse – What if marriage is not the social good that so many believe and want it to be? by M. Catron
(Link): Household Liturgies (by Jonathan Storment) – Turning Marriage and the Nuclear Family Into Idols
(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages
(Link): Unmarried and Childless Women Are the Happiest, Happiness Expert Claims (2019 Study)
(Link): American Romance Standards Are Changing as People Have Less Sex and Marriage Rates Drop
(Link): ‘Stop Nagging!’: Why China’s Young Adults Are Resisting Marriage and Babies
(Link): Learning to See Your Single Neighbor by H. Stallcup
(Link): Never-Married Adult Man Named Stephen Asks Christian Host Why God Has Not Answered His 3-Decades Long Prayers To Send Him A Wife
(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): It Goes In Cycles: Push For “Early Marriage” Makes the Rounds AGAIN Lately, Because of Marriage-Idolater, Singleness Shaming Brad Wilcox (Feb 2022)
(Link): Christianity Should Be Able To Work Regardless of Culture, Childed or Marital Status / Article: Unlike in the 1950s, there is no ‘typical’ U.S. family today by B. Shulte
(Link): Four in 10 Adults Between the Ages of 25 and 54 are Single, Up From 29% in 1990
(Link): Nearly 4 in 10 American Adults Live Without Spouse or Partner As Single Population Grows: Pew
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy”
(Link): Fewer Americans Think Marriage is Needed To Create Strong Families, New Poll Suggest
(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings
(Link): Stop Telling Adult Singles and Adult Virgins That Their Virginity and Singleness is “For God’s Glory” – just stop it already
(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists
(Link): The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar
(Link): How Can Conservatives and Christians Keep Teaching Family is Backbone of Society when there are so many dysfunctional or abusive families
(Link): Typical Conservative Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough (or at all), Mr. Right will magically appear
(Link): Bethke: “Christians Do Not Need To Get Married To Live A Full And Flourishing Existence”
(Link): Woman Says She is Lonely in Marriage to Husband Who Ignores Her in Favor of His Job, Watching TV, etc.
(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40
(Link): Dear Prudence: Help! I’m Glad My Awful Husband Is Dead.
(Link): Society Has It Wrong: Married People Shouldn’t Get Benefits That Single People do Not by V. Larson
(Link): Pro-Life, Christian Sites that Flirt With Denigrating Singleness and Childlessness In Their Quest to Argue Against Abortion / Re Eric Metaxas etc
(Link): Craigslist confessional: I’m in my 40s, never married, and a virgin—but I’m happy by Abigail
(Link): Seven Reasons Not To Get Married, According to Science
(Link): Unmarried and Childless Women Are the Happiest, Happiness Expert Claims (2019 Study)
(Link): Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article
(Link): Why We Thought Marriage Made Us Healthier, and Why We Were Wrong by Bella DePaulo
(Link): Preacher: ‘They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Hot SEX Lives’ – and once more, never-married celibate adults and their experiences, wisdom, and input are ignored
(Link): Pew for One: How Is the Church Responding to Growing Number of Singles? by S. Hamaker
(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts
(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?
(Link): Do Married Couples Slight Their Family Members as Well as Their Friends? / “Greedy Marriages”
(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin