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Family Values

  • By: Gayle Letherby
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term family values has been used with both positive and negative connotations. When used negatively to comment on the current state of society and individuals, it refers to a lack of family values, which is seen to contribute to the breakdown of not only the family itself, but ethical behavior in society more generally. This leads to a call for the return of family values. The term is also intended more positively as a political and social belief that hold the nuclear family—a father, mother, and their children living together—to be the essential, ethical, and moral unit of society.

This concept of the ideal family is promoted in legal, social, religious, and economic systems in that it is reflected in advertising, government, and housing and ...

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