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Different Kinds of Families
Different Kinds of Families
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Different Kinds of Families

Youth

A family is a group of people related to one another by blood, marriage or a strong common bond. Families come in many different sizes and combinations. Some people you know may have one parent, while others may have two biological parents. In families with two parents, the parents may be the same or a different sex. Other people may have multiple parents, including stepparents. Some people may have foster parents or even live with another person, like a grandparent, who acts as a parental figure. Some families have children, while other families do not. Some people consider their pets members of their family. These types of families are just a few of the many different family structures that exist.

Families, no matter the structure, can also be very diverse in other ways. They can have one parent who is a different race than the other parent. In blended, foster or adoptive families, some kids may be a different race than their parents. Some people may have parents or siblings who have different mental and physical abilities than their own.

Some people you know may also have one or both parents in the military. There may be times when their parent or parents are deployed, meaning the parent or parents have to work away from home for a while—often in a different country.

Your family may look and function very differently from the families of your friends, and that is okay. There is no right or wrong way for a family to be structured or to look. What is most important about families is that they love and take care of each other. For some that love may come from a person’s given family, while others may find this love and care from people who they have chosen to call their family. Although families may look different from household to household, all families are unique and special! Take some time to think about all the ways in which your family is special.

Parents

Your child may come across many different kinds of people and different types of families. It is completely normal for children to have questions about families that may be different from their own. What is important is for a child to understand that a family is a group of people related to one another by blood, marriage or a strong common bond and that families can have many different structures and be very diverse. Regardless of how a family is structured or how diverse it is, families love and care for one another.

You can share with your child the different ways that families may be formed or structured. For example, there are families that may have two moms or two dads. There are also families that consist of two biological parents. In families, the adults may or may not be married. Many couples make the decision to have children without getting married first. Almost 1.5 million couples have at least one child before getting married. It is also important for children to understand that some families have children, while other families do not. Some people consider their pets members of their family.

You can also talk with your child about that fact that some people may live in a family with one parent. These are called single-parent families, and they are made up of one adult who is a parent with at least one child. Single parent families could be made up of one parent because the parents never married, they got a divorce, one parent is in prison or a parent may have died. In this type of family, the single parent can be the mother, the father or just referred to as the parent. You can explain that this is just one type of family and that there are other families with multiple parents known as blended families. In a blended family, two single-parent families join together to make a bigger family. A blended family may be a result of two people getting married, entering a special union called a domestic partnership or just by making a decision to be together.

There are also families where one parent lives away from home for stretches of time. This is often the case when one or both parents are in the military.

Children may also have questions when parents are not a child’s biological parents. You can explain that there are different ways that families are formed when a child is not the biological child of the parents. For example, a child may become a member of an adoptive or foster family. This type of family may consist of another blood relative or a family friend becoming an adoptive parent. A foster parent or parents may be a person or couple who may be unfamiliar to the child, but they are committed to being caregivers to children who cannot stay with their biological parents. After being vetted by the court system, the foster family may be court appointed to become the guardian of a child in need.

Some children may also be parented by their grandparents. There are approximately 1.3 million children under 18 years old who live with their grandparents. If your child is curious about why someone might be parented by their grandparents, you can explain that a child might have a biological parent who is too sick to take care of them, have a parent in prison or have parents who passed away. Families can also be intergenerational, which is when one or both parents and their children live with their grandparents. For others, instead of grandparents, some families might have aunts, uncles or cousins who act as parents or guardians.

Your child may not only be curious about different family structures but also families that are diverse, where one parent who is a different race than the other parent. In blended, foster or adoptive families, some kids may be a different race than their parents. Some people may have parents or siblings who have different mental and physical abilities than their own.

There is ultimately no right or wrong way for a family to be structured or to look. What is most important about families is that they love and take care of each other, whether those are families people are born into or families they have chosen to create. Talking with your child about different types of families can help them respect people who may be different from themselves.

Educators

Your students will come from different types of families, and it is completely normal for them to have questions about families that may be different from their own. What is important for your students to understand is that a family is a group of people related to one another by blood, marriage or a strong common bond. It is also important that your students understand that families can have many different structures and be very diverse. Regardless of how a family is structured or how diverse it is, families love and care for one another.

It is important for students to understand the different ways that families may be formed and structured, especially given the fact that you will likely have students in your classes from a range of family structures. For example, there are families that may have two moms or two dads. There are also families that consist of two biological parents. In families, the adults may or may not be married. Many couples make the decision to have children without getting married first. Almost 1.5 million couples have at least one child before getting married. It is also important for children to understand that some families have children, while other families do not. Some people consider their pets members of their family.

Some families are made up of one adult who is a parent with at least one child. These are called single-parent families. Single parent families could be made up of one parent because the parents never married, they got a divorce, one parent is in prison or a parent may have died. In this type of family, the single parent can be the mother, the father or just referred to as the parent. You can explain that this is just one type of family and that there are other families with multiple parents known as blended families. In a blended family, two single-parent families join together to make a bigger family. A blended family may be a result of two people getting married, entering a special union called a domestic partnership or just by making a decision to be together.

There are also families where one parent lives away from home for stretches of time. This is often the case when one or both parents are in the military.

Some families may not include biological parents. For example, a child may become a member of an adoptive or foster family. This type of family may consist of another blood relative or a family friend becoming an adoptive parent. A foster parent or parents may be a person or couple who may be unfamiliar to the child, but they are committed to being caregivers to children who cannot stay with their biological parents. After being vetted by the court system, the foster family may be court appointed to become the guardian of a child in need.

Some children may also be parented by their grandparents. There are approximately 1.3 million children under 18 years old who live with their grandparents. If your students are curious about why someone might be parented by their grandparents, you can explain that a child might have a biological parent who is too sick to take care of them, have a parent in prison or have parents who passed away. Families can also be intergenerational, which is when one or both parents and their children live with their grandparents. For others, instead of grandparents, some families might have aunts, uncles or cousins who act as parents or guardians.

Students should also understand that there are not only different family structures but also families that are diverse. For example, in a family one parent may be a different race than the other parent. In blended, foster or adoptive families, some kids may be a different race than their parents. Some people may have parents or siblings who have different mental and physical abilities than their own.

There is ultimately no right or wrong way for a family to be structured or to look. What is again most important about families is that they love and take care of each other, whether those are families people are born into or families they have chosen to create. Talking with and providing lessons about different types of families can help all students see themselves and their experience reflected at school, and it can help students respect people who may be different from themselves.