Friday, July 27, 2012

Discussing different types of families with your kids—not all families come in one shape or size

The first time my son asked me, “Daddy, how come Daniel doesn’t have a mummy?  All the other families do, don’t they?”  I was speechless.  It wasn’t an expected question at all, so I tried to explain that not all families had Mummy's, and when he asked why, I did all I could to stop myself from saying “I don’t know.”

Explaining to your kids that not all families come in one shape or size can be tricky.  Kids are full of questions, and you never know what they’re going to ask next, so it’s best to be prepared, and keep it all simple.  I’ll show you so you don’t end up as speechless and confused as I was.

Families are about love

Keep this at the back of your mind at all times, because you’ll be falling back on this the majority of the time:  families are groups of people who love and take care of each other.  As long as they love and take care of each other, they are a family—it doesn’t matter if it’s a big group of people, or if it’s two people, or if the people aren’t biologically related—members of a family love each other.

There are many different types of families

There are several different types of families; nuclear, single parent, step—, grandparent-led, same-sex parented, foster, and many more.  By knowing these, you can be best prepared for when your kids ask you about them—go back to the explanation that the thing that these all have in common is that everyone loves each other very much, and that’s what makes them a family, even if they are a little different to what you may have.

Let the questions flow

Though it could be uncomfortable for you to talk about your separation or any similarly uncomfortable situation, you’ll have to face the fact that this is going to come up when your kids ask questions, so you should prepare an answer—something like, “Watson and I were unhappy living together—it isn’t your fault—we both love you very much” should go down well.  Remember, when answering questions, that you don’t ever blame your kids. 

Pass on the happiness

Letting your kids be aware of all the different types of families will help them to accept all the different types of families that their fiends at school will have.  If your own situation is different from the nuclear model, just remember that it won’t matter for your kids, as long as they grow up in a loving, nurturing environment—in other words, a family.

Good luck!

Brought to you in partnership with watts McCray J.


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