How Do You Define Family?
That’s a tough question to answer. Even the dictionary offers multiple definitions for the word.
A few decades ago, the word family, in most people’s eyes, referred to a mother, a father, and their children. Fast forward to present day and you’ll find that families come in all different forms, and the word can carry a different meaning depending on who you ask.
Apart from the pure legal definition, families today are often a mix of stepparents, half siblings, same sex parents, extended family members, etc. Additionally, many people consider their family to be people in their lives who are not even related to them; they define family based on factors such as loyalty, respect, love, and responsibility.
To better understand the depth and dynamic behind the meaning of family, and find a better sense of how you define the word for yourself, take a look below at a few of the many ways people define the word.
The traditional make up of a family consists of a mother and father, whom are married, raising their biological children in one household. This type of family dynamic is less of a norm nowadays; especially as divorce rates are rising.
Blended families are when each parent has children from a previous relationship and both spouses’ children are now being raised in the same household. With the number of blended families in Canada growing each year, more and more children are growing up with stepsiblings and stepparents making up their family.
Some people go beyond their household when they think of family. They think of their extended family, including aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Some children grow up very close to extended family members, some are raised by their extended family, and some families are not close with their extended family at all.
The Family You Choose
In a totally different direction, family doesn’t always have to be biological, or by marriage. Many people consider their close friends as family members, because they care for them as they care about their own family. Others may consider coworkers, community members, or other group members they are affiliated with to be an extension of their family. Family can be whomever you choose to call family, whether you are related or not.
There’s No Such Thing As “Normal”
Now more than ever before, it is important for people to understand that when it comes to what is a family, there is no such thing as normal. Every person, every child, every parent, every couple has a unique situation, and to try and define everyone in one black and white term would make no sense.
Family is not defined by biology, or marriage, or even a home. Family is the people you love and who love you back, the people you feel safe around, and the people you can count on to be there when you need them.