Is The Family Doomed?

When first considering answering this complex question, one has to ask what family is. In one of my classes one definition was that a family is a special kind of system; pattern with structure and properties that organize stability and change. Families are made up of patterns that are recurrent and predictable interactions. The definition in my opinion leans towards the MFSB traditional view of what a family is and should be: mother, father, sister, and brother. As I look at the current status of families in the US, the traditional definition and ideal family no longer exist in the same context as they did in the past. Along with the MFSB family there are also blended families, reconstructed families, those who co-habitat, open, and group marriages. There are single parent households, same sex parent homes, grandparents raising grandchildren, and the system raising children, these are by no means traditional family patterns but mirror the current patterns in our society.

I am raising my daughter on my own. She resides with me, but also spends time with her Father. I gave birth to my daughter as a teenager, which statistically makes me more prone to more negatives than positives when looking at the bigger picture. But, what I would consider failure in our family system is if my daughter was to go without, if I couldn’t parent her the way I intend too: with manners and values and kindness. Failure would be a system that didn’t support or honor my hard work as a single parent and didn’t offer me the same kind of services as 2 parent households. Though I wouldn’t consider failure to be extended members of my family stepping in to help parent my daughter. As a single parent, living solo, attending school, active in volunteering and raising a 4 year old, stress and juggling gets to be extremely difficult. And having a family system to depend on only makes me stronger as a parent and woman.

Is the family doomed? Depends on who you ask. Ask me, and I say that we as a society need to come together and reexamine our own beliefs and realize that society is much more than the image we have in our heads. We need to recommit to establishing a solid foundation for all family systems regardless of race, age, gender, or sexual orientation. We need to recommit to our children. And we need to recommit to ourselves. With the proper guidance and support, families are not doomed; however the path to a stronger system will not be easy. But, you have to fight for what you want, right?



  1. Family to me has never been about man or woman mother or father but rather the values that are taught in the home by whoever is raising the child. I was raised by my Grandparents and they were the only family I ever knew. They raised me with great values and taught me to not only love and respect myself but others as well.

    Having said all of that, children I believe are better off in solid two parent homes than one parent homes unless the parent is the father. Women tend to be weaker and are preyed on this society when other men see them living alone trying to raise children.

  2. A family with two parents, mother and father are rare, especially with black families. I hope people stay together, for the kids in relationships now and in the future

  3. I so agree that family is what you believe it is and not a set of images and explanations from society of what family is. Take for example someone who is in foster care who has no idea who mom, dad or siblings are much less cousins, grandma, granddad, aunties, uncles or cousins. So what is family then when you don’t have that stereotypical view of family. Love this article. you guys are really doing some really interesting articles and are becoming more interesting as we love our celebrities, but with the focus on black women issues, you are a step above the rest and becoming extraordinary in your journalistic endeavors. Keep up the great work. May God’s blessings run you down and overtake you in Jesus name.

  4. Family is a beautiful thing. But for me it’s a husband and wife with the children but I do agree witht he other people family is what you make it. So believe in family and you will probably have one but don’t believe in it and you probably won’t have one.

  5. I commend you Alexandra…you’re a very good writer…as long as we realize that it takes a village…our family will beautifully thrive…a two parent home is the ideal, but doesn’t always work out that way! I believe the black family is in peril because of how our teen girls and young women are treated today…all the guys together at the mall…the ones who may have a job…they’re not even dating, just having sex…the parents are either unaware or don’t care…my heart goes out because all many girls think they have are their bodies…marriage isn’t even in the picture, they don’t even have boyfriends, just booty calls…or the ones with the live-ins and footing all the bills…often under abusive circumstances…so many have violated…molested…so we must build stronger systems and safety nets as you’ve stated!

  6. @Cynthia
    I take exception to how you condemn all men as just having sex
    you think by seeing a few guys you know who do that you speak for all men and women it is your narrow type mind which has alot of sista’s twisted about men i for one respect and treat women good aslong as its reciprocated to many times a brotha has to put up with sista’s with the attitude they can walk all over and treat a guy like dirt and then expect him to pick her up and pay all her bills well those days are over mutual respect is the key if you don’t got that then don don’t complain when you get what you give out peace

  7. Family is relative. There is no right or wrong type of family. My sis and I were raised in a nuclear family in the south. My folks have been married nearly 40 years … but I realize that most families in the U.S. don’t look like mine. Through college and my adult life, I’ve met people raised by single mothers, single fathers, two men, two women, their grandparents, an aunt and an uncle and in a few cases older siblings. All are well adjusted, successful people. It would be great to say that all kids who come in nuclear families are going to be better off, but I’ve seen enough dysfunctional nuclear fams to know that that isn’t the case. As long as the caregivers love the kids and are providing a stable home that is supportive … it’s a family. I am a big supporter of all successful families and I hope to have my own someday.

  8. The nuclear family no longer exists for anyone. The new family consists of 2 moms, 2 dads, dad and girlfriend, mom and “uncle”, mom and real uncle or mom and grandma (as in my home).I do think the black family is falling to the wayside and we really need to breath life back into them. Even if mom and dad aren’t married the family still should be united.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  9. I agree that we need to refocus on our children and come off the mental picture of what a family is suppose to be based on society. Family is what you make it.

Comments are closed.