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Letter: The Changing American Family

To the Editor:

Thank you for your Dec. 7 editorial, “Domestic Arrangements.” This kind of informational article contributes so much to the better understanding about this important and most relevant topic, and thus to a more informed conversation by our citizens.

That there is no “typical American family” is a reality difficult to accept — at least by many, if not most Americans. But it is essential for our society to understand this fact in order to address the many challenges created by changes to the institution of the family in the U.S. Rather than dwell in nostalgia about “the good old days of the ’50s,” as many of our national political, religious and social leaders who grew up in that decade still do, we need to face these changes and develop effective social and political policies that will help our society and its individual and varied families face this new world. Without a correct understanding of the basic facts, this type of collective action will be hard to achieve. Your editorial carries us far toward this informed dialogue.

Philip Eller

Adjunct professor of sociology

Colby-Sawyer College and the Community College of Vermont



Editorial: Domestic Arrangements; American Families Continue to Change

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Whatever your notion of the typical American family, it’s wrong. That’s because there isn’t a typical American family anymore, if there ever was. Seismic demographic shifts, as well as rapidly evolving values and customs, have shoved aside the vaunted stereotype for variations on the theme of Mom, Dad and their biological children. As Natalie Angier of The New York Times …