The New York Times – The Changing American Family

This article reads like a summary from a university lecture but with much better writing.  This overview covers the ever-popular “blended family,” as well as single and unmarried families, two career families, immigrating and arranged families, and everything in between. It’s notable that the demographics of intact families rank gay, male-parented families number one for staying together.  The article refers to a 14-year study that found “none of the male couples with children had broken up, not one.” My friend David suggests this may result from the introspection and personal work gay men must undertake in order to succeed in the world. Beyond this, finding a partner and starting a family requires a huge investment of energy and commitment by gay men. Having made this investment, they’re extremely reluctant to break up. Families used to stay together out of necessity, and this may be the case again.

Toward the end of the article is a section entitled “Simply Deciding to be Related.”  This might also have been called “Family By Choice,” “Partnered Parenting,” “Parenting as a Team,” or what I like to call “Tribal Parenting.”  Whatever we might call them, the essential element in these families is not blood relationship or romantic affinity.  Instead there are common values, complimentary needs, and shared abilities. Once we make a choice to parent with “voluntary kin,” as the author calls them, we are well on your way to making a “village” that includes many approaches to parenting.  Such a village is the best possible environment for inclusive, sustainable, and thriving families of all kinds.

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