By Stephanie Coontz
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Additional info for The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999); E. M. Hetherington, S. Henderson, and D. Reiss, Adolescent Siblings in Stepfamilies: Family Functioning and Adolescent Adjustment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Series 259, v. 64, 1999). For a critique of overgeneralizations about the eﬀects of family structure, see Judith Stacey, "Dadaism in the Nineties: Getting Past 30 of 358 04/07/2014 07:00 PM The Way We Never Were: American Families And...
This represent an actual increase in rates of abuse or a heightened consciousness about the problem? During the same period, parents' self-reports about very severe violence toward their children declined 47 percent. 2' Assessing the direction of family change is further complicated because many contemporary trends represent a reversal of developments that were themselves rather recent. The expectation that the family should be the main source of personal fulﬁllment, for example, was not traditional in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as we shall see in chapter 5.
In a typical recent poll, for example, 71 percent of respondents said they were "very satisﬁed" with their own family life, but more than half rated the overall quality of family life as negative: "I'm okay; you're not. 1129 This seemingly schizophrenic approach does not reﬂect an essentially intolerant attitude. People worry about families, and to the extent that they associate modern social ills with changes in family life, they are ambivalent about innovations. Voters often defeat measures to grant unmarried couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the same rights as married ones.