Sociology�Family Unit Social Policyand The Family

Notes on social policy and the family for AS Sociology

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Emma Rudd BMA
Sociology ­ Family Unit Social Policy and The Family
Family Values Debates. Policy Towards Families and Children.
Most government policies gave tried to protect the individuals within the family and some
have been aimed at maintaining the traditional nuclear family.
`Feuding Parents Better for Children than Separation'
Findings from the Exeter Study support the idea that feuding parents should try to stay
together for the sake of the children. A study of 152 children in Exeter found that children
being brought up by both parents experienced fewer health, school and social problems than
those whose parents had split. It was also found that children from reordered families were
at least twice as likely to have problems with health, behaviour, schoolwork and social life
and also to have a low opinion of themselves.
Political Consequences ­ The CSA
The Child Support Agency (CSA) was set up in 1993 to make divorced fathers more
financially liable for their children.
The New Right disapprove of easy divorce and are in favour of strengthening marriages
and family life for the sake of a healthier society. Although if marriages do break down they
are in favour of the CSA, so that the state and taxpayers have less of a financial burden.
Some Feminists also initially support the principle behind the CSA, focusing the poverty of
former ex wives compared to the ex husbands who generally recover financially from divorce
in a few years and in the long term are no worse off.
Dennis and Halsey stated that the rise in the number of children being brought up without
fathers was a worrying development. As these children are associated with antisocial
behaviour, criminality, delinquency, educational underachievement and related social
problems in greater proportion than their peers who are brought up in twoparent
Criticisms of Dennis and Halsey
They have been criticised for generally underplaying the role of poverty and overlooking /
ignoring the low levels of income experienced by lone parent families. It was said that
although they are right in saying that children of oneparent families are at a disadvantage but
they a wrong to not expand their argument to cover the effects of poverty.
The New Right
Night Right thinkers have pointed to the one parent family as an indicator of a decline in
moral standards. Murray came up with the underclass theory, which suggests that single
parents are at the heart of the `underclass' that has appeared in inner cities and which is
supposedly socialising children into a culture revolving around crime, delinquency,
antiauthority, antiwork and antifamily life. This is also linked to the view that teenage girls
are deliberately getting pregnant in order to obtain state benefits and council flats. They also
see a connection between oneparent families, educational underachievement and
delinquency, it is argued that children in these families may lack selfdiscipline and be
emotionally disturbed.

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Emma Rudd BMA
Criticisms of The New Right
There are a number of arguments against the New Rights point of view. Firstly Chester
states that the dominant ideology of the nuclear family causes / leads to the negative
labelling of single parent families by teachers, social workers, housing departments, police
and courts. Popay's research supports this as it was found that police and schools
automatically see the absence of a parent as problematic and relate this to the child.…read more

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Emma Rudd BMA
Legislation on divorce, abortion, birth control, sexuality, marriage, childcare and mother all
have crucial effects on families in different ways.
Policies that Do Not Support the Dominant Ideology
It cannot be said that all policies support the traditional family and gender roles.…read more


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