It’s almost a truism among academics, the mainstream media commentariat and many Washington policymakers that the nuclear family — one married man and woman plus their kids — is a dying institution in America.
Not so, according to Institute for Family Studies (IFS) Senior Fellow W. Bradford Wilcox, writing recently in The Atlantic in response to David Brook’s claim that the nuclear family was a “mistake.” Here’s the top of Wilcox’s article and a link to the rest of an important and timely piece that should be of interest to everybody working on Capitol Hill:
“The nuclear family is disintegrating—or so Americans might conclude from what they watch and read. The quintessential nuclear family consists of a married couple raising their children.
“But from Oscar-winning Marriage Story’s gut-wrenching portrayal of divorce or the Harvard sociologist Christina Cross’s New York Times op-ed in December, “The Myth of the Two-Parent Home,” discounting the importance of marriage for kids, one might draw the conclusion that marriage is more endangered than ever—and that this might not be such a bad thing.
“Meanwhile, the writer David Brooks recently described the post–World War II American concept of family as a historical aberration—a departure from a much older tradition in which parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins all look out for the well-being of children.
“In an article in The Atlantic bearing the headline “The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake,” Brooks argued that the “nuclear family has been crumbling in slow motion for decades.” He sees extended families and what he calls “forged families”—single parents, single adults, and others coming together to support one another and children—as filling the vacuum created by the breakdown of the nuclear family.
“Yet the search for alternate forms of family has two major flaws. First, there’s evidence indicating that the nuclear family is, in fact, recovering. Second, a nuclear family headed by two loving married parents remains the most stable and safest environment for raising children.” Go here to continue reading this article.