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Parental Units

May 5, 2009

It’s been a while since I posted, I know. So shoot me. Well, don’t actually shoot me, I’m not sure how much fun that would really be.

I was thinking about parents the other day. Not specifically my parents, just parents in general and family units. My main train of thought was how it’s funny how the family unit, and the definition of family, has changed so much over time. In the old days it was a father and mother and a horde of snotty-nosed kids. You occasionally had those kids from “broken homes” for whom that was an excuse for their bad behaviour. “Oh, it’s not his fault he tore the limbs off of that little girl, he’s from a broken home” teachers would say. Well, maybe not exactly that, but you catch my drift.

But the general rule of thumb at least appeared to be that kids from a traditional family unit were well adjusted, and the ones from broken or non-traditional families were oftentimes troublemakers, or at least not well adjusted. But this has never proven to necessarily be the case, though admittedly life is often easier with two parents.

For example:

A friend of mine grew up without her father, as is not unusual. But it wasn’t the “normal” story of dad went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. Her mother, when she found out she was pregnant, left the father without him knowing he was going to have a child. But that’s not the point. She recently hired a detective agency to find him. A couple weeks later they discovered where he was, and she had her first meeting with him over the weekend, which didn’t go especially well. But that’s not the point either.

The Wife lost her mother to breast cancer when she was only 10, so she grew up with only her father. She turned out fine, but The Wife’s sister, while fine now, went through a few periods of trouble as a teenager.

My own mother lost both her parents when she was a child, and grew up with grandparents and attended boarding school, and turned out wonderfully (my mother is a saint, and anyone who says otherwise shall be immediately castrated and/or hysterectomy-ified. And yes, that’s not a word, I know.

The point is that the very notion of family is changing. For some, it’s a mother, father and siblings. For others it’s a single parent. For some, themselves and their grandparents are family. And for others it may be a group of close friends with no blood connection at all.

But I still think it’s important for a child, and for the people raising a child, for there to be a team. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a mother and a father. It can be a mother and a mother or a father and a father. Or grandparents. Or an aunt and an uncle. Whatever it is, there needs to be, in my opinion, a dual set of parents, whatever they may be.

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