Traditional Families?

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

Two girls

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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

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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 –


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6 responses to “Traditional Families?

  1. Call me old-fashioned, but I vote for encouraging traditional families, believing both mother and father figures offer a more balanced approach in the raising of children.

  2. I’m with you. I find it difficult to accept that people of the same sex can be parents. I often wonder how these children will cope as they grow up and find that their family is totally different from the norm. It is a hot topic of conversation here but I was surprised to find it had made the front page of the paper.

    • I guess I’m not surprised, it seems to be part of the media’s agenda to exploit the issue. Years ago I read or heard it stated that if something unacceptable is put before us long enough, and often enough, it will become accepted as normal.

  3. Thanks it seems that we are being ‘force fed’ he propaganda and as you say, no doubt will accept it as the norm. It doesn’t seem normal in any way to me, but maybe that is because of my age and the way in which I brought up.

  4. I’m all for the celebration of difference… I don’t believe traditional households have the key to the door of parental happiness; there are dysfunctional parents on both sides of the fence.
    A healthy parent is a healthy parent regardless of sexual orientation. Therefore, people of the same sex, like their heterosexual counterparts, make great parents and are the norm to their children.
    I know quite a few people who grew up in same sex families and they are doing great. Love is love… it doesn’t discriminate. 🙂
    I’m glad this issue is being addressed in New Zealand (thanks for speaking honestly Judith and Pattis, it does begin with dialogue) and that people will have an opportunity to express their reservations, hopefully reconsider their views, and then speak from a compassionate heart…
    Everyone deserves to live their best lives without being judged for their choices… Here’s to compassion and freedom for all to live as they wish! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the comment Elizabeth.
    I am working hard on not being judgmental but it not always easy. I don’t personally know any same sex couple who are bringing up children but do know of one. They do appear to be doing a good job of this and the child is apparently surrounded with love. Parenting as most of us know, is no easy ride whatever our sexual tendencies.
    So maybe I need to go back and reconsider my thoughts on this matter.

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