The forties were a time where family, and the values it was based on, were held to a high standard, idealized by having a strong, nuclear family, with a bread-winning father and a child bearing mother. This model quickly became a social expectation, not just an ideal.
This can be found true later in the Nineteen forties, but both the recent leave of the depression and war crippled families. By 1940, 1.5 million married couples were living apart. Now this changed after the harsh effects of the great depression, but war did nothing to help to bring a household together.
During the war, families were stricken with a severe shortage of housing,schooling and child-care facilities. also an extended leave from family members. Which was a burden on the minds of both children and spouses. Close to five million women ran their homes without their husbands due to the war. Providing and caring for however many children present. Older women went to work in industrial jobs to support the war effort. Because of the stress of war divorce rates rose.
After the war, the average age of marriage for a woman was twenty, divorce rates dropped, and the birthrate nearly rose double. This is what one today would perceive the forties and early fifties as, although this concept was shown on television. Creating a sort of pop culture as to who American families truly "should be". When in reality only sixty percent of children lived in homes similar to those portrayed on television. This drastic change was a result of the pressures put on by the Great depression, and of course the war. Families began to strive for stable incomes, and received them. This meant moving to nicer homes bringing in the new cultural phenomenon of suburbia.
The youth of this generation, when pressed with this notions of a rapidly changing social environment, grew into two sprouts of people. Either rebellious from socialization, which was brutally instructed, or fallow the rules and become a socially acceptable American.
In the early nineteen forties the youth got jobs to help fight of the depression from depleted the family, and also when the father left for war. This liability left the household not as stable, and resulted in higher rates of juvenile delinquency, pregnancy out of wed lock.
Youth of this generation would have experienced the change from the depth of American history, to one of the most prosperous, iconic times. The strong social, political, and economical restrictions only built up a generation that was essential to all future generations.
Present day marriage can be seen as unconventional. When seeing that new issues are being widely accepted. Gay marriage, and interracial marriage, even though straight marriage is still the majority, only 41% of couples find children 'very important' in their marriage - that's down from 64% in 1990.
This principle of a proper American family was structured like this, a married couple, young children, father earned the income, wife cared for the children. As more families move away from this practice, other forms replace. Its found that families have more of an emotional and economical investment in their children. Less children are being born, so more attention for other off spring.
The most prominent, and influential change in American history, which oddly enough got its brace in the 1940's, shapes the way the United States is today. This being the involvement of women in the workforce. Women now make up for 47% of the current United States workforce. So because the mother isn't always in the home, fathers have the potential to have a greater role in the child's development.
By having both parents working, it builds independence among the children. The family unit has less integrity due to several advantages in entertainment for present day youth. When a child is given a choice between checker with his father, or video games, the child would most likely choose video games. This technological separation between parents is relevant to any generation, the only difference is is that those previous generations had other catalysts for separation.
Many family value supporters are quick to blame career driven mother, deficient fathers, and single parents as the cause for social problems. Such as poverty, drugs, failure in school and troubles with crime.
This trend of failing youth is constant, and will always haunt the Americans. But as families become less orthodox, and begin to blend with present times, one must look back to previous times when a large social rejuvenation took place. The largest in recent history would be 1940's-50's. Where the youth experienced influential change, similar to today.
Even though in altercations that needed force, such as Iraq and Afghanistan weren't seen as socially constructive, they still installed a hint of nationalism into the youth with heavy patriotism. Similar to what was seen to build nativism in the 1940's. When support for the country was crucial.