The Untraditional ‘Normal’ Family Structure

Traditionally, a nuclear family unit comprising a father, a mother, and children was the acceptable form of family globally. However, over the years, the family structure has changed with more individuals raising children as single parents due to divorce or by personal choice (Bahk Eun-ji, 2021). Conversely, in Korea, there has been discrimination against people belonging to the non-traditional family structure. The government had deprived them of some privileges, such as a child could not have the woman’s surname unless agreed upon after marriage. Nonetheless, on 2nd May 2021, the Gender Equality and Family Minister announced the decision by the government to review the discriminative policies to embrace all family types.

The other article states that the number of children being raised by their grandparents in the U.S has doubled since the late 1970s (Henig, 2018). This article argues that the acceptance of untraditional families has brought forth being born of irresponsible or capable parents. Upon the break-up of a family unit, most children find themselves in the hands of their grandparents, an unpleasant condition (Henig, 2018).

According to Cowan and Cowan (2012), people debating public policy make it problematic by thinking that the only way to make them right is to prove the opposite idea wrong. The two articles above are polarized in the way explained by Cowan. First, the supporters of the untraditional families in Korea think that the government discriminates the modern families, which is wrongdoing. On the other hand, the writer of the second article believes that traditional families should be embraced as the modern or untraditional families leave most children to their grandparents, which is wrongdoing.

However, the debate would be different if people paid more attention to social processes rather than what is right and wrong. Considering the first argument where the Korean government intends to embrace all family types, the writer could have looked at the benefit the action would bring to the society rather than the harm that is already done. Also, the second debate can be changed by focusing on social processes in that the writer could have considered the benefits children and grandchildren get from their interaction when left behind by parents who go in search of greener pastures.


Bahk Eun-ji (2021). Korea moving to embrace diverse family types. Korea Times. Web.

Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (2012). Normative family transitions, couple relationship quality, and healthy child development. In F. Walsh (Ed.), Normal family processes: Growing diversity and complexity (4th ed., pp. 428-451). New York: Guiford.

Henig, R. M. (2018). This is the age of grandparents. The Atlantic. Web.

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DemoEssays. "The Untraditional 'Normal' Family Structure." September 19, 2022.