David Brooks: The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake - The Atlantic


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The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake

The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
long-form  reading 
1 hour ago by spencerja
Favorite tweet:

“For decades we have been eating at smaller and smaller tables, with fewer and fewer kin.

It’s time to find ways to bring back the big…
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yesterday by lou31
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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6 days ago by ree
David Brooks: The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake - The Atlantic
instapaper  article 
6 days ago by csilverman
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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8 days ago by scottwf
During this period, a certain family ideal became engraved in our minds: a married couple with 2.5 kids. When we think of the American family, many of us still revert to this ideal. When we have debates about how to strengthen the family, we are thinking of the two-parent nuclear family, with one or two kids, probably living in some detached family home on some suburban street. We take it as the norm, even though this wasn’t the way most humans lived during the tens of thousands of years before 1950, and it isn’t the way most humans have lived during the 55 years since 1965.
longread 
8 days ago by rosscatrow
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
9 days ago by AnthonyBaker
As the years go by in the movie, the extended family plays a smaller and smaller role. By the 1960s, there’s no extended family at Thanksgiving. It’s just a young father and mother and their son and daughter, eating turkey off trays in front of the television. In the final scene, the main character is living alone in a nursing home, wondering what happened. “In the end, you spend everything you’ve ever saved, sell everything you’ve ever owned, just to exist in a place like this.”

“In my childhood,” Levinson told me, “you’d gather around the grandparents and they would tell the family stories … Now individuals sit around the TV, watching other families’ stories.” The main theme of Avalon, he said, is “the decentralization of the family. And that has continued even further today. Once, families at least gathered around the television. Now each person has their own screen.”

This is the story of our times—the story of the family, once a dense cluster of many siblings and extended kin, fragmenting into ever smaller and more fragile forms. The initial result of that fragmentation, the nuclear family, didn’t seem so bad. But then, because the nuclear family is so brittle, the fragmentation continued. In many sectors of society, nuclear families fragmented into single-parent families, single-parent families into chaotic families or no families.
culture  america 
10 days ago by sandykoe
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
family  community  culture  life  sociology 
10 days ago by thejaymo
Did nobody ever tell David Brooks that a rectory is neither an academy where people learn t…
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10 days ago by delong
via Pocket - The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake - Added February 11, 2020 at 10:53AM
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10 days ago by theetory
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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11 days ago by mnewt
Many people growing up in this era have no secure base from which to launch themselves and no well-defined pathway to adulthood. For those who have the human capital to explore, fall down, and have their fall cushioned, that means great freedom and opportunity—and for those who lack those resources, it tends to mean great confusion, drift, and pain.
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When Wilcox asked his University of Virginia students if they thought having a child out of wedlock was wrong, 62 percent said it was not wrong. When he asked the students how their own parents would feel if they themselves had a child out of wedlock, 97 percent said their parents would “freak out.”
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while social conservatives have a philosophy of family life they can’t operationalize, because it no longer is relevant, progressives have no philosophy of family life at all, because they don’t want to seem judgmental
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The past several years have seen the rise of new living arrangements that bring nonbiological kin into family or familylike relationships. On the website CoAbode, single mothers can find other single mothers interested in sharing a home.
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Home builders have responded by putting up houses that are what the construction firm Lennar calls “two homes under one roof.” These houses are carefully built so that family members can spend time together while also preserving their privacy
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I often ask African friends who have immigrated to America what most struck them when they arrived. Their answer is always a variation on a theme—the loneliness. It’s the empty suburban street in the middle of the day, maybe with a lone mother pushing a baby carriage on the sidewalk but nobody else around.
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For decades we have been eating at smaller and smaller tables, with fewer and fewer kin.

It’s time to find ways to bring back the big tables.
usa  family 
11 days ago by libbymiller
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
pocket 
11 days ago by psanwikarja
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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13 days ago by davegullett
In Salt Lake City, an organization called the Other Side Academy provides serious felons with an extended family. Many of the men and women who are admitted into the program have been allowed to leave prison, where they were generally serving long sentences, but must live in a group home and work at shared businesses, a moving company and a thrift store. The goal is to transform the character of each family member. During the day they work as movers or cashiers. Then they dine together and gather several evenings a week for something called “Games”: They call one another out for any small moral failure—being sloppy with a move; not treating another family member with respect; being passive-aggressive, selfish, or avoidant.

Games is not polite. The residents scream at one another in order to break through the layers of armor that have built up in prison. Imagine two gigantic men covered in tattoos screaming “Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!” At the session I attended, I thought they would come to blows. But after the anger, there’s a kind of closeness that didn’t exist before. Men and women who have never had a loving family suddenly have “relatives” who hold them accountable and demand a standard of moral excellence. Extreme integrity becomes a way of belonging to the clan. The Other Side Academy provides unwanted people with an opportunity to give care, and creates out of that care a ferocious forged family.
parents  family  american  society 
13 days ago by ricky
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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13 days ago by stoleaglance
Was the Nuclear Family a Mistake? via Instapaper https://ift.tt/39o8wB3
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13 days ago by sshappell
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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13 days ago by sminnee
If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.
Nuclear  family  sociology  Familie  welfare  state  NHS  support  network  atomisation  DWP  social  mobility  downward  neoliberal  neoliberalism  unemployment  poverty  trap  income  resilience 
15 days ago by asterisk2a
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together. via Pocket
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15 days ago by keithprime
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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15 days ago by granth
RT atmostbeautiful : 전통 대가족을 대체했던 핵가족은 결국 외로운 1인 사회로 파편화. 본래 kinship이란 혈연보다 상호연대감. 그 가치에 눈뜨고 자발적 결속에 따른 다양한 형태의 대가족/공동체 이루는 사람들이 늘고 있다. 방대한 조사연구와 개인 체험 곁들인 데이빗 브룩스의 리포트. 추천 http://bit.ly/2vl6D9u February 11, 2020 at 07:46PM http://twitter.com/atmostbeautiful/status/1227182052757266432
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15 days ago by seoulrain
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many, @nytdavidbrooks writes. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together. #sociocose https://t.co/UZffdG5q3h
sociocose 
15 days ago by ciocci
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
Archive  instapaper  tenpla 
15 days ago by WFreeland
Barry Levinson’s 1990 film, Avalon, based on his own childhood in Baltimore: Five brothers came to America from Eastern Europe around the time of World War I and built a wallpaper business. For a while they did everything together, like in the old country. But as the movie goes along, the extended family begins to split apart. Some members move to the suburbs for more privacy and space. One leaves for a job in a different state. The big blowup comes over something that seems trivial but isn’t: The eldest of the brothers arrives late to a Thanksgiving dinner to find that the family has begun the meal without him.“You cut the turkey without me?” he cries. “Your own flesh and blood! … You cut the turkey?” The pace of life is speeding up. Convenience, privacy, and mobility are more important than family loyalty. “The idea that they would eat before the brother arrived was a sign of disrespect,” Levinson told me recently when I asked him about that scene. “That was the real crack in the family. When you violate the protocol, the whole family structure begins to collapse.”As the years go by in the movie, the extended family plays a smaller and smaller role. By the 1960s, there’s no extended family at Thanksgiving. It’s just a young father and mother and their son and daughter, eating turkey off trays in front of the television. In the final scene, the main character is living alone in a nursing home, wondering what happened. “In the end, you spend everything you’ve ever saved, sell everything you’ve ever owned, just to exist in a place like this.”“In my childhood,” Levinson told me, “you’d gather around the grandparents andhe family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
trends  society  family  sociology 
15 days ago by thomas.kochi
Splendid big think-piece from David Brooks questioning the utility of one of the core elements of the American Dream — the nuclear family. The nuclear family had a brief golden age in the post-war decades, thanks to a buoyant US economy and the subordination of women. But extended families are more robust, especially in hard times; they are a better model for most of America now
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15 days ago by petulantskeptic
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
ifttt  twitter 
15 days ago by marshallk
If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.
community  family  demographics  futurist 
16 days ago by wiobyrne
The family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many. It’s time to figure out better ways to live together.
16 days ago by geetarista
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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16 days ago by dylanc
Photo illustration: Weronika Gęsicka; Alamy T he scene is one many of us have somewhere in our family history: Dozens of people celebrating Thanksgiving or some…
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16 days ago by loganrhyne