The nuclear family or elementary family is a term used to define a family group consisting of a pair of adults and their children. This is in contrast to a polygamous family, single-parent family, and to the larger extended family. Nuclear families typically center on a married couple, but not always; the nuclear family may have any number of children. There are differences in definition among observers; some definitions allow only biological children that are full-blood siblings, while others allow for a stepparent and any mix of dependent children including stepchildren and adopted children.
Family structures of a single married couple and their children were present in Western Europe and New England in the 17th century, influenced by church and theocratic governments. With the emergence of proto-industrialization and early capitalism, the nuclear family became a financially viable social unit. The term nuclear family first appeared in the early twentieth century. Alternative definitions have evolved to include family units headed by same-sex parents, and perhaps additional adult relatives who take on a cohabiting parental role; in this later case it also receives the name of conjugal family.
The concept that a narrowly defined nuclear family is central to stability in modern society has been promoted by modern social conservatives in the United States, and has been challenged as historically and sociologically inadequate to describe the complexity of actual family relations.
Other articles related to "nuclear":
... This time, the war was fought with nuclear weapons and lasted only five days, just long enough for the last nuclear missiles to be launched on both sides ... In the novella, nuclear fallout had created horrific genetic mutations ... The screamers are widely feared by the survivors of the nuclear holocaust, and references are occasionally made to them in the novella ...
... Several forms of spectroscopy rely on the unique nuclear properties of specific isotopes, both radioactive and stable ... For example, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be used only for isotopes with a nonzero nuclear spin ... Mössbauer spectroscopy also relies on the nuclear transitions of specific isotopes, such as 57Fe ...
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