ICONIC AMERICAN FAMILY AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM.
Certain problems are universal in all human societies: the need to provide for the nurturance of children, the need to provide children with adult role models of the same sex, the need for cooperation between the sexes, and the need to control sexual relations. Because these are all interrelated, it is logical that they should be dealt with in the context of a single institution, the family. Every society in the world created some form of it, and every person is or was a member of some family. It gives them an atmosphere of acceptance, intimacy, support, and trust regardless of the kind of society they were brought up in and the times they happened to live in. .
There are many types of families including special biological, psychological, and social linkages. Biologically we are all alike since everyone has a biological mother and father. This kind of conjugal bond with at least one child is called nuclear family. American families typically have what is called a modified extended family structure. When couples marry they are likely to form a household separate from either set of parents. Yet they maintain close ties with their families of orientation (the ones where most basic early childhood experiences and learning occur). While the newly created nuclear family units do not reside in an extended family household (with parents), they do exchange phone calls, letters, and holiday or birthday greetings and turn to one another for assistance. In this sense a nuclear family becomes a modified form of an extended one. Therefore, American families tend to be small and, compared with other countries, rather isolated. Moreover, marital and family roles for men and women are overlapping more and more; love is emphasized in mate selection; and divorce is granted easily. Most marriages are between people of roughly the same age, though people are free to marry someone considerably older or younger within the legal limits determined by each state.