Functionalists and the New Right believe that the nuclear family is the ideal family type in which to raise children. This is because the family has a vital role in society and, for functionalists it creates value consensus.
The New Right take a more controversial view and argue that children should have two parents as other family types could affect the development of a child. Single-parent families, in particular, are seen in a negative light as the New Right believe that the lack of a male role model could lead to anti-social behaviour, such as truanting from school and aggression.
However, this view has been criticised by other critical theorists as it is argued that both theories fail to take into account some of the problems of the nuclear family unit and particularly, the emphasis that it is the ‘ideal family type’. Feminists argue both functionalists and the New Right ignore the downsides of the nuclear family unit, including each partner’s respective happiness in a relationship and even domestic violence.
Cherry Healey shares some of her own story of being a single mum and how she has had to overcome some of her own prejudices associated with a single parenthood in her new BBC Woman's Hour podcasts, The Single Mum Thing.
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