Family Diversity


There are different ways of dealing with lone-parenthood:

  • Lone-parent - a mother or father living without a partner and with their dependent children (Haskey, 2002)
  • Co-parenting or joing parenting - separated, divorced or never married couple who share responsiblility for the dependant children (Neal and Smsrt, 1997)
  • Lone-parenthood household - the abseent parent is not part of the household because they live else where but they contribute, possibly by sending money (Crow and Hardy, 1992)

According to Crow and Hardy (1992), lone parenthood is not a permanent status.

For example parents can become a lone-parent family by; Seperation from cohabitation partner, divorce, death of partner, separation from marital partner or non-cohabiting, never married mothers.

They may then chose to no longer be a lone-parent by; Cohabitation, marriage or remarriage, reconcilation with partner or their children are no longer dependant.

1 of 6

Reconstituted Families

Rconstituted families are often seen as the solution to lone-parenthood (Allan and Crow, 2001)


  • The role of step-father can be complex, shifting and uncertain (Bedell, 2002)
  • One quater of step-families break up in the first year.
  • A half of all step-families end in divorce

Reasons that reconstitued familea have such a poor success rate may be due to;

  • Children not getting on well
  • There is social pressure to be married
  • Power sturggle between childrenn and the new parent
  • Parent favour their own children
  • Laxk of emotional attachment
  • Financal conflict/rivalry
2 of 6

Same-Sex Families

Same-sex families are sometimes called families of choice since the 'family unit' is defined by who is chosen to be part of it (Weeks et al, 1999)

There are legal issues that affect same-sex families

  • An Act of Parliament in 2002 made it leagal for homosexual couples to adopt.
  • An Act of Parliament in 2004 entitled homosexual couples to have civil patnerships which allows them to have the same property rights, parental rights amd pension benefits as heterosexual, married couples.
  • The Marriage (same-sex) Act of 2013 allows homosexual couples to get married as long as the religious instituion they wish to use agress.

Hiram Fitzgerald (1999) states ' Some people are concered that same sex parents will have an impact on their children's gender identity but research suggests that the parent-child relationship is more important thhan parents sexuality.'

3 of 6

Social Class - Kathleen Kiernan & Ganka Mueller

Kiernan and Mueller claimed

'The lower the social class, the higer the chance of divoice. High divorce rates are linked to poverty and reliance on benefits.' 

4 of 6

The Impact of Ethnicity on Family Diversity

There are a lot of ethnic minoritys within the UK. Here is an example of ethinic groups within Asain and African-Carriabean Families.

Asian - 

Mostly based on nuclear families.

Higher proportion of classic extended families with close, wider kinship ties (Westwood & Bhachu, 1998)

Marry earlier than white, Westerners

Cohabitation and divorce are rare

Sometimes marraiages are arranged but couples have more say now than in the past (Allan & Crow, 2001)

African-Carribbean -

In 2001, 48% of this group were lone-parent families compared too 22% in Britain as a whole

Low marriage rate

Highest proportion of never-marred lone-mothers in any ethnic group

Highest divorce rate of any ethnic group

Strong kinship ties, especially with female relatives

5 of 6

The Impact of Ethnicity on Family Diversity - Eliz

Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim (2002) claimed

"The term multicultural families refers to couples who come from different ethnic backgrounds.

They may suffer prejudice and experinece conflict from their own families and the general population.

However, such couplings suggest that people choose partners who fulfill their personal needs rather than to pleae their parents or to fit the norms of their own ethnic group"

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Families and households resources »