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Folbre and Pollak (2004: 1-6) note that American families have more money, fewer children, and more freedom than ever before in their history and yet they appear to be having major difficulties sustaining themselves as a system. Divorce and absent fathers are at all time high levels. Poverty is rising in single parent homes; and parents who decide to spend maximal amounts of their time with their children tend to face hard choices economically. What is needed, the authors state, is to develop a comprehensive understanding of how families function and their interrelationships with social structures. The purpose of this paper is to briefly examine some of the interrelationships between the family and four major social systems: the economic system, politics, the media, and the educational system.

In their discussion of the family and the economy, the National Council on Family Relations (2004:1-4) points out that the family and the economy are part of the same system and that what affects one group affects the other. When families do well financially, so does the economy and vice versa. However, the Council states that during this period of transition to the new century, there has been a lack of balance between the family and the economic system such that while more is demanded of families, less is given to them. The Council states that in order to return the system to a point of balance what is needed is for families to get better healthcare, better quality education, greater protection from domestic violence, greater education in child rearing, better paying jobs with a living wage and the kind of flexibility that allows them more home time, more affordable housing and good quality day care and supervised programs for children. Changes in one or more of these areas will, in turn, improve the economy by allowing the family to provide greater productivity in th


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THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL STRUCTURES Introduction F. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:43, May 28, 2020, from