The ideal family is changing in American society, and this different image may not be the most positive influence on the development of an adolescent. Today in society, families are having fewer children, the rates of divorce are steadily increasing, and female head households are becoming more evident. With this change in family structure adolescents often turn to other environments for support, such as school and their peer groups. Although in many cases these environments may not always be the most beneficial for the adolescents . The idea of the "goodness-of-fit" model is concerned with how good of a fit there is between today's adolescents and the environments in which they live. Based on evidence there are many factors which are hindering the ideal "goodness-of-fit" in adolescents lives in our society today . .
The structure of the family is important because it provides special characteristics needed for adolescent development into adulthood. Currently in society there is not a good fit between adolescents and environmental factors that influence them. Particularly, with the new trend of family diversity, for example single parent households. "A concern related to this diversity is that increasing number of young people, especially adolescents; end up in family arrangements with fewer adults to provide guidance, modeling, and support." (Larsen, Wilson, Brown, Furstenberg, & Verma, 2002) This supports the idea that adolescents need positive reinforcement and role models to guide them especially during a time when they are unsure about their social status. When adolescents are not getting the support and the guidance that is necessary, this transition may not occur with the best outcomes, resulting in a poor fit for the adolescent. .
Families play a vital role in adolescent preparation and development into adulthood. "They are the most important institution in peoples interpersonal lives, yet they have been changing dramatically in ways that affect adolescent interpersonal experiences and what will be required as an adult.