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What Constitutes a Family and a Household? How do Families Spend Time Together and How Does That Influence the Voluntary Sector?
To get back to our strategic planning research on how relevant trends might impact our organization and the larger volunteering sector another topic we researched was the role of Families/Households and how family values and cultural roles impact volunteering.
In order to research family volunteering we must figure out first what constitutes a family. From the Pew Research Center: Social and Demographic Trends’ “The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families” report, 86% say a single parent and child constitute a family; nearly as many (80%) say an unmarried couple living together with a child is a family; and 63% say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family.
The definition of family is changing and evolving with our ever-changing culture. These shifting definitions are reflected through the use of new technology like Facebook and online profiles replicate real life attitudes toward what is considered a family and a relationship. Facebook has recently added new relationship status options like “civil union” and “domestic partnership” to be more inclusive to reflecting relationships in the world today.
With family values changing, volunteering is changing and ways in which families engage in volunteering. Parents and guardians, even siblings all have a large influence on their family and they provide critical role models for civic behavior. Found in Circle’s “The Civic and Political Health of the Nation: A Generational Portrait” report, released 2002 young people who were raised in homes where someone volunteered (43% of all youth) are highly involved themselves.
- Marriage is no longer viewed as the main path to family formation (The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families)
- Spending time with family is a practice that is generally declining (How American Children Spend Their Time)
- More meal time at home was the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and few behavioral problems (How American Children Spend Their Time)
- Daily meal time/dinner time is a major way in which families spend time together(How American Children Spend Their Time)
- Household sizes are expected to decrease as the baby boom ages (The United States in 2020 is a very different place)
- Found from Family Relations’ “Single Versus Two Parent Families: A Comparison of Mothers' Time,” released 1986: one of the major problems faced by single parent families is a parent’s social isolation including loneliness
How does family volunteering reflect and incorporate the varying definitions and new cultural technology shifts? How do the changing roles and responsibilities of family members influence their roles in family volunteering?