6 Ways to Teach Your Child to Understand Every Type of Family

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In a world where all kinds of bonds bind parents to their children – whether adults are single, same-sex married, or adoptive parents – it is considered important to show children that it is not who is involved, but the love they share makes a family.

As I neared 40, I was still celibate, the knight in shiny armor, or any knight, for that matter, was clearly not on his way. I can live with that, but the need to be a mother was for me non-negotiable. In 2014, I searched my options on Google, and found a new term: Single Mother by Choice (SMC), which includes women who carry donor sperm. I decided this would be my way. In 2016, I was fond of a beautiful baby girl.


But the fact of raising my daughter without a father can be daunting. I’m worried: Do you think it’s lost? As an adult, will you know how to handle relationships with men?

As I mentioned this story, experts have assured me that the most important factor for a healthy child’s development is the emotional availability of the parent’s personality, not what the rest of the family looks like. But this is not easy to remember when I feel that the world is viewing my two children as extremists.

More than 50 percent of American children live in non-traditional families (defined as any family other than the heterosexual parents who marry heterosexuals in their first marriage with their biological children), according to the research center. However, until now there is still a segment of society that considers the so-called traditional family to be the ideal . When this spirit passes from adults to children, it can perpetuate prejudice and ignorance, this in turn leads to ridicule and bullying of children in single parent families, families made up of same-sex parents, as well as every other difference.

According to Cyana Riley, a former teacher in Washington, DC, mother of two, and author of Not So Different, she said, “I had to answer questions in my class about why a mum’s not having a baby. A father and a mother, this child had two sons who loved them very much. ” Todd Barr, author of dozens of children’s books about unconventional families, has also seen firsthand how parents’ ideas about family can affect their children. When he visited schools to read his titles The Mommy Book and The Daddy Book for students, he met opposition over the sentence referring to a family made up of a mother and a father. “In fact it caused problems for the teachers, because the parents were against their children hearing this factual information, even in a way that was age appropriate,” says Barr.

When these situations reach the children, their peers in non-traditional families can expect to hear comments about the supposed strangeness of their clan. The child may say to an adoptive child, “You are not like anyone in your family.” Or, “Why do you live with your grandmother?” The alienation that a child might feel upon hearing this can be excruciating.

But we are far from powerless in the struggle to change this outcome. Children, as any parent knows, are sponges. “Children are always watching, and our actions speak louder than we say,” said parent counselor Wayne Fleiseg, Ph.D., clinical psychologist at Children’s of Alabama, in Birmingham.

Here’s how to give your child a broad and comprehensive picture of the family so that they treat other children kindly, feel proud of their own roots, and grow up building a life that makes them happy.

Find children’s media that showcase all types of families.

Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay

It is easy to normalize unconventional families through comic books and TV shows “so that when your children encounter different types of families in real life, it is not strange at all,” says Kiawndra Jackson, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. Angeles. My Family, Your Family, by Lisa Pollard suggests a young girl named Macaela walks through the neighborhood looking for something cool about the variety of families she encounters. Or try Despicable Me, a wacky farce about a villain who grows up close to three girls from an adoption agency. (Spoiler: He’s become the father of all three.) Barr, whose books like “It’s Good to Be Different” are also helpful, adds that the emphasis on love in these stories conveys the message. “Children in any healthy family unit will relate to that,” he says.

Hang out with different types of families.

Dr. Fleiseg suggests that you “talk to your child about differences in the family beforehand so that he does not say anything during the encounter that might be unintentionally painful.” Jessica Butler, stepmother of two, adoptive mother of another child, and co-founder of Raise Magazine, a non-traditional family lifestyle website, recently took her youngest child to play with a friend whose parents were divorced. Before they arrived, she explained the family situation by saying, “Did you know that your friend has two different homes? Sometimes she lives with her mother, sometimes she lives with her father. Isn’t that cool?”

“If kids used to be friends with children from all kinds of families, then they could be allies with each other. So if there’s an offensive note, it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t talk to my boyfriend this way,'” Jackson says. What if it had two doors? “There is an alliance there.”

Empower your child.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Instilling confidence begins at home. A child with high self-esteem has a deeper resilience if he is on the receiving end of vague or harsh comments or questions. If you haven’t already, start by letting your child be a part of certain home decisions, such as what to do for dinner, how to split tasks, or plans for your weekend. Jackson says making them feel that they are a contributor to the family builds confidence in unity, gives them a shield of self-esteem, and prepares them for inner stability.

Answer all of their questions.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Parents may find they are uncomfortable explaining certain types of families to their children, and worry, for example, that talking about divorce may make the child fear that their parents will also separate, or that raising a transgender parent will raise ,
there are thorny questions about sex. identification. “But you would prefer your child to have the information from you rather than misinformation from others – or make it himself,” says Dr.Fleiseg. When you want to say something, ” you should take all of your time and think about what you have to say beforehand, ” He says I know perfectly well that sometimes complicated conversations build a strong bond. Jackson says, “When your children are mature they will know that they can talk to you about anything, which is vital.”

Check with the teachers.

Image by 14995841 from Pixabay

If you notice that your child has withdrawn, seems to be shy about talking about your family, or is no longer enjoying going to school, talk to his teacher, Jackson advises. Find out if any bullying has occurred and also help to share information about your child’s wel . It is also a good idea to tell the teacher about your family’s dynamic so that they can act as a resource and ally.

Talk about the different family settings.

Diverse family structures are common and children will ask questions about non-traditional families. Discover simple ways to teach children about family diversity.

Our world has become a melting pot of different configurations, beliefs, cultural norms, and personal practices. Each child and family come to the child care community with different values and experiences. One of the most important gifts we can give our children is to help them feel good about the uniqueness of their family and to help them learn to respect and include those they may consider “different.”

Young children are simply trying to find their place in this big world and make sense of the concept of family, whether traditional or not. Thus, children’s growing awareness of diverse family structures provides rich opportunities to help them understand family diversity and to engage them in a conversation about who is part of their family, who lives in their home, and, most importantly, who cares for them.

Children tend to thrive when they understand that there are different family structures: a divorced couple, a mother and grandmother, a surrogate or foster mother, etc. Some families also include grandparents, foster parents, aunts, and uncles. All combinations work. Love is what makes a family – just like in our family.”
This repeated message helps children feel secure, even if the configuration of their family changes due to death, separation, or other life events.

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