What are the consequences of the break-up of family life in many countries today?
In recent years, almost all countries have witnessed a gradual disintegration of the family unit. The concept of the ‘nuclear’ family, often living together and sharing resources, has been given up in favour of a single-unit household. Since large, extended families often served only to contribute to agrarian earnings, they dissolved to cater to the needs of the urban-industrial era.
Today, small families, (often with a single parent) are common. The divorce rate and the number of illegitimate children are also in the rise. Senior citizens are no longer a part of their families, and are left at the mercy of private and public "old person's homes". Children, too, leave home at an early age, for independence or income.
To meet the needs of the so called "rat race", often both parents have to work. Therefore children often spend their formative years without the care and guidance offered by parents. "Latch-key" children have independence thrust upon them when they most need care. They are often resentful of their parents, to a degree that they tend to do the same to their own children.
Children without supervision or children left wanting care and nurturing, tend to behave in ways that are socially and morally repugnant. It has been shown in studies worldwide that at least 85% of children under the age of eighteen dabbling in drugs such as marijuana and opium, come from "broken homes" or are "latch key" children, in households where both parents work.
Crime is increasing dramatically. Juvenile crime has probably shown the greatest rise. This is because, left unsupervised, children have the freedom to watch uncensored media, which is often violent or pornographic. Homicide, rape, vandalism or robbery by teenagers is no longer shocking.
In the East, a "joint family system" is still the norm. Values are imbibed through the experience of "elders", instead of personal experimentation. Skills and morals alike are drilled into impressionable young minds. The result of this is that Eastern society is perhaps not as rank with evil as the degenerate West.
Because of the stifling pressures of modern living in the West, people do not have time for one another. Social and cultural values are not instilled into the individual by parental force, so each generation emerges the more immoral. It is a vicious circle. Studies in the United States have shown that children given up for adoption, despite the pain and betrayal they feel, as grownups with children of their own, tend to give them up for adoption, too. Similarly, a child who has not known the affection and security afforded by a parent′s care, will not know how to provide his own children with the same.
Promiscuity and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the increase all over the world, but especially so in countries where the collapse of family life is most significant. Lax moral values are often bred by a lack of adult concern. This in turn ironically perpetuates the same insecurity in the children resulting from such liaisons.
More often than not, religion is "born into" and not acquired. As a result of this, religious values are breaking down. With this have inevitably emerged various other "isms" to quench man′s need to worship an institution higher than him. Money, Power, Prestige: these are the gods of today, creating in modern man a lust unmatched by ancient religious deities. People will stoop to any nadir of degradation to amass what they crave most.
The breakdown of family life is largely the result of each person serving his personal altar of self-aggrandisement. However, if it is not checked in the future, it may create disastrous consequences which are often irredeemable.