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Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society by Mary Ann Lamanna - Essay Example

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‘Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society’ by Mary Ann Lamanna and Agnes Riedman is a book that forms an important social document that serves to understand the subtleties and intricacies of family life and marital relationships. …
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Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society by Mary Ann Lamanna
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Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society by Mary Ann Lamanna
‘Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society’ by Mary Ann Lamanna and Agnes Riedman is a book that forms an important social document that serves to understand the subtleties and intricacies of family life and marital relationships. Though the book is an extensive coverage of the American way of living and relationships, yet it can be implemented in every society, irrespective of time, class and strata. The book contains the following key issues:
Same Sex Marriage - The book by Lamanna dedicates a special chapter on same sex marriage. Lamanna and Agnes, both are supportive of same sex marriage. But the authors place the contention strongly that man is essentially a social animal and certain conventional codes of society should be adhered when two people are into a relationship and specially when unified with a marital relation. The child adoption or parenting and legalities pertaining to a marriage of same sex should be taken with great care and strictly scrutinized according to Lamanna and Agnes, especially in terms of adoption for same sex parents. The upbringing of the child also should be given due attention as the child may not get normal sociological and psychological response in regards to the unconventional parenting.
Cohabitation - Cohabitation has emerged as a new form of family structure and life style process and the choice of this kind of structure or life style is considerably increasing every passing day. During the decade 1990 to 2000 there has been a considerable growth in number of couples and their household to 72%, according to Simmons and O’Connell. In the book ‘Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society’, trends of cohabitation have been discussed thoroughly along with its effect on society or psychology. Cohabitation is viewed as an alternative to marriage rather than a transitory process. Cohabitation process decreases the trend of marriage and this can in turn consequently affect the social structure. Statistics also show in this book that more than 40% of the heterosexual cohabiting couples stay with children under eighteen in the year of 2003. These children are basically form the previous marriage or relationships. These children are also a great concern for the society and they should be provided with extra care as they too do not get normal environment for growth.
Single Parenting - Single parenting is another major issue in the contemporary social context which is addressed in the book. The increase in the single parenthood is increasing and this is becoming inevitable as the society is gaining more space and liberty. Individuals will always have the right to rare up their children, the way they like. In case of separations too, single-parenting is gaining preference. Also a poignant trend is noticed since the later half of the 90’s that many people are choosing to adopt children and rare them up single-handedly. Under these circumstances and transitions, society encounters change which has to be dealt carefully. The issue of single parenting is indeed a delicate one. Pre-marital single parentship is also noticed and under the strict vigilance of the legal authorities, the children are given economic rights in these cases so that the property they ought to inherit; is not misused if the parent bereaves.
Adoption - Adoption is indeed noble activity but legalities should be maintained properly for the purpose. The issue becomes sensitive when the child adopted, grows up and in this plain, the psychological care also gains importance. Strict adherence to the law regarding the inheritance of property for the case of adoption should be maintained and in case there are other biological child of the couple or single parent then due guidelines for the property inheriting and other areas should be followed in accordance with the legislation.
Abortion - In many societies, especially in the eastern civilization, abortion is considered as taboo and a social crime. However, in the West it is quite an acceptable idea and consequently, the rate of abortion is also increasing. In Christianity, abortion is strongly opposed yet this issue is vital. Poverty and aging family is also another cause for increasing abortions. Heterosexual couple and life-style always have the open choice for abortion and many a times, this affect the society greatly.
Bi-racial adoption - Bi-racial adoption is a very alarming trend in the contemporary society. Many celebrities seek for it which is increasing the craze and tendency for bi-racial adoption. Bi-racial adoption can lead to many complications and the process itself is quite complex, although no such harsh regulations from legislative end is placed over bi-racial adoption. Care should be taken that bi-racial adoption should not harm the ethnic structure of any country and become a major problem in the path of conserving ethnic tradition or heritage.
Spanking and Discipline - Punishment – free discipline is supported in the book which saves the parents from spanking their children which usually accompanies many other effective disciplinary methods. Harsh punitive measures are not at all encouraged under any circumstances and it should be avoided as much as possible.
Communal Living - Presently, society offers myriad kind of living procedures. Communal living forms a bond or tie like a family and supports cosmopolitan culture. It evokes the feeling of sharing and togetherness and is a very positive way of life style. The open space provided in the communal living is quite beneficial and couples and individuals can opt for marriage or divorce much freely. They can have children biologically and can even follow the procedure of adoption. The idea of communal living is indeed great but the processes too have certain complexities.
Grandparents as Parents - Grandparents comprise the formative shelter for the children basically for those having working parents. Mostly in Indian societies and also to a great extent in non-Indian societies, grandparents also bear responsibilities of the children in case the parents die or get separated. In these cases, there are respective legislature for property inheritance and socially too they should be handled with delicacy.


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Lamanna, Mary Ann & Riedmann, Agnes. Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society. Cengage Learning, 2008. Read More
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