Today we see an increasing social acceptance for a variety of family structures and norms, albeit mostly based on some variation of the nuclear model.
In the 1950s American society was dominated by White Anglo Saxon Protestants, largely patriarchal as epitomized in the “Father Knows Best” TV series. The idealized family consisted of father, mother and 2 children, preferably a boy and a girl. There was a clear segregation of roles and norms, with the father expected to be the sole breadwinner and the mother was supposed to be content with nurturing the children and accepting domestic drudgery. This was changed by both feminism, demanding more opportunities for female fulfillment and economic downturns requiring a second income. Gender role distinctions became blurred as husbands were expected to share more domestic responsibilities in return for their wives’ labor force participation. Women demanded a greater share in family decisions, shifting the norm from patriarchy to a more egalitarian model.
Although economic and social forces such as 2 income families, increased secularization, liberalized divorce laws and one parent families have broken down in many cases the traditional 1950s ideal with adverse consequences, the institution of the family has survived and carried out most of the Functionalist views of its’ 6 functions of 1) reproduction, 2)protection, 3) socialization , 4) regulation of sexual behavior, 5) affection and companionship and 6) provision of social status reasonably well. More recently many feel the family is threatened by the new phenomenon of gay or same sex marriage. While gay couples have obvious biological limitations, I see no reason why this precludes them from adopting norms including raising children in their care acceptable to society at