COM 597 Research in Family Communication

Spring, 2012










Questions to Guide Your Reading of The Way We Never Were, Chps. 7-Epilogue

Don't forget your "remarkable" idea!

Chapter 7 (Skylar)

1. What are some of the changes in women's work over the years: 19th century, 1900-WWII, 1950s, 1960--1970s. What about now?

2.Do you believe women's work patterns changed because of feminism, collapse of family or economics? Or all?

3. "Thus we are haunted by doubt about our authenticity, our 'true feelings,' our very existence apart from the 'dazzling array of images,' with which we have surrounded ourselves," (p. 177). Is this statement true for today, too? Why?

Chapter 8

1. The author states, ". . .both marriage and childrearing occupy a smaller proportion of adults' lives than they did at any time in American history. They define less of a person's social identity, exert less influence on people's life-course decisions, and are less universal, exclusive, and predictable than ever before." (p. 185-186). Is this good or bad for families?

2. There seems to be a contradiction in Americans' treatment of sex. What is this contradiction and how does it affect sexual behavior?

3. Why is that "Teenagers with the fewest options, not the most, are those likely to get pregnant" (p. 204)?

4. What are the present statistics on teenage pregnancy (is it increasing etc.)?

Chapter 9 (Mackenzie)

1. What are your thoughts on the effects of parental behavior and parental choices during childhood and how they go on to result in "adult woes" (p.205) or not?

2. Coontz (2005) cites that there is a "fine line between overprotecting our children on one side and neglecting them on the other, building their self-esteem while introducing them to realistic criticism, loving them without smothering them, fostering independence without pushing them too fast" (p. 209). Do you feel this is the case? If so, how do parents decide the best way to navigate that line?

3. The term "dysfunctional families" is mentioned many times in this chapter. What are the characteristics of a "dysfunctional family"?

4. Coontz (2005) says that to her, "the truly dysfunctional thing about American parenting is that it is made out to be such a frighteningly pivotal, private, and exclusive job" (p. 210). If the idea that it is OK and acceptable to parent with the help of the community and/or extended kin was reintroduced, would family "dysfunction" decrease? Why or why not?

Chapter 10

1. According to Coontz, what is/are the primary problems for African American families?

2. What are the present statistics on graduation and income for white and black men and women?

3. What are the present statistics on poverty and family structure?

Chapter 11 and the Epilogue

What does Coontz seem to believe is needed to cope with the crisis she discusses? Is this crisis still present today? What can you do?