Date of this Version
This NebGuide discusses strategies for strengthening interpersonal family relationships.
As the 20th century draws to a close, there has been increasing concern about the family's ability to cope with the multiple stressors and demands placed upon it. Is the family still capable of providing a safe, nurturing, and wholesome place where children can grow up to become competent, productive adults? The current divorce rate claims one in two first marriages. Alcoholism among adults and youth is a major social and family problem. Reports of domestic violence and child abuse have increased 500 - 700 percent in the past 25 years. Juvenile crime and gang violence seem to have mushroomed. Vandalism, theft, and youth dropping out of school have increased dramatically. In two-parent households with children, 80 percent of the mothers work outside the home. Some researchers suggest one-third to one-half of children will live part of their childhood in a single-parent household. Regardless of structure, a family that sustains, supports, and nourishes its members across its life cycle seems imperative.