Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On Complex Families

Recently, sections of the right wing have been increasingly vocal about championing the traditional nuclear family as the 'gold standard' of family, saying that it is better than blended families, step-families, single parent families and same-sex parent families.

Whilst I have long been a champion of stable family structures, I simply believe that it is inappropriate to pit one form of family against another, as long as it is a stable structure. I have long believed that large extended families are much better than isolated nuclear families for the purposes of raising children. Should I disparage isolated nuclear families then? No, because those families are still clearly of much value to their members and to society. Furthermore, each form of family has its pros and cons, and cannot be easily compared. For example, families headed by lesbian parents are often believed to be better at caring for young children and raising boys to respect women as adults. Children in step-families and co-parenting agreements have two sets of parents looking out for them.

Also, whilst I believe in stable family structures, life isn't always ideal. I am a firm believer in giving your all to preserve a marriage, always. But there are situations where people have no choice but to walk away, for example where there is domestic violence, emotional abuse or other severe problems that cannot be resolved. Families have to do their best to survive in these situations, and we have to applaud them for their efforts.

All families should be celebrated, and none should be disparaged.