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Are Families Dangerous?

The family is the first institution of the five basic social institutions. It is responsible for developing the behavior of each person to be interactive individuals in society. It is responsible for supplying the basic needs of each person during their development.

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Unfortunately, the image of family has been deteriorated considerably. Instead of being a system support for people, it has become a double edged sword. Society is at fault for how bad the concept of family is today. It is just takes watching the news on television or to reading the newspaper to realize this.

We can see headlines like “Father abused his daughter”, “Woman is victim of domestic violence”, “Child suicide due to family problems”, among others. These are the many of the issues that top the news. For the journalist and social critic, Barbara Ehrenreich, families are dangerous. In her essay “Are Families Dangerous? ” the author cites several cases and news about families to validate her thesis. I agree with what she establishes in her essay. Ehrenreich begins her essay talking about the Menendez brothers’ case, in which the brothers killed their parents.

Then, she lists more examples, like the famous case of former football player OJ Simpson. She says that family, instead of being a source of protection and love is a dysfunctional place. She also talks about the pro-family campaigns that politicians support. There are millions of people who claim to be pro-family but there are also a millions of people who attend family therapy to deal with their childhood traumas mostly created by their own families. She also, talks about the tradition of thinking about the “anti-family” and she explains the meaning of this term with examples.

She mentions that for a family to be dangerous it does not necessarily mean that physical or verbal abuse exists. Other attitudes like disinterest, unconcern and even culture can influence in making a family dangerous. Finally, she establishes that families can pretend one thing that they really are not. Maintaining their tension inside so that the others cannot see it is something that can greatly impact in a negative way the family unit converting it into a dangerous one. However, when she says “Parents abuse sons – allegedly at least, in the Menendez case – who in turn rose up and kill them. I remembered a similar and very shocking case that happened in Puerto Rico, “The Aguada?s Matricide”. Lillian Enid Medina Hernandez was a fourteen year old girl when she killed her mother. Many people described her as a talented student from a good family. Allegedly, Lillian Enid was under the influence of controlled substances at the time of killing her strict mother. The motive of the crime was that she wanted to steal her mother’s money to go buy more drugs. How can a teenager kill the woman who gave her life and raised her?

Why did a talented young girl decide to throw away her future this way? Why did this happen within a family, which for many people was a “perfect” family? These are questions that many people asked and many are still wondering. Most likely we are not able to know which factors attributed this crime to occurred. Maybe it was a family with a lot of internal problems that knew very well how to hide and showed the world what a “happy family” they were. There are very strict parents, who are like this for the good of their children.

Some parents go beyond being strict become dictators, and that is when come conflicts with the children. Being adolescence is a very dangerous stage; most teenagers are not mature enough to understand why parents make certain decisions. They key to a good family relationship is communication. Sharing time with their children and always hear them when they want to talk with them. On the other hand, the author also says; “… early feminist saw a degrading parallel between marriage and prostitution. ” In some cultures of the world, marriage is a certain arrangement between families.

This means that parents decide who their children will marry. They have no right to choose their partner. Many Middle Eastern countries carry out this type of arrangement. In most cases, the most affected are women. Her parents force her to marry the husband that they choose. Many weddings are among nine years old or more girls with older men who could be their fathers. Besides the cultural factor, there is also a monetary factor, men buying girls as wives. Even worse still is that their parents allow it.

I recently read a story, “The Nuyud Case”, documented by Delphine Minoui, a writer and journalist. The story is about a ten years old Yemeni girl, named Nuyud, who filed for divorce from her husband who is forty years old. Nuyud went to court to apply for divorce claiming that her husband abused her sexually. Thanks to a judge who took pity on her, the divorce was granted. This was a historic event for women in Yemen since this is a country where women have few rights. With the divorce of Nuyud, it was shown that there is hope for women in that country.

Nuyud explained that her parents forced her to marry her husband because he had a good economic status. It’s amazing how parents can force their daughters to marry just for money. At that age they are supposed to be playing with dolls and enjoying their childhood. Her parents were guilty for the misery of the poor Nuyud, who was fortunately able to free herself from the abuse. Her family, instead of protecting and giving love to her, pushed her into the misfortune. Families are dangerous, although it should not be generalized because there may be a minority of families that are not dangerous.

The basis for a good family relationship is communication. Appearances are often deceptive, so there is no perfect family. A dangerous family is not only a home where there is a lot of violence; it may also be a home where attitudes can help a family become dangerous like Nuyud’s case. Women should be treated equal to men. Parents should contribute to the good development of their children to be good people in society. Children must understand that the discipline will take them very far in life.

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