Semester Summary

In general, I would like to express my gratitude to all organizers and instructors of the course as their contribution has helped clear plenty of the complicated issues and learn a lot of new things.

The matters related to the family are especially interesting for me since matrimonial issues influence all people, their behavior, emotions, opinions, and lifestyles. Moreover, it has long been proved that the main psychological characteristics of a person are developed during the early stages of life. At this time, an individual is completely dependent of his or her family members and turns to borrow all the habits and the way of life that are inherent for the people who surround a child. Before I attended this course, my expertise regarding family issues was quite average. I indeed have come across few scientific publications that covered some of the matters related to the family. Just as ordinary Americans, I also watched a few TV-shows that were dedicated to the family issues since I have also experienced several problems in my family. During this course, I have managed to deepen my knowledge. Actually, it became more science-based and argumentative.

At first, I have learned about the definition of a family. Before the course, I considered that the family must always consist of the several family members or at least of the man and woman. However, later we determined that the family might only consist of one person. This was quite surprising for me. In general, people built up a family due to the relations existing among them that arise as a result of marriage, adoption, or blood connection. According to the official definition provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, family consists of two or more people who live together and are related by adoption, marriage, or blood.

The question regarding the origins of the family is frequently debated. Several concepts have been introduced to explain the reasons for family emerging. According to the evolutionary theory, the infants that were born by women needed care of both parents Therefore, the first matrimonial relations turned to appear. People started to live together in the small tribes uniting a few families. Later on, when the roles of the women and men became definite, the family structure crystallized. According to the other theories, families originated in order to ensure the order that was already established in the society. When people felt belonging to the group or to the family, their behaviors were more constant and predictable. Additionally, the family ties were needed in order to protect members of the tribe against the outsiders. The connections that actually existed inside the group contributed also to the process of labor division. Finally, the family was necessary to assist other people in the group and to recruit new members of the tribe through marriage. The matrimonial unions were extremely useful to settle peace with other tribes.

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In general, there are three types of marriage units. The first one is monogamy when the family consists of solely man and woman. This type is popular throughout the territory of Europe, North America, and other developed countries. Polygamy refers to the marriage where there is more than one wife. Such a marriage type is justified due to the increased number of women within the society. The need to take care of all these women caused the appearance of polygamy marriages. Additionally, the enlarged families that consist of the few wives, all of which are fertile, increase the number of children who in the future will worship Islam. Polygamy is spread in China, Islamic countries, across the African continent, ancient Hebrew cultures and others. Polygamy marriages are, thus, supported by both the country and the church. The third type of the marriage, called polyandry, is just opposite to the polygamy, as it usually consists of one woman and few men. It is accepted in the communities residing in Nepal, Tibet, New Caledonia, and Arctic Canada.

The family issues were extremely affected by the communities they appeared in. For example, family affairs were not private among the European colonists. Even the houses weere built not for the purpose of preserving privacy. It was definitely hard for the residents to keep privacy from other households. The families performed many functions. They were needed for the performance of the several public services. Houses of correction, orphanages, educational institutions, and hospitals operated due to the efforts of the families as well.

During this course, I have also discovered the facts about the childhood in the Colonial era. The mortality of children, infants, and mothers was extremely high. Despite this, those children who survived were not sentimentalized. From the early childhood, they were grown under the severest conditions. Later on, the doctrine of the original sin developed, the children were considered to be the most likely carriers of this sin. The latest was believed to be broken by mastering of different subjects, improving of discipline level, and biblical teachings. In conclusion, the phase of childhood was not considered vulnerable or sensible one; so that according to the views of the people living during this period, the children did not need a special kind of protection.

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The course also covered the tendencies that are inherent for the family development. I have found that the process of industrialization, actually, changed the families as well. Both parents needed to work; therefore the children were often left unattended. The families moved to the big cities with their additional negative and positive lure. The emphasis was made rather on the individual than on the family. The last 60 years have also altered the modern family. The majority of couples preferred to divorce than to endure one another living together. Additionally, the marriage is often delayed, and the marriage age has increased rapidly. Nowadays more people are interested rather in the personal development than in establishing of the family.

In conclusion, I would like to state that I learned a lot more things that were connected to the family, and I am definitely thankful for this opportunity that was kindly provided for me.

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