The Way We Really Are: Coming To Terms With America's Changing Families

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Basic Books, Aug 6, 2008 - History - 256 pages
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Stephanie Coontz, the author of The Way We Never Were, now turns her attention to the mythology that surrounds today’s family—the demonizing of “untraditional” family forms and marriage and parenting issues. She argues that while it’s not crazy to miss the more hopeful economic trends of the 1950s and 1960s, few would want to go back to the gender roles and race relations of those years. Mothers are going to remain in the workforce, family diversity is here to stay, and the nuclear family can no longer handle all the responsibilities of elder care and childrearing.Coontz gives a balanced account of how these changes affect families, both positively and negatively, but she rejects the notion that the new diversity is a sentence of doom. Every family has distinctive resources and special vulnerabilities, and there are ways to help each one build on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.The book provides a meticulously researched, balanced account showing why a historically informed perspective on family life can be as much help to people in sorting through family issues as going into therapy—and much more help than listening to today’s political debates.
 

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Contents

Introduction
2
Getting Past the Sound Bites How History and Sociology Can Help Todays Families
12
What We Really Miss About the 1950s
34
Why Working Mothers Are Here to Stay
52
The Future of Marriage
78
Putting Divorce in Perspective
98
How Holding on to Tradition Sets Families Back
110
Looking for Someone to Blame Families and Economic Change
124
How Ignoring Historical and Societal Change Puts Kids at Risk
142
Working with What Weve Got The Strengths and Vulnerabilities of Todays Families
158
Acknowledgments
180
Notes
182
Index
230
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Stephanie Coontz is a member of the faculty of Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where she is a historian and an expert on American culture.

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