Sample Response to Extended Family Topic

This is a sample response to extended family topic.


Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Nowadays the extended family (grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles) is 
less significant than it was in previous times.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Sample Response

Across different cultures, society follows a common pattern. When the mean of production changes, it brings changes in society. A family is an organizational unit in society; it is subject to change when the structure of society changes. Without a doubt, the extended family in most developing countries has lost much of the importance it had in an earlier age.

Before the Industrial Revolution, production was generally small-scale and agriculture was considerably more important than other industries. Families usually supplied the labor required by small businesses and family farms. A larger family was thus more advantageous in such an environment. With the Industrial Revolution came a new mean of production, which required the establishment of large businesses. As these large businesses gradually replaced the small businesses, people would leave their hometowns in search of work. As a result, families broke up. Members of a family would relocate to different cities, where the factories were located, and a new and smaller family, the nuclear family was born.

At the same time, the nature of work changed. Some of the most important work, traditionally done by the extended family, is now handled by service workers. For example, rearing the young and caring for the old used to be done by family members. Uncles and aunts would pitch in to help raise young children, and it was unthinkable to have old parents live apart from their adult children. Nowadays, it is common to send children to childcare centers and old parents to senior homes.

Yet another factor that has diminished the importance of the extended family is the insurance systems, commonly seen in many countries. In the past, when a person was struck with a financial crisis, such as a bodily injury that required lengthy care, members of the extended family would often help. Now, more often than not, medical insurance takes care of this.

As we can see from the above, new ways of production and the establishment of new institutions typical of the market economy have brought profound changes to human societies. The importance of the extended family has been greatly diminished in the process. We currently live in a world where we increasingly rely on commercial, social and governmental institutions rather than the extended family.