Traditional Families on the Decline


Traditional Families on the Decline

As the family goes, so does the nation.

Traditional families continue to decline, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. In 2013, just 46 percent of children lived in a household with both biological parents who are in their first marriage. In 1960, 73 percent of children lived with both parents.

Data released by Pew showed children living with remarried parents remain relatively the same at 15 percent. The amount of children living with grandparents or other family members rests around 5 percent.

Meanwhile, 34 percent of children grow up in single-parent households. Fifty-three years ago, only 9 percent of children did not live with both parents. Less than half of American children know what it is like to live with both Dad and Mom. This says a lot about the society we live in. It also shows where America is headed as a nation.

Having children out of wedlock is becoming increasingly popular. Since 1960, the percentage of children born out of wedlock has risen 720 percent, jumping from 5 to 41 percent.

“While the old ‘ideal’ involved couples marrying young, then starting a family, and staying married till ‘death do they part,’ the family has become more complex, and less ‘traditional,’” Pew reported.

Some embrace the Pew data as positive. They believe it shows society’s willingness to embrace the new definition of family. “We’re increasingly able to shape our lives in ways that would have been socially impossible in decades past—extracting ourselves from unhappy marriages, creating homes with committed same-sex partners and fulfilling lifelong dreams of parenthood despite marital status. … Change can be good. So can tradition. Thankfully, we live in a world with room enough for both.”

Do we see that “traditional” families are threatened? We must recognize that to redefine family is to destroy family. As the basic family structure of husband, wife and children falls apart, so does the nation.

The collapse of ancient Rome was in large part due to the breakdown of family. In his book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbons identified five major reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire. One of those reasons was the breakdown of the traditional family.

History shows that the strength of a nation depends upon the strength of its family units. Family is the foundation on which a country is built. Once we start chipping away at the foundation, we seriously undermine the strength of the country. Only 46 percent of America’s foundation remains intact.

The strength of nations is determined by the strength of its families.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in his article “A Lesson From Rome,” “We think we can discard marriage and family and suffer no consequences—but the history of Rome ought to teach us what the fruits of family breakdown are—and will be!”

Traditional families affect our society in many ways. One such way is through the development and education of children. “Children of married couples are better off economically, more stable mentally, more successful academically, and even healthier—even throughout adulthood” (Redefining Family).

Some believe children raised in a traditional family have no advantage over their peers. “The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” Mark Regnerus, an associate sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in his controversial 2012 study in Social Science Research. “[C]hildren appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”

As “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective,” a June 2002 Child Trends research paper, said, “[I]t is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.” The traditional family plays a big part in nurturing well-balanced children.

Why, then, do few of America’s leaders seem to care that the traditional American family is heading toward extinction?

Read “A Lesson From Rome” to understand why family is declining and where it will ultimately lead.