Despite the rhetoric of recent years lamenting the loss of the "traditional family," families have never fit nicely into any single model. "Family" may refer to people linked by marriage or kinship or to people claiming descent from common ancestors. People may form and extend families by adopting or fostering children, defining nonrelatives as family, or establishing consensual partnerships. Families are as adaptable as they are diverse, reconfiguring themselves over their life cycles and evolving to accommodate the myriad pressures of the external world. This book focuses on families with dependent children specifically—on the roles of mothers, fathers, and children, and how these roles are evolving. We do not discount the value of understanding more about how the elderly are cared for, the role of extended kin in the support of children, the intricacies of sibling relationships, and the creative power of friendship to provide some of the comforts of family. Our primary emphasis, however, is on how fathers and mothers meet their parental responsibilities and, in turn, what children have a right to expect from their parents.
Bruce, Judith, Cynthia B. Lloyd, Ann Leonard, Patrice L. Engle, and Niev Duffy. 1995. "Families in Focus: New Perspectives on Mothers, Fathers, and Children." New York: Population Council.
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