Essay on Modern Family Structures: Changes in Nuclear and Extended Families

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  785 Words
Date:  2023-01-26

Different cultures have different family systems. In Canada, the United States, and a significant part of Europe, the nuclear family predominates. In almost all the other parts of the world, the extended family members are taken to be family. There has been a change in the family structure.

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In northern Europe and North America, there has been a reported increase in nuclear families and a decrease of the extended families. Additionally, there has also been an increase in divorced families, unmarried families, homosexual families, and unwedded mothers. There has also been an increase in nuclear families, generally in the world (Watson, 2004). The current paper will discuss the movie "Home for the holidays." The film is about a thanksgiving family reunion, which is attended by some of the family members. The movie is neither a drama nor a comedy. However, it has both elements, just like many other family reunions. The paper will assess the culture, characteristics, and the family system illustrated by the movie.

The movie starts with Claudia Larson, who is fired from her job. She travels from Chicago to her parents' home in Baltimore to spend a thanksgiving ceremony together with her family. Kitt, who is her only daughter, decides to remain behind to spend time with her boyfriend. While traveling in the airplane, Claudia calls her younger brother Tommy and informs him that she is heading home and that she has lost her job (Benson & Pleck, 2001). Adelle and Henry Larson are Claudia's parents. Tommy arrives with Leo Fish, who happens to be his new friend, but Claudia believes that he is Tommy's new boyfriend. Claudia fears that Tommy had broken up with Jack, who was his boyfriend. The following day is witnessed by the arrival of more family members, including Aunt Glady, who happens to be Adelle's sister. Joan Larson is the next to arrive, and she is Claudia's sister.

The family has a culture of thanksgiving ceremonies, whereby they come together for a thanksgiving ceremony as a family. This is seen to be a culture that has been in place for an extended time because the family members do not have to be told to attend, but they know that they should attend. Both families that where Adelle comes from and that of Henry Larson have similar ethnic traits as both follow the same culture of organizing and attending family thanksgiving as illustrated by aunt Glady, who attends the thanksgiving ceremony despite that she is a distant member of the family (Dunning, 1998).

This influences the social, cultural aspect as Leo Fish, who is not a member of the family, can know the people around him, who are Tommy's family, together with their traditions. The environmental aspect comes in because Leo Fish can adapt to the environment with the madness that characterizes it, although he is new in the place (Dunning, 1998).

In terms of communication, the family does not communicate much when away from each other, although Tommy and Claudia communicate well. We also learn that Claudia and Tommy are not in excellent communication with their sister Joanne. Parents lack power in decision-making for their kids, as illustrated by Claudia not being able to prevent her daughter Kitt from having sex with her boyfriend after she told her. Additionally, Claudia is seen to have failed in her role as a parent because she is not able to guide and advise her daughter appropriately (Dunning, 1998).Family values seem to be negative. Although the family can come together and celebrate, we notice that some of the values are negative. Such values include disrespect; for example, Tommy and Claudia do not respect their sister Joanne. Other values that are not good include those of Henry Larson kissing aunt Glady, who is a sister to his wife. We can also see Leo and Claudia leaving together, despite Leo being Tommy's boyfriend (Benson & Pleck, 2001).

The child-rearing practice in this movie can be attributed to poor parenting. This can be illustrated by Claudia not having a problem with her daughter experiencing sex for the first time as a teenager. Although this is wrong, Claudia seems to be okay with it.


The family seems to have a good culture of holding family thanksgiving ceremonies during holidays. However, the family lacks proper communication and the right values. For instance, Adelle and Henry are not happy to learn that Tommy and Jack had a wedding ceremony without informing them. Henry has wrong values as illustrated by him kissing his wife's sister.


Benson, S., & Pleck, E. (2001). Home for the Holidays. The Women's Review Of Books, 18(5), 23. doi: 10.2307/4023610

DUNNING, S. (1998). Home for the holidays. Nursing, 28(12), 88. doi: 10.1097/00152193-199812000-00036

Watson, S. (2004). Respecting cultural differences. North Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media.

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