Your e-mails: The family of the future
Fewer kids or more kids, traditional families or gay parents
Some of you suggested families parented by gays or lesbians would find more acceptance in the future.
(CNN) -- As part of our Welcome to the Future special report, we recently asked for your thoughts on the future of the family.
This week, we are publishing a selection of your e-mails, which predict a range of changes, from more single men adopting children to a resurgence in traditional family values to declining birthrates to the increased acceptance of gay marriage.
Here is a sampling of your responses, some of which have been edited. (Read more about CNN's special report exploring the realities of the future)
More single guys will become dads by adoption. This is a win-win situation for kids sitting in orphanages or foster care and for the potential dads out there who want to be parents, but don't want to get married. Single women have been doing this for years. This is one of the last ways that the definition of family can change in large numbers. I am a single guy and have two boys I adopted from Vietnam in 1998 and 2001.
Family life in the coming years will look more like it did in the past. With rising costs of housing, land, and utilities, more extended families will be created. Grandmothers and grandfathers will live with mothers, fathers, and children to help make ends meet.
Unfortunately, I feel that the family of the future will be spinning in their own personal electronic worlds. iPods, gaming, Blackberries, computers, etc. This is sad to me because we will have lost the era of actually sitting down and spending quality time with our family members without the interruption of things that can be plugged in.
Today, we see women waiting till their late 30s and 40s to have children. This is going to lead to problems in the teen and college years, when parents begin to feel their age while children need their support the most. This will lead, in turn, to a reverse trend, in which the next generation seeks family first. Younger parents will also foster an increase in the average family size, up from two now to three or more in the future.
The model for the future I see is one of smaller, more autonomous, traditional, and homogenous communities and families (like Scandinavia, but for all ethnicities). This future will not forget the political battles fought to give minorities and women their rights. As such, homosexual couples will enjoy ever increasing public recognition and legitimacy. The future may look like the past, but a past that was based on consent and choice rather than abuses of power.
I believe that the family life that I grew up with will be over with in 20 years. As the gay community tries to seek legal marriage, the straight community will stop the practice and the divorce rate will continue to climb as the morals of the U.S. decline.
Definitely fewer children. I grew up in Russia, where stay-at-home mom was virtually eliminated about 90 years ago by a swift Communist decree: "Who does not work, does not eat!" My grandma worked, my mom worked, and I did not know any kid whose mom did not. Then there was a shortage of apartments, and that forced young families to live with their parents or in the single room in a shared apartment. My family lived in a single room until I was 12. Now, is it surprising that I am the only child, as well as my husband? As more women will work outside of the home and housing prices will rise in the U.S., we will see fewer children in families.
I see gay marriage and gay families as being embraced by society. Given time, people will accept that the definitions of family and marriage should allow for variations on the "traditional."
I see a lot of changes coming, as the definition of family has already been changing for the last 30 years. These changes, like all social change, will not come easily. But, in the long run, I see them as advancements. I see a greater respect for the rights of children as individuals. Hopefully this will raise a generation that, itself, has greater respect for individual rights. I see greater choice for individuals in defining just what a family is, and more choices is always a plus.
Concerning the declining birthrate; those who reproduce will rule over those who don't. It's simple math. The West had better wake up.
Plural/group marriage will be legal, so those in non-monogamous and/or polyamorous relationships can form group legal commitments.
In light of the fact that this generation is rejecting the failed social conventions of the baby-boomers, which led to high single parent family rates and rampant drug use, AND the growing population of morally conservative Latinos in this nation, I believe there will be a resurrection of traditional families in this nation. Make no mistake; this generation feels like they were guinea pigs in their parents social experimentation and resent it greatly.
I think marriage will disappear as a viable institution in the next 20 years. Only religious-centric groups will continue marriage according to their beliefs.
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