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The Working Single Mother Primary Care vs Secondary Care Comparing its structure and function as it was in 1960 with what it had become in 1990 can highlight the dramatic changes in the American family Until 1960 most Americans shared a common set of beliefs about family life family should consist of a husband and wife living together with their children The father should be the head of the family earn the familys income and give his name to his wife and children The mothers main tasks were to support and enable her husbands goals guide her childrens development look after the home and set a moral tone for the family Marriage was an enduring obligation for better or worse and this was due much to a conscious effort to maintain strong ties with children The husband and wife jointly coped with stresses As parents they had an overriding responsibility for the well being of their children during the early years-until their children entered school they were almost solely responsible Even later it was the parents who had the primary duty of guiding their childrens education and discipline Of course even in 1960 families recognized the difficulty of converting these ideals into reality Still they devoted immense effort to approximating them in practice As it turned out the mother who worked only minimally--was the parent most frequently successful in spending the most time with her children Consequently youngsters were almost always around a parental figure -- they were well-disciplined and often very close with the maternal parent who cooked for them played with them and saw them off to and home from school each day Over the past three decades these ideals although they are still recognizable have been drastically modified across all social classes Women have joined the paid labor force in great numbers stimulated both by economic need and a new belief in their capabilities and
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