Angelic Fruitcake (lula_neith) wrote in family_too,
Angelic Fruitcake
lula_neith
family_too

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Non-Traditional/Alternative Family

I don't know. I am torn about the current definitions for family. Technically, because my mother adopted my dead brother's child, that child is in a 'Non-Traditional' family. Is a family only made 'alternative' because of the sex lives of the parents? How is 'Non-Traditional' less threatening than 'alternative'?

According to a lot of my - as of yet piddling - research, most families are at least Non-Traditional. I found this:

http://www.psych.uic.edu/hd/NonTradFam_hand.pdf

Even in areas like Alabama, where you'd think there'd be a more 'traditional' bent, there's plenty of blending and multi-family oddities going on. LOL!

I found it interesting and am looking for more stuff like it. It didn't focus solely on sexuality. I don't mind exploring that as an ancillary. And there were lots of sites like this, discussing how to start a family. I think what fascinates me and perplexes me is the change in 'traditional'. Ages ago, it would have been traditional for a man to have many wives -- granted, I wouldn't have wanted to be one of them back then. More like chattel. Point being: traditions change. And we live in an interesting age when we have a lot of freedom to decide what family means on an individual level --in spite of the attempts to legislate it into a box. My assumption is that back in the day it may have been even easier to create something on your own since things were spread out. If there was a random kid whose parents were killed in a tribal skirmish, there were no adoption courts. If he tugged at your heartstrings, you simply kept him and raised him. This is both heartening and scary, depending on the intentions of the 'adoptor'.

There are divorces, deaths, different kinds of love. How do folks feel about such a complicated issue as who becomes the closest part of your life being decided by outside factors i.e. laws, mores, folkways, etc? I have TONS of 'blood' family and plenty of 'brothers and sisters' of the heart. I don't see that it helps anyone to have something like who you are able to leave things to, who you would like to visit you in hospital, etc. decided by courts.

There are ideas of faith as well. I really find it disturbing that there would even be consideration of removing a child for differences in faith as in here or here. Technically, ones personal decisions of faith should have no bearing if the child is not being harmed. But it happens again and again.

I suppose I'm just ranting because I feel this 'quark' of society has either been forgotten for huge causes (often by the 'left') or used for political purposes to illustrate our immenent demise as a society (often by religious 'right'). I think we need to speak of family personally.

Whether you are single or partnered, whether child-free or with six kids (like my mom) it comes down to how we're going to live. Who do we want to speak for us if we are single and we can't talk for medical reasons? How long do we want to be kept alive artificially? Who do we live with? These are all basic things that I think need to be spoke of, but at a secular level and a way that can be applied to everyday life.

What is your 'family' like? Are they all blood relatives? What are your experiences with decision-making within the family dynamic? How do you balance your own needs and that of the family?

Well, I hope to get some feed back. Feel free, again, to post things that might be of interest and touch on these ideas.

Best,
Lula.
Tags: defining family, etc, law, mores
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