For a long time, it has been the general idea that the traditional American family should consist of a wife, husband, and children, which were expected to compose the so-called nuclear family. Nowadays, trends in divorces and same sex couples, longevity and adoption might have given a different definition of the traditional family. Owing to the fact that the divorce rate in the USA today is approximately 40-50%, mostly 20% of all children in the U.S. are stepchildren. The traditional families have been almost displaced by reconstituted or blended families (McCabe, 2011).
The regular reconstituted family consists of parents and their children from different marriages. Blended families are almost identical to the reconstituted ones, with the exception of the fact that they also include the adopted children or sometimes a mixture of various races and nationalities. This paper seeks to establish how blended families influence the society, American cultural values, and discuss the pros and cons of such influence.
It is of immense importance to discover how the social change of the growing number of blended families has altered the values and culture of the USA. Due to the fact that blended families appear as a result of loss, such as divorce or death, for some family members it may be quite challenging to get used to a new family and become a part of it. Some children tend to feel anger, confusion, and hatred while facing a new parent or family members as well as new expectations and rules. Thus the problems of children behavior, such as defiance, aggression, and withdrawal in such kinds of families are very prevalent. It has been discovered that during the last 20 years, the level of aggression and violence among children has grown by 30%. Most of children with high level of aggression are from deprived, reconstituted, or blended families (Macionis, 2011).
It has been asserted that human impulses are caused by society. As a product of interaction between humans across generations, society is aimed to implement the social order. This kind of order is determined by human behavior and is impossible without stability within families. Therefore, problems within families directly influence the whole culture and stability within society. Owing to the fact that children are never perceived as members of the general public, the norms of subcultures are of utmost importance (Cheney, 2009). One of the main contributors to the culture of society is the subculture or the social stratum. In some cases, people of different stratified subgroups (stratified by gender, nationality, social class, ethnicity, etc.) complement well within one family. This results in composition differences.
However, there are a lot of positive contributions that blended families make to the values and culture of the U.S. In blended families, which consist of members of different nationalities and cultures, ethnic and cultural integration is more advanced. An individual who is constantly influenced by the mix of different cultures is more flexible and adaptive to social changes, and tolerant towards cultural differences. Consequently, if the child is raised in a blended family with members of diverse national identities, he or she is more likely to have a tolerant attitude towards other races and nationalities (Facts about adoption, 2012).
In case people from different cultures constitute one family, they usually have problems blending shared customs and simultaneously maintaining their ingrained traditions. Of course, it is challenging to find the balance between cultures. Although through parents’ efforts, children in such families may benefit from both traditions and outlooks. For instance, children in a blended American and Mexican family can celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Halloween in October. Moreover, bilingual children can also succeed in future career, as well as learn other cognitive skills better than kids who are monolingual (Zuiderveen, 2002).
To conclude, in the world of globalization, due to the advances in travel industry and Internet blending and interaction become a common practice for various cultures. Therefore, to master the introduction to new customs and cultures, one needs to be curious and open-minded. The most crucial upside of upbringing in the blended family is the child’s unbiased perception of the society, which has a positive impact on the whole American generation and its cultural values.