What is a normal family? This was the question I posted on my Facebook page this week and it sparked a really interesting couple of responses from some of my regular fans and followers as we debated what is a normal family and whether in today’s society such a thing exists?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a normal family but then again what is normal? For example, I know blended families, gay families and single parent families and all are normal in some way. As our makeup of the family has changed and adapted to today’s lifestyle it would appear that maybe it’s the definition of normal that needs to change to move with the ever changing family makeup.
Statistically a normal family is no longer a mother, a father and their biological children living together under one roof (and certainly not with dad going off to work and mum staying home). Although perception and acceptance often lag behind reality, there is evidence that a new definition of family — while far from universally accepted — is emerging.
If you look at my family we’re pretty normal in with our make up – but constantly we are asked, by people who don’t know our history, ‘when will we have another child’. There is still the perception that a ‘normal’ family is 2.4 children and couples who have just one child are considered to have something missing from their make up.
Take one of my dearest blogging friends, Kara and her beautiful family. She summed it up brilliantly on Facebook:-
‘It’s not just normal parenting or even set up of family dynamic. You then have the children inside it. By all standards of NHS and welfare Grayson is not allowed to be called “normal” although they prefer the term mainstream now. He is special. (Eek hate the word) but does that define Addy as not being special and thus is our family not normal ? For me I like to say I hope I am as far from any type of normal as can be. I like to be different. Different equals personality, fun, hard times but smiles and above all else unity for my family. Sorry I have ranted and totally lost point. But take it from a multiracial, stepparent, parent to a disabled, child of a broken home, manic depressive, sibling to a gay brother , short arse woman – I like my normal!!’
By definition the nuclear family is ’a family group made up of only a father, mother, and children’ – in many elements every family fits that but yet continually families are given alternative titles such as ‘mixed race’, ‘blended’, ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’. Surely regardless of the makeup every family is normal in the eyes of the people in it and we don’t need more labels to stereotype us.
Do you feel attitudes towards alternative family makeups are changing as society changes and have your views shifted as to what makes up a ‘normal’ family?