The definition of a family has changed to include same sex couples and single parents, even unmarried couples with children, but if you are in a child-free partnership you are not a family. What makes a family? Children. According to dictionary.com a family is a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family. That means same sex couples and married or unmarried couples are still not considered equal in society. While it warms my heart to see people post charts that include same sex couples and their children as families, I am sad to see that my choice to be child-free keeps me out of the family category.
An ABC news story on a 2010 survey by sociology professor Brian Powell shows that most Americans believe that kids make a family:
“In 2010, almost everyone — 99.8 percent — agreed that a husband, wife and kids count as a family. Ninety-two percent said that a husband and wife without the kids made a family.
“Children provide this, quote, ‘guarantee’ that move you to family status,” Powell said. “Having children signals something. It signals that there really is a commitment and a sense of responsibility in a family.”
For instance, 39.6 percent in 2010 said that an unmarried man and woman living together were a family — but give that couple some kids and 83 percent say that’s a family.
Thirty-three percent said a gay male couple was a family. Sixty-four percent said they became a family when they added children.”
So while we are making baby steps with our wider definition of family it seems that the child-free might be considered family-free for now.
Hey WNKers do you consider yourself part of a family?
- ‘Traditional’ family not typical (bbc.co.uk)