Daily Archives: July 8, 2011

Traditional Families?

 Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!  ~Albert Einstein

Two girls

Photo Alexander Oshvintsev | Dreamstime.com

Here in New Zealand we are becoming more aware of the changes being wrought in ‘traditional families’.  No longer are families only father mother and offspring.  More children are being born to and brought up by same sex parents moving us far away from the ‘traditional’ family.

It comes as a shock then to learn, according to a Victoria University of  Wellington researcher , that Wellington schools are reinforcing the image of ‘traditional’ families by not stocking books about gay parents.  However, she did add that she felt it was often unconscious and inadvertent and schools were surprised at the results. “I think they confidently thought they would, of course, have some of these books.”

More than 85 per cent of school libraries surveyed in the capital did not have any books showing gay parents,  this school of educational psychology and pedagogy senior lecturer  said.

Apparently,  she surveyed  58 schools in the Wellington area to determine  how many stocked the 11 popular children’s books that in some way include gay or lesbian parents.   Only libraries in 8 of the schools had even one of the books.

The lesbian parents of two boys aged 12 and 14, said they  had not found suitable books featuring gay or lesbian parents as their boys were growing up, as many of the early books had been “stilted and self-conscious”.  They agreed that more diverse books would be good but pointed out they should be good stories that engaged children and showed the similarities between all families.

Symbol male-female

Photo – Eleandra | Dreamstime.com

These findings came as a surprise to many as Wellington is known as an accepting and  vibrant city with a large population of gay and lesbians. When questioned one teacher said “”It wasn’t that we were avoiding those books, it was something that hadn’t arisen.”  The school has since purchased a couple of the books after a child with gay parents had enrolled at the school.

So what do you think?  Should we encourage the stereotype of ‘traditional’ families through our schools, their books and teachings, or should we embrace and celebrate the changes that are taking place throughout our communities?

“The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come.”
Sandra Day O’Connor  American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. 1930 –