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Belonging to a family is one bond almost everyone in the world shares, but family patterns vary from country to country. The United States has many different types of families. While most American families are traditional, comprising a father, mother and one or more children, 22.5 percent of all American families in 2001 were headed by one parent, usually a woman. In a few families in the United States, there are no children. These childless couples may believe that they would not make good parents; they may want freedom from the responsibilities of child-rearing; or, perhaps they are not physically able to have children. Other families in the United States have one adult who is a stepparent. A stepmother or stepfather is a person who joins a family by marrying a father or mother.

Americans tolerate and accept these different types of families. In the United States, people have the right to privacy and Americans do not believe in telling other Americans what type of family group they must belong to. They respect each other's choices regarding family groups.

Families are very important to Americans. One sign that this is true is that Americans show great concern about the family as an institution. Many Americans believe there are too many divorces. They worry that teenagers are not obeying their parents. They are concerned about whether working women can properly care for their children.

Families give Americans a sense of belonging and a sense of tradition. Families give Americans strength and purpose.

Families serve many functions. They provide a setting in which children can be born and reared. Families help educate their members. Parents teach their children values - what they think is important. They teach their children daily skills, such as how to ride a bicycle. They also teach them common practices and customs, such as respect for elders and celebrating holidays. The most important job for a family is to give emotional support and security.


Exercise I

Answer the following questions:

1. What types of families are there in the USA?

2. What is the attitude of Americans to the types of family groups?

3. Why is a family important to Americans?

4. Why do some couples prefer to be childless?

5. What sense do families give to Americans?

6. What functions do families serve?

7. What is the most important job for a family?


Exercise II

Put all types of questions to the text.

Exercise III

Give Russian equivalents to the following word combinations:

Family patterns, childless couples, responsibility of child-rearing, stepparent, the right to privacy, a sense of tradition, to earn money, emotional, support and security, family groups, to obey the parents, daily skills, good relationship, to teach daily skills, respect for elders, emotional support, concern about the family as an institution.


Exercise IV

Give English equivalents to the following word combinations:

Бездетные пары, типичная американская семья, воспитание ребенка, освободиться от ответственности, отчим, стать хорошими родителями, мачеха, право на личную жизнь, повиноваться родителям, выполнять много функций, уважение к старшим, моральная поддержка, забота.

Exercise V

Make up your own topic “ABOUT MY FAMILY AND MYSELF”.

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