This week is My Family Week and it got me thinking about how families are increasingly moving away from the ‘traditional’ nuclear family. It’s more and more common, with divorce rates being what they are, for blended families to be the norm. Yes, even my family. Celebrating and normalising unique families is important.
My Family Week is the brainchild of international Early Years trainer, author and consultant, Laura Henry
Every family is unique and this uniqueness should be celebrated. With this in mind, Laura has created My Family Week 2017, using the characters from her bestselling book, Jo-Jo and Gran-Gran.
Traditionally, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which may trigger for some children a sense that they don’t belong. My Family Week aims to celebrate all families, irrespective of a child’s circumstances including children with same-sex parents, those who are fostered, disabled, have step families or half brothers and sisters, are bereaved, blended, those who are adopted or who live with grandparents and other family members.
This is a week that celebrates families no matter what they look like. Families come in many guises. Some parents are same-sex; others are single by choice. Growing numbers of children are conceived through assisted reproductive technology. What do these developments mean for the parents and children involved?
Over the past several decades the family has altered in ways that few people imagined back in the days of Mr. and Mrs. Smith reading books in which mummy cooked and daddy fixed the car. In the 70s, the ‘nuclear’ family (heterosexual married couple with genetically related children) was the decisive majority. Advances in reproductive technology, a rise in numbers of single parent and step families resulting from divorce, and the creation of families by same-sex couples and single people have changed that dynamic. Today ‘non-traditional’ families outnumber nuclear families in the UK and many other countries.
Despite all the known difficulties for these families, they have great potential. At their best they become something like a tribe or community network of connected adults and children. The biological parent child relationships along with new partners and connected children, can be very extensive. The more harmony between adults the more this is possible – and it can be a very good way of living for all members.
A nontraditional family can provide children with more loving, responsible adults in their lives. New siblings provide an only child with playmates and companionship. Grandparents and other relatives can offer child care for working parents. They can also provide a network of support to nurture and teach the children. Grandparents can tell stories and share experiences. More family members also means more love and that is a huge advantage for any child.
How do you think of ‘family’? Is your family non-traditional? What challenges do you face and how did you triumph? I’d LOVE to chat about this with you… let’s talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram