The “Perfect” Family (Evolving Ideas)

nuclearfam                                                                  fam2

“Stone Soup” by Barbara Kingsolver is a very interesting article about the constructs of societies views on non-traditional families. According to this author, non-traditional can mean anything from a divorced set of parents, to gay or lesbian partners as parents, or single-parent families. Basically it is a term for anything besides the “normal” four person family idea that America has loved for most of its’ existence. Referring to this work the question is: why do people feel the need to scrutinize these families, when at least half of the families today are non-traditional?

Personally, all I have ever known is a two-parent family, I guess if any aspect of my family were to be un-traditional, it would be the fact that my younger brother is my adopted cousin. Besides that I have “normal” parents and a younger, biological sister. Kingsolver’s article caused me to analyze my family, as well as those of my closest friends. In reflection, it seems that her claims are completely true in that most of American families are extremely diverse. In my circle of friends alone there is a single parent home, a family with separated parents and two separate homes, a traditional four-person family, and one similar to mine with three kids and married parents. Never have I personally felt the need to judge one of my friends for their un-traditional family. Matter of fact, un-traditional has become the norm for my generation I feel. Most of the time no one thinks anything of these situations, unless they are actually being talked about in conversation. When one of my friends was going through the process of her parents deciding to separate, she spoke little about the situation and if it did come up, she would be very short and to the point. It wasn’t until she and her family moved out that some of our friends who knew about her parents. This was probably to avoid judgment, but anyone who was judgmental has obviously lived an extremely sheltered life.

Half of my formal education was in private school, until sixth grade. The rest, seventh through college, has been at public institutions. I do notice a difference in the level of acceptance between these two environments. Whether this is because of location, or financial statuses, I’m not sure, but I feel that public schools do a better job of representing diversity because of the different types of students that attend them. This then leads certain kids to have a better association of the word family.

A point in the article is made that marriages that end are referred to as “failed” instead of finished. This places a lot of pressure on couples to be perfect, and this pressure alone could break a couple. My hopes for the future are that society will understand that a “perfect” family comes in many, more practical forms, and I understand the frustrations of the author. The perfect traditional family had many behind the scenes problems and pieces that made it appear as perfect as it does. This is not true of every four-person family, but certainly past research and examples in the article prove that this may be the case. As of now America is headed into the right direction, and hopefully with time ideas of the American family will reshape itself for the better.

5 thoughts on “The “Perfect” Family (Evolving Ideas)

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:25 pm
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    This blog post had me so engaged. Every paragraphs thought was equally interesting to me.
    Firstly, I have seen many differences as well in private school and public school. Money definitely has the ability to blind people to the grey areas of life.. such as “abnormal” families or homes. The thing these people miss out on is the rawness of life. Life is grey. Love is grey. It will probably never be black and white. It’s not supposed to be. It’s confusing, painful, miraculous. Marriage is not supposed to be easy and families aren’t supposed to always make sense. It’s a romantically idea that these things are easy, simple and always work out, but we have seen otherwise.. I think sometimes it should be “finished”, whether it has failed or not. Sometimes people just aren’t right for each other, and that’s okay. I agree with you that it is never okay to judge someone else’s family.

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  • October 29, 2014 at 7:26 pm
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    OH, and how did you get those pictures on there? I somehow can’t load them.

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    • November 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm
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      Loved your comments thanks for the input! Pictures can be put in by loading files when you type in your blog,I think it’s under media. Hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
  • November 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm
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    I agree that in today’s society there are generally more “untraditional” families. I think with time people will eventually adjust their views and what was once tabooed or abnormal will become the norm. I agree that dubbing a marriage “a failure” can have negative implications on couples and place lots of pressure on being the perfect family. I think that with the increasing numbers of “untraditional” marriages and divorces, people are more aware that there are different kinds of marriages and families. There are some television commercials that have begun showing these diverse families, and hopefully people will begin to accept rather than judge the diverse families.

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  • November 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm
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    Very well put! I totally understand what you are talking about when it comes to public schools being more representative. The town I grew up in had both it’s “bad” and “good”neighborhoods, but there was only one main public high school, so you had kids from every kind of income, family situation, etc all mixed up together, and let me tell you. I definitely think that had some of those kids gone to private school instead of public, they would have been super sheltered, and probably less tolerant.

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