Asa social institution, the family forms the basis of a society. Infact, it exists to satisfy needs such as protection, economic andsocial wants, among others. The interactions and values adopted bythe family replicates to the wider society. As such, the members ofthe society behave according to the learnt behaviors from theirrespective families. Social interactions involve the components of asociety. Such interactions are guided several factors such ascultural values, traditions, language and human characteristics ofthe members in a given society. In any societal setting, there existindividuals with diverse characteristics that shape their interestsand desires. As a result, there emerge conflicts among the membersthat cause harm to individuals or society. The conflicts areavoidable with the formulation of considerate regulations thatconform to the needs of the contemporary world. Such regulations putemphasis on the need for understanding among the society’s membersand institutions.

Thepaper will examine the story of a young lady, Christine Carlson, whois divorced with a family of two. Christine is trying to cope withthe divorced and the fact that her eldest daughter is a lesbian. Thestory will be examined alongside the remarks given by Coontz aboutthe intolerance by the traditionalfamily.The information gathered from the readings is important in the futureengagements as an individual, family institution, and with othermembers in the society. It is evident that every individual has owninterests and values. Ending the culture of intolerance andstereotyping may not be an easy task since the society continues topretend about its existence and the danger it poses to the society.Elaborate rules, values, and institutions can help in eliminatingsocial conflicts and differences that cause social prejudices.

Identityand Social Institution

Inthe article, TheWay We Weren’t: The Myth and Reality of the ‘Traditional’Family,Coontz (2006) examines the misconceptions by the traditionalfamily.She observes that the traditionalfamilies werelargely demeaning due to sexual prejudice, racism and conflicts. Theincreased mobility and, interactions coupled with changes in humanvalues and family institutions have resulted from the changes in theglobal dynamics and globalization. Globalization brings along new andadvanced concepts that necessitate changes in the family affairs suchas communication, culture, beliefs and values. Modern families havecharacteristics that exhibit the features of the social influencesarising from globalization. In the 21stcentury, the family system has changed a lot owing to the externalpressures throughout the globe. As highlighted by Coontz (2006), thetraditional values and norms have long been bypassed with peopleacquiring new beliefs in areas such as communication, culture,clothing and social interactions, among others.

ChristineCarlson finds it difficult to discover herself after the divorce. Shehas the responsibility of taking care two siblings who are aged 19and 22. At their age, the kids are at an important stage in life. Itis at this stage where they are likely to start making their owndecisions without necessarily consulting their parents. Carlson mayalso face discrimination from the society as women are lowly regardedin most societies. The fact that she is divorced worsens the matter.Moreover, her 22-year old daughter is a lesbian. Many societies tendto disrespect lesbians or even support same-sex relationships.Carlson is faced with the challenge of living with a lesbiandaughter. It is a matter that she has to choose whether to follow orbypass the traditional values. Being her daughter, it is unlikelythat she will side with the established traditional values. She isalso faced with the fact that she is supposed to respect the personalchoices by her daughter.

Socialnorms need to be created in a way that considers the interests of aperson.Fear arising from exploitation has enabled people join hands in thequest for an adorable society. This reveals that the fear functiongoes beyond social and cultural dimensions (Saleebey, 2012).Exploitation can sometimes help in the creation of positivestrategies that are helpful towards addressing the common challengesaffecting the society. Familyinstitutions, according to Coontz(2006),should be built on the basis of love not the formation or power. Lovehas dominated the social life of human thereby, influencing most ofhis decisions. It takes various forms depending on situations, time,interests and characters. Parent shows his or her love for the kidsby ensuring they meet their parenting obligations. The parentsprovide all the basic needs for their kids, irrespective of theirfinancial status. In fact, some goes the extra mile of denyingthemselves goodies in order to meet their parenting goals. Carlsonhas an obligation to attend to the needs of her kids irrespective oftheir personal choices. Strangers fall in love because of theattractive characters on either gender. Carlson’s daughter has isin a lesbian relationship as per her choices. Based on their status,lesbians cannot easily identify themselves with their families. Withthis respect, some of the social policies should seek to eliminateall kinds of harassment within the community. It is for this reasonthat Carlson cannot chase away her daughter just because she islesbian. Devoidof love, it would have been difficult to realise most of the socialbenefits such social cohesion, unity, harmony and societalmaturity.Besides, many times when the phrases indicating the human existenceare interpreted, this is performed with great disappointment as achange of cycle or usual trend in one’s engagements.Whereas, socialization is intertwined all over the cognitive learningprocess, relationships do not just offer the context fortransformation but it is within the interaction of the relationshipwhere transformation emerges(Greene &amp Kropf, 2009).Adoption of certain behaviors can be attributed to the changes withinthe social environment. Development of critical realization that hasbeen associated with transformation has been credited with redeemingpersonal and social function. Itis notable that priorities, beliefs, roles, and family issues play acentral part in the adoption of new behaviors.

Coontz(2006) observed the fact that men were traditionally portrayed assymbols of law and power while women exhibit an innate character thatdisputes their rational views. As such, discrepancies betweentraditions and the facets in the contemporary world lead to instancesof discrimination against gender and biased judgments. Adorablevalues must look beyond the immediatecircumstances and realize the impact of any action. A holisticunderstanding is achievable through proper mechanisms that treatsevery individual with respect and in-discriminatively. Both theindividual and institutional performance is affected the situationalfactors and values adopted by the society. Carlson, for instance, hasan obligation to ensure that she fulfils her personal goals. She isalso supposed to ensure that her two kids are successful in life.


Whereassocial interactions are informed by the traditions of a society,their relevance in the contemporary society appears sneer as theysometimes lead to negative impacts. The story is applicable to othersocieties where exploitation and intolerance is the order of the day.Understanding the social concepts helps in reducing the conflicts orquarrels in the society. They also improve the human and workingrelationships through the consideration of the ethical issues andproblems concerning members of the society (Hutchison,2011).This plays a critical part in addressing challenges and opportunitiesthat may arise due to differences of a social grouping. Socialinteractions are informed by the environment, which includes culturalpractices and beliefs. The linkage between the societies demands thatindividuals uphold good and ethical values. It is possible to cause atransformation in a society in order to mitigate conflicts. Theperception about cooperation is related to commitments required tostruggle together in a shared inquiry in support of socialtransformation. Withsuch motives, it is possible to encourage varieties of exchangesbetween social groups and individuals by compressing theirinteractions to conform to the contemporary needs and values. Thetraditions adopted by this society clashes with that of civilizedsociety, in terms of human rights and values. Adherence to humanrights is a basic necessity for moral cultivation that improvessocial relations and norms. Human dignity is an important componentin the realization of social objectives. It helps in the creation ofendearing values such as honesty and respect among the members of agiven society. One would agree with the story of Christine Carlson ashighlighted above as well as the article by Stephanie Coontz. Thesociety is surrounded by many myths and prejudices that affect therealization of personal and societal goals. As such, the contemporaryfamily institutions need to play their rightful role in enhancingenviable social relations and interactions.


Beinga social grouping, the family, is subtle to changes within theenvironment. With the globalization and other social dynamics, thefamily has changed dramatically as evidenced in the changes incultural practices. The changes in the contemporary family structureneed to enhance the creation of adorable relations among all membersirrespective of their race, gender orientation and social class. Itwould be inappropriate to continue with the traditional norms thatdiscriminated against certain individuals. After all, if one’schoices do not harm other individuals, then the action can beconsidered ethical to the victim. Human-society interactions aredependent on the foundations the cultural values and behavior thatgovern and shape interests at personal and societal level. Thesocietal structures need to be formulated in a way that does notjeopardize the values adopted by an individual. Discrimination andexploitation in the society is sometimes catalyzed by the culture offear.Issues such as ignorance and inclusion ought to be taken seriously bythe society makers in order to prevent negative incidences that arelikely to result in manipulation.


Coontz,Stephanie. “The Way We Weren’t: The Myth and Reality of the‘Traditional’ Family”..Stephen Beach and Linda L. Lindsey. Pearson: Prentice Hall, 2006.I-417-I-420.

Greene,R. R., &amp Kropf, N. P. (2009). Humanbehavior theory : a diversity framework.New Brunswick, N. J.: AldineTransaction.

Hutchison,E. D. (2011). Dimensionsof human behavior. Person and environment.Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Saleebey,D. (2012). HumanBehavior and Social Environments : A Biopsychosocial Approach.New York: Columbia University Press.