1. In your own words, explain McLanahan and Sandefurs arguments about how growing up with a single parent affects children, and Gersons argument about family pathways and how they are different from family structure. Then discuss whether the arguments are in conflict with each other or complementary, clearly stating your reasoning. Finally, discuss how you think a focus on either family structure or family pathways might contribute to different understandings of how best to support children when their parents dont stay together.
2. Since the beginning of the semester weve been investigating the relationships between economic trends and family patterns. Based on Cherlins Labors Love Lost, describe the economic shifts that began in the 1970s and explain how they are related to the growing gaps in family experiences and patterns by social class in U.S. families today described by both Cherlin and Carlson & England. In addition to the general discussion, focus on at least two specific family trends (i.e. marriage, non-marital births, divorce, cohabitation, etc. ). Describe each trend and explain how it is related to economic changes.
3. Explain the logic of why policy makers have considered single parenthood to be an issue that requires government intervention in the U.S., and what they have done to address the growing trend of single parent families, drawing on Promises I Can Keep and the readings on Welfare Reform. Finally, discuss how the findings and conclusions of Promises I Can Keep could inform efforts and approaches by policy makers to affect issues associated with the rise in single parenthood. What would help and why? Make sure to support your responses with examples and evidence from the book about connections between marriage and childbearing, and the meaning of motherhood and marriage for poor women.
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