Sociologists view marriage and families as societal institutions that help create the basic unit of social structure. Both marriage and a family may be defined differently—and practiced differently—in cultures across the world. Families and marriages, like other institutions, adapt to social change. People’s concepts of marriage and family in the United States are changing. Changes in cohabitation, divorce, same-sex parents and unwed parents are changing our view of the family. The purpose of this discussion is to examine several changes that are occurring within families in the United States.

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As discussed in your textbook, over the last several decades the traditional family has been changing. Describe these changes. Discuss at least two ways the American family has changed in the last several decades, such as single-parent households, cohabitation, rates of divorce, same-sex couples, and staying single.
How do sociological factors help to explain the changes? How might these changes affect the lives of children?
What is your opinion toward cohabitation? Do you feel it is appropriate for couples to live together before marriage? Do you feel cohabitation will lead to a stronger, happier marriage? Why or why not? What do studies show about the relationship between cohabitation, divorce, and domestic violence?
Expectations and Criteria for Success:

Your discussion post should answer each question above in at least two to four sentences. You initial post should be at least 8 to 9 sentences in length. Successful posts will answer each question with specific examples and details from the assigned sources.
After your initial post, you should respond to at least two classmates’ posts. All posts should be encouraging and respective with proper grammar usage.
Successful replies will reference course materials and contribute new points of discussion. Your discussion posts should provide in-text citations for any paraphrased and/or directly quoted material. Parenthetical references at the end of the sentence using said material is sufficient. Use accurately one style of citations (MLA, ASA, or APA).
Please refer to the Lesson 7 Discussion: Family (LO5) for more specific criteria to attain maximum discussion score.

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