Examine the ways in which laws and social policy affect family life.
Social policies consider the actions that the government take to make changes in society. Social policies are developed to help tackle social issues. There are some different views on policies, for example, from the New Right or New Labour. They have different views and during different times in society, views change. Some policies have a positive effect on the family and some have a negative effect on the family.
The New Right believe there was once a ‘Golden Age’ of the family where husbands and wives were strongly committed to each other for life. The children were brought up to respect their parents and social ...view middle of the document...
Feminists would say that this is wrong as it is devaluing women like it used to be. In 1991, the Child Support Act was created which said that an absent parent was expected to pay maintenance for children and this helped them to keep in touch with the family. This means that even if two parents did not like each other at all then they would still have to keep in touch. In 1999, the coordinated family policies were introduced, which is where the state sees the family as a private institution and therefore are reluctant to interfere.
Some people would criticise this because improved rights for women and children strengthen the family, not weaken it. Also, the traditional male family model has been undermined to improve the social and economic position of women – marital rape only became illegal in 1991. Children’s Acts would also criticise because they show that society works better with what they give rather than what the New Right think. Feminist Ann Oakley (1997) said that the New Right wrongly assume that men and women’s roles are fixed by biology. The New Right is negative reaction to feminism. The traditional nuclear family is based on the oppression of women. This causes gender inequality. There is little evidence to show neither that single parent families are part of a dependency culture nor that their children are likely to be any more delinquent.
New Labour, like the New Right favours strengthening the institution of marriage and regards a family headed by a married couple as normally the best place in which to bring up children. New Labour has also cut benefits to some lone parents too.
In 1999 New Labour produced the first set of comprehensive family policies since the birth of the welfare...