Future Families explores the variety of family forms which characterize our contemporary culture while addressing the implications of these increasingly diverse family units on child development. Noted psychologist Ross Parke traces the shifts in parental roles resulting from increased divorce rates, single–parent families, cohabiting couples , same–gender parental relationships, and other non–traditional family types.
Parke reveals how the ideal nuclear family stereotype is further challenged by non–traditional family forms introduced through outside cultures, ethnic variations within our own culture, and assisted reproductive technologies. He offers recommendations as to how social policies can be modified to better reflect the new diversity of family forms and suggests ways to provide support for all families to improve the lives of adults and children. Timely and enlightening, Future Families offers rich insights into ways contemporary society has redrawn the boundaries of family.
About the Author xi
1 Challenges to the Ideal Family Form 1
2 Changing Parental Roles: The Sharing and Redistribution of Family Responsibility in Contemporary Families 25
3 Further Assaults on the Ideal Family Form: Divorce, Remarriage, Single Parenthood, and Cohabitation 55
4 Same–Gender Families: Are Two Mothers or Fathers Good Enough? 84
5 How Many Parents Are Too Many? Insights from the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Front 111
6 Many Mothers, Many Fathers, Many Others: Insights from Other Cultures 141
7 All about Relatives and Fictive Relatives: Insights from Diverse Ethnic Groups in Our Own Culture (Past and Present) 160
8 Multiple Caregivers: Harmful or Helpful for Caregivers Themselves 191
9 In Support of Alternative Family Forms: Overcoming the Barriers to Change 209