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Family Values


It is not that some families have values and others do not, or that family values should be placed on the endangered list, or that there is a finite list of values that one can review to determine if a family has values or not. Family discourse about family values requires understanding the social context of families as well as the material conditions of families. Both influence present attitudes as well as expectations about the future. Valuing higher education is not an inherent condition, it is learned from those who have an expectation that its achievement will become a reality. Measuring leisure time spent with loved ones as an indicator of family values has validity only where the conditions provide family members discretionary time.

Although most people prefer to view the family as a private "haven in a heartless" world (Lasch 1977), the family is shaped by its social milieu. The political and economic environment exults or diminishes the family. The family's private troubles are connected to the public issues (Mills 1959). When the state enacts family-friendly policies, it exhibits a reverence for the institution of the family, reinforcing not only family values, but that the family is valued. Where it fails to do so, it contributes to family disintegration. Even at that, the family-values debate will continue.


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Other Resources

Gallup Poll Special Reports. (1997). "Global Study of Family Values." Gallup Poll News Service, Available from http://www.gallup.com/poll/specialReports/pollSummaries/Family.asp.

Kammerman, S. B. (2001). Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth, and Family Policies at Columbia University. Available from http://www.childpolicyintl.org.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily & Marriage TraditionsFamily Values - Cross-cultural Comparison: Pro Family Policies, Conclusion