The rate of single parenthood went up from 18% to 29% of all families from 1971 to 2002. A recent research shows that divorce cases in Britain are at all time high. The research indicates that for every three marriages that take place, there are two divorces (Li and Mumford 2009, p647). This is the highest divorce rate in the whole of Europe. The UK also has the highest number of single parents in Europe, with a quarter of all children living with their single mothers. Ford and Miller (1997, p67) capture the single parent situation perfectly when they argue that there is a growing acceptance that lone parenthood is a new stage in the family life cycle and not something separate from whatever is the norm. Forms of Families in the UK and their Influence on Children Most sociological views insist that the family is the most basic structure where the child can grow and develop normally. The main task of the family is to provide protection against the many evils of the world. However, many sociologists observe that the protective role of the family has slowly diminished over the years and instead new fulfilment roles have taken over. Traditionally, there were two types of family in the UK: nuclear and the extended family. The nuclear family is composed of the parents and their children. However, the extended family is much larger than the nuclear one. It includes the parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Today family forms have diversified in line with the changing face of family structures (Sternberg and Grigorenko 1997, p45). In the UK, the common forms of families are large families, single parent families, only child families, blended families, gay and lesbian parent families,...
This essay stresses that micro theories include the social exchange theory, which emphasizes that people are rational beings, and that their behaviors reflect their evaluation of available costs and benefits. This is to say that different members of a family behave in a way that is beneficial to them. The way certain families behave is likely to influence the development of children in those families. Symbolic Interaction Theory is a micro theory that puts much emphasis on the role of interactions between members of a family and other groups.
This report makes a conclusion that the different forms, theories and other issues of British families underpin the basic assumption that the family does play a big role in all aspects of the child’s development. The quality of interactions between children and influence their behaviors and attitudes towards life and other people. Any child who has a healthy relationship with the rest of the family members is likely to have positively develop physically, emotionally and cognitively. Such children are likely to be more successful than those who do not enjoy the same kind of quality interaction as with members of their families. Such children normally lack attention, love and attention that they need to develop properly and this is likely to reflect in their poor performance in school and aspects of their social life. Families in the UK must ensure that they bring up their children to not only be respectable members of society, but also individuals with high moral integrity and high sense of self worth.