Changes in the world today are felt at the most intimate levels of society—within the home, in families and between parent and child. Families have undergone a history of transformation parallel to modern society and its shifting moral, ideological, and psychological stances. In the compromise of their integrity as well as the essential socialization functions they provide, the breakdown of family on a micro level leads to the breakdown of civilization on a macro level. Without family as the incubator for social, emotional, and moral well-being, civilization is unable to pass on its worldview to children and thrive.
What is a family? changes to structure and functionality of families in the last 300 years
In the 20th century, sociologists determined 5 basic social functions of the family:
Probably the most well-known researcher in child psychology, Talcott Parsons, emphasized 2 “irreducible functions” of the family as a social institution:
Parsons explains how the family incubates a child’s understanding and practice of the culture of the society into which they have been born and the patterns of social values which inevitably define institutionalized patterns of the society. Our kids are thrust into an environment where the value system of the home does not match that of broader society. What we risk is passing on to our children a hybrid and weak value system that cannot withstand the inevitable questions and conflicts that arise in the course of their life (i.e. identity crisis).
Western parents have been caught in a state of “superimposed anxiety,” bombarded with conflicting and contradictory ‘expert’ advice— or “psychiatric imperialism.”  In reaction to behavioral and progressive prescriptions that focused on the “parent’s power to deform the child,” society unburdened parents of the responsibility. The underlying conception of emotional intelligence was not fully developed and suggested that it is “important for a child to know what he feels rather than why he feels it.”
Gradually, parents—themselves facing a crisis of self—were convinced to almost completely relinquish their roles as caregivers and in child-rearing. They outsourced this role largely to the state and private institutions as Mark Gerzon notes: “obstetricians take charge at birth; pediatricians are responsible for child’s ailments and cures; the teacher for his intelligence;…the supermarket and food industry for his food; television for his myths.”
There has been an “invasion of the family by industry, the mass media, and the agencies of socialized parenthood,” which has “altered the quality of parent-child connection” and led to a collapse in parental authority and confidence. Another view of this widely acknowledged collapse of parenting is that it is as a reflection of “the collapse of ancient impulse controls” and the shift “from a society in which Super-Ego values (the values of self-restraint) were ascendant, to one in which more and more recognition was being given to the values of the id (the values of self-indulgence.)”
Ultimately, with the rise of the nuclear family and the continual reduction of the extended family alongside the shifting ideas on parenting, a “new and anomic psycho-social order” premised on ideas of individualism has emerged.
Conclusions—the end of family?
Our communities know well the state of their own families. We have not been immune to the changes in ideology, economy, and morality that have affected broader society. Our solutions and conclusions from this evidence will be to return to the sources of Divine knowledge and apply them responsibly to our world today. However, many researchers and experts in the West, like Castells, have already called it quits. They argue that 4 major trends are pointing to the end of family as we know it (or understand it to be…)
Despite the changes in size, make-up, roles, and interpersonal relationships of families, studies maintain that broader social “cohesion and solidarity is manifested primarily in the family” and that “individuals define themselves in relation to the family they belong; the sense of belonging plays an important role in terms of assuming various roles within the family” and later in society. However, the changing patterns of ‘family’ in Western history illustrate the slow breakdown of society at a number of levels and specifically impacting our children whose personality and sense of self have traditionally depended on a stable family and home environment.
 Parsons, Talcott, and Robert Freed Bales. (2007). Family, Socialization and Interaction Process. Routledge, p. 16
Lasch, Christopher. (2018). The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations p176
 Ibid. p 161
 Aries, Philippe. (1981). The Hour of Our Death. Knopf.
 Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999. Print. p195
 Ibid. p 163
 Ibid. p. 167
 Ibid. p. 168
 Ibid. p 177
 Mintz, Steven. (2006). Huck's Raft: a History of American Childhood. Belknap Press of Harward University Press.
 Ibid. p 197
 Parsons, Talcott, and Robert Freed Bales. (2007). Family, Socialization and Interaction Process