Family and Parenthood

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What is a family?

What a family provides...

A family is a basic unit of society. It's a group of people living together, who are married, or co-habit (live together), or who are related by birth (blood) or adoption.

A family provides...

  • a secure and stable environment, with good role models and appropriate routines
  • encouragement and praise, which develpos self-esteem and confidence
  • love, affection and comfort
  • communication skills
  • food, clothing and a suitable housing environment
  • physical and health care
  • culture
  • socialisation skills. Babies' basic needs are met by parents who teach them what is expected of them as they grow. This is primary socialisation. Later, they're influenced by the society they live in. This is known as secondary socialisation.
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What is a family?

Types of families...

There are a number of different types of families.

In a nuclear family, parents and children live together in the home. Contact with other family members is limited, and practical help from them isn't easily available.

In an extended family, parents and children live with, or near, relatives like grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There is practicle help with child care and emotional support.

A step family (reconstituted/modified/blended) is formed when one or both people in a couple, with children from a previous relationship, re-marry or co-habit. New relationships can be difficult to establish.

...

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What is a family?

A single-parent family (lone, one parent) mostly, but not always, comprimises a mother and her children. This type of family can be the result of...

  • divorce (seperation)
  • the death of a parent
  • adoption by a single parent
  • an absent parent (e.g. who works abroad, is in hospital, or prision, or in a refuge)
  • a surrogacy arrangement
  • a single woman giving birth through choice
  • a single woman giving birth after a sexual attack.

In a single-parent family, one parent has responsibillity for daily care and descision making. This arrangement may provide a less stressful environment for the children, but can increase pressure on the parent.

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What is a family?

A single-parent family (lone, one parent) mostly, but not always, comprimises a mother and her children. This type of family can be the result of...

  • divorce (seperation)
  • the death of a parent
  • adoption by a single parent
  • an absent parent (e.g. who works abroad, is in hospital, or prision, or in a refuge)
  • a surrogacy arrangement
  • a single woman giving birth through choice
  • a single woman giving birth after a sexual attack.

In a single-parent family, one parent has responsibillity for daily care and descision making. This arrangement may provide a less stressful environment for the children, but can increase pressure on the parent.

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What is a family?

In a shared care family, children live in two households, and spend time with both parents. Joint decisions are made about them. Children maintain relationships with both parents.

In an adoptive family, adoptive parents have to pass rigorous tests by social services. Adoptive parents come from a wide range of backgrounds, such as...

  • nuclear families
  • single-parent families
  • same-sex couples.

Adoptive parents provide a permanent home for babies and older children. A court gives them the same legal rights and responsibilities as birth parents. Reasons for adopting are numerous and include..

  • infertility
  • adoption after remarriage
  • adoption of a family member
  • adoption by couples who carry genetic defects.
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Foster and residential care

Looked after children

Looked after children are looked after by (or are in the care of) the local authority, through social services. This could be the result of a care order or in agreement with the children's parents. Looked-after children have a named social worker.

There are a number of reasons why these children may not be able to live with their birth famillies, e.g.:

  • death or illness of their parents
  • sexual or physical abuse or neglect
  • if a child has a disability or complex needs
  • if a parent needs respite care.

Looked-after children are placed with foster families, or in a residential care home. Placements may be short-term, long-term, temporary or permanent.

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Foster and residential care

Foster families

Foster families provide long or short-tern care. Carers are checked by social services, and like adoptive parents they come from many backgrounds. They may be members of the child's birth family.

After training, foster parents are paid by the local authority when children are placed with them.

Foster children have social workers who liaise with the foster family and provide support and advise.

When appropriate, foster children are encouraged to keep in touch with their birth family, with the aim of reuniting them.

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Foster and residential care

Residential care homes

Residential care homes provide short-term care for children. They're situated in the local community and small groups of children are looked after by carers in a family type struture. Children are looked after by carers in a fmaily type structure. Children with severe disabilities and behavioural problems may require long-term care.

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Family structures and roles

Why are family structures changing?

Family structures are changing because...

  • unmarried mothers are socially acceptable
  • co-habitation is socially acceptable
  • divorce laws are simpler
  • improved and easily available contraception lets people choose when and how many children they have
  • more benefits and support are available to lone parents.
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Family structures and roles

Family roles

Roles in a family are complicated, especially after divorce, remarriage and co-habitation. Working mothers have an effect on family roles.

Whether your sexual role is decided by nature (your genes) or nature (the environment you are brought up in) is dabatable. Both are influential.

Stereotyping results from what children see in society and in their homes.

Girls

  • cry if hurt
  • clean and tidy
  • gentle, well behaved and quiet
  • play with dolls and teddies
  • dress in pink, frilly clothes
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Family structures and roles

Taditional expectations of boys and girls

Girls

  • cry if hurt
  • clean and tidy
  • gentle, well behaved and quiet
  • play with dolls and teddies
  • dress in pink, frilly clothes

Boys

  • brave if hurt
  • dirty and grubby
  • physically active, noisy and boisterous
  • play with lego and cars
  • dress in blue, 'boys' clothes
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Family structures and roles

Culture

Culture has an effect on roles within the family. Culture is behaviour that is learned not only from the family, but also society.

Religion can determine rules of behaviour, provides for worship and celebrations, and can influence your style of dress and diet.

In a multicultural society, like Britain, there are many different ethnic groups, each with their own special culture.

Aspects of culture

  • food
  • hygiene
  • education
  • family size
  • traditions
  • religion.
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Planning a family

Questions to consider

Before you decide to have a baby, there are a number of questions to consider.

For example, are you...

  • fit and healthy?
  • to young or too old?
  • mature enough to accept responsibility?
  • willing to change your lifestyle?

And do you?

  • have a stable relationship with your partner?
  • have realistic expectations of children?
  • have support from family and friends?
  • have sufficient money to buy equipment?
  • have suitable housing?
  • want anymore children?
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Planning a family

You also need to ask yourself, will you...

  • still able to have an active social life, go on holiday, or have hobbies?
  • want to stay home and look after your baby?
  • mind if having a baby affects your career, if you take a break?
  • be able to find childcare and babysitters?
  • cope with all the demands of a baby, like lack of sleep, etc?

Babies have a profound and permanent effect on parents' lives. Parents have to adjust their lifestyles and undertake a lifelong commitment. Children can be a source of joy and pride, and raising them can bring satisfaction and love to a relationship. Babies that aren't planned are not necessarilly unwanted.

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Planning a family

Bad reasons for having a baby

Bad reasons for having a baby include wanting to...

  • have someone to love or look after you
  • have someone who will love you
  • improve a poor or difficult relationship
  • prove you are 'grown up' and mature.

Other bad reasons are...

  • peer pressure
  • family pressure, e.g. from parents who want to be grandparents
  • so that you can leave a job
  • because you think you're getting to old to wait ('biological clock is ticking')
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Contraception

Contraception is the diliberate prevention of pregnacy, by preventing fertilisation or implantation of an egg. The contraception people choose depends on...

  • presonal preference
  • religious belief
  • age
  • whether a long or short-term method is needed
  • health.

Pregnancy can also be prevented by sterilisation. This is done by either cutting or blocking the fallopian (uterine) tube in women, or the sperm tube in men (vasectomy).

Emergency contraception is needed after unprotected sex:

  • The morning after pill must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. it can be prescribed by a doctor or family planning clinic, or bought from a pharmacist.
  • An IUD prevents pregancy if fitted within five days of unprotected sex, by preventing implantation.
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Contraception

Natural methods

There are three main natural methods of contraception:

  • NFP- identifies fertile times in the menstrual cycle. It isn't reliable, especially if periods are irregular or the woman is ill. Careful daily records must be kept, and intercourse must be avoided during the fertile period. The woman needs to be able to interpret...
    • her cervical mucus
    • her body temperature
    • When she's likely to ovulate.

Ovulation monitors can be purchased from pharmacists

  • The withdrawal method (coitus interruptus) is when the ***** is removed from the ****** before ***********. This isn’t reliable as seamen leaks throughout intercourse.

  • Abstention from sexual intercourse is saying ‘no’ and is 100% reliable.

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