The Future of Families

  • Barbara H. Settles

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine ideas about families in the future from the viewpoints of both what is likely and what may be possible. Families are shaped by the legacies of their past, the currencies of the moment, and their theories of the future. They live with the outcomes of past decisions and commitments and have long-term investments in the future. The roles that families have in shaping the greater destinies of the society as a whole are often acknowledged in the various political uses of family as a concept and references to family values. The use of family as a building block of social order is another indication of its potential influence. However, in most studies of families or family policy the families themselves are treated as a dependent variable affected by greater social and economic forces. Therefore, families are not seen as even an interactive variable. In contrast, this chapter examines how families may influence outcomes in the larger social context, relevant to their own lives. Perception is itself a powerful force both in behavior and in forming future perceptions. Beliefs held about the future are important determinants of outcomes. To make a plan may increase its probable likelihood of happening. To care about the future for as yet unborn generations is a particularly familistic outlook.

Keywords

Foster Care Family Therapy Family Relation American Family Family Diversity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara H. Settles
    • 1
  1. 1.Individual and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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