We often tend to think of the “traditional American family” as being two married parents with 1.5 children, and the whole white picket fence thing. But actually we see that two-parent families have been declining over the last few years. We’re seeing changes in the size of modern families as well as the family structure. And actually, we are at a point where there really isn’t a definitive “normal” family structure anymore!
For some people, learning this fact puts them in a panic. They may have a genuine concern about non-traditional families being broken or concern that the children are going to be negatively impacted. However, research says that family structure is not as important as family processes. That’s basically just “research-speak” to say that what your family LOOKS LIKE is not as important as what your family DOES. Sure, there are certain family structures that may be considered “at-risk”, but that doesn’t mean that if kids fall into one of those categories that they are doomed. In fact, any kind of family structure can be at-risk for certain negative outcomes (AND any kind of family structure can have great outcomes).
So if you’re a parent out there, just know that whether you have a “traditional” family OR a blended family OR have recently gone through a separation with your co-parent OR have an “untraditional” family structure – you aren’t damaging your kids (I mean you knew that all along, but now you can say research backs it up!). What matters is that you spend time together, show your kids you love them, set appropriate limits for them, and encourage family togetherness. These kinds of things matter a lot more than what your family “looks like”.
For this reason, the Science of Parenting website and blog focuses on what parents can be doing rather than what their families look like. We have lots of resources for families with kids of all ages – because we believe that you deserve access to trustworthy information so that YOU can make decisions about what is best for your family. If you want more information about what you can be doing with and for your kids, Check out the new EVERYDAY PARENTING section of the new website- you can even look at resources based on the specific age of your child.
So go ahead, dig around the new EVERYDAY PARENTING section of the website! Leave us comments about one of your new favorite resources that you find.