What does it mean to be part of a family system, evolutionally?
According to the dictionary, a family is based on a group of individuals, parents, and children, who reside in the same household together. Families are also individuals who share a common ancestry. But, what happens when individuals age and they separate, thus moving on, into their own home, outside of the parents and other siblings. They go on to have their own familial and social connections, potentially and commonly dissociative to familiarity. Many people use the term family so loosely, as to not realize that when you venture off and rear your own child(ren), becoming a parent, you construct your own family, and anything else is simply an extension, one that you can form new affiliation, sustain existing ones, and even purge when necessary.
Having a strong family bond is important to most family members, but not others, which will tie in closing with the next three sections that are to be discussed. Family bonding goes back to again, being together, having a healthy, respectful, and trusting relationships; strong emotional connections, and cohesion. Having a strong bond does not necessarily mean that financial dependency, simply means being confidences, teaching and learning from one another. But what is family dynamism lack all aspects of what a family truly means? Can it still be defined as a “family” per se?
- Nuclear family: traditionally, parents, i.e., mother and father, and children reside in the same household. This type of family is held to the highest esteem by society. This essentially means, married couples who share biological children, but from a modernity perspective. A large percentage of these nuclear families fit under this matrimonial umbrella.
- Single Parent Family: One that I am experienced and well-versed. In today’s societies, most children are growing up in single-family households, with either mother or father, or they are being rotated between the two. Single-family households are not a bad thing, as children can still receive the same love and attention that they. get when residing in dual-parent families. Single parenting is not necessarily difficult, as the parent tends to put things into focus fairly quickly and establish a routine that works for all parties involved. Myself personally, I, as well as myself had to learn responsibilities fairly quickly and everyone was held accountable for their actions. Working a full-time job, sometimes with overtime to bring in extra cash flow, sending children off to school, playdates, PTA, visiting, trips, and other life happenstances, even being prepared for emergency situations, and I must stay that I have had to face some very traumatic and inevitable experiences. However, when it comes to single parenting most people take on the challenge. I only had two children, so it kind of, sort of, worked for me. I didn’t mind being a single parent, as it stemmed from me getting out of a toxic and infidel relationships. Being a single parent means figuring things out that works for you. Being a single parent means establishing a system that works for you. Children play a major role in single parenting, but children do not dictate or hold weight over your entire being. It is ok, to ensure their safety and to ensure their happiness and make sure they are provided with options that are beneficial longterm. But, being a single parent does not mean that you have to be miserable. I am going to say this and most may understand where I am coming from. When children reach a certain age, their mouths your worst enemy. Raising children to be respectful not only to you but to others is essential. Raising children, especially teens and emerging adults does not mean that parents have to be overprotective or helicopter moms or dads. Raising children the right way means that you can let them out into the world and trust that they will make the right decisions, even when faced with peer pressure. Yes, they may mess up from time to time and that is just because they are going through a self-discovery phase. Let your children figure out who they are, what they like, and dislike. This could lead to better communication where children feel safe coming to you and sharing their experiences of whatever they may be. Openness, Honesty, and Respectability are key. Ok enough about single parenting, moving on.
- Extended Families: Too often, multiple adults reside in a single household. This could be through marriage or ancestry commonalities. All adults in the household contribute to raising children and engaging in household chores and financial expenses. There is a high frequency of parents remarrying after divorcing their previous partners or even cohabitation. This includes grandparents living in the same household as their children to assist in raising children, or not. There is also an increased chance that both parents will have children of their own from previous relationships, i.e., a blended family, and to which will potentially lead to having children of their own together, again, or not, outside of the ones they already have, i.e., an extended family. I cannot say that that I have ever experienced the whole extended and blended family situation, as I have always been a person that enjoyed my own space and it was not too often that I dated guys who had children, no offense. I love my privacy and I don’t like the idea of doing things that others may not agree with. I have always tried to live a drama-free life which is why I made and still make the life choices that I do. However, to each his own.
- Parentless Families or Orphans – Just because children live in a household with their parents, allegedly, that does not mean that they are being parented. There are several circumstances where children, at very young ages, are left to fend for themselves even when they have not developed or been taught the necessary skills to do so. Some of these situations can be a result of their parents going through life challenging situations that are related to addiction, prostitution, gambling, poverty, natural disasters, automobile or other accidents, complete abandonment, and terminate or debilitating diseases. When children lack proper parenting it is not their fault. Children were not asked to be born into the world but there are some instances where parents resent the idea of becoming a parent, particularly if the pregnancy was a result of rape, coercion, or arrangements. Teen pregnancy continues to occur at high rates. Some teens step up to the plate while others neglect such responsibility, leaving their parents or grandparents to raise their child
- Step Families: This too is categorized as blended families. Stepfamilies are a result of marrying partners that already have a child or children from previous relationships. Stepchildren mean taking on the responsibility of a child and treating that child as if it is your own as if you have given birth to that child. Stepfamilies carry the same weight as nuclear families, irrespective of pre and postnatal experiences. Being a step-parent has no age limitation. Because most men, supposedly, enjoy the company of a younger partner, there is oftentimes, their relationship goes through a marital stage and he may have children that are in the same age proximity as is new wife. The same is true for women who enjoy the company of a younger man. There is nothing wrong with that, as love and happiness are ageless. How I say this to say as an example of the anti-age limitation when it comes to stepparenting. Stepfamilies can be ultimately rewarding, as it all depends on how well each person gets along and how much effort they put in establishing a trusting and respectful relationships, and know that you are not trying to take the place of their biological parent. It works.
- Grandparent Families: Most grandparents love their grandchildren as if they were there own, but most grandparents across the world are raising, parenting their grandchildren, and for obvious reasons. It is not because their birth parents were not good, as situations change all the time, particularly financially, emotionally, and through unforeseen tragedies, hence a result of similar conditions, those related to parentless children. This is not to say that grandchildren cannot raise their grandchildren in the same manner as their birth parents, but grandparents have raised their children already. They should be on the verge of living their BEST LIFE or retried life, without taking on the full responsibility of raising a child or children a second time around. The grandchildren are blessed to have grandparents who willfully take them in, unequivocal and unquestionably. Children who are raised by loving grandparents who show unconditional love should be honored, as there are family situations that are not as loving or accepting. I recently became a grandparent (did I just put that out there – (:-|). I would not trade it for the world as my only granddaughter is a vibrant and adventurous individual and is now in the stage of her life where she seeks to explore everything in sight. If the situation ever presented itself, I would not question raising her.
- Same-Sex Families: In contemporary and modern times, more same-sex couples are raising children. Because same-sex couples cannot have children of their own, they resort to adoption or surrogacy. Same-sex parents and be just as loving as any other parent. Being a good mother or father should never have sexual identification or sexual preferential choice labels attached. Parenting is parenting, as long as a child is shown unconditional love and treated well, and provide with essentials and security. To a certain extent, love is blind and should not regulate or dictate who you can and cannot have as a sexual partner. Children are the most innocent in the world. They are pure and spongy. They absorb all that they are exposed to and when they are raised by any type of family they are given themselves, the opportunity to live to their fullest potential. Let love be. Let love live. Let people share their love selflessly, especially to deserving children no matter what their sexual preferences or orientation. Love is Life and Happiness. Period.
- Adopted Families: There are insurmountable children who fall to the hands of the foster care system. Some, who eventually get adopted while others don’t (foster families are discussed next). Adopted families align with most family categories, as blended families, same-sex parenting couples, are adopting children. The same goes for single parents and nuclear parents. Adopted families can also be a combination of birth and adopted children which brings into the blended aspect of family constructivism. There are often times when same-sex parents will adopt the child of their partner, taking parenting to the next level and to ensure the child that they have stability, love, and certainty.
- Foster Families: Again, children become part of foster family-ies when they are adopted into the foster systems. A significant number of children live with foster parents before they are adopted or reach legal age or become emancipated adults. They continue to be apart of this societal family dynamic even shortly after they are placed with adopted parents. Foster families are not a bad thing. In fact, its the opposite. Most individuals sign up to become foster parents because THEY CARE about children who have fallen short of having a stable and secure family dynamic or because they cannot have children of their own. Contrarily, some foster parents are in it for a governmental paycheck or steady income, which is not healthy for the children that are involved. Foster children, whoever they are, should NEVER be ridiculed, bullied, or seen as different. These are children who are trying to take life as it is given to then and using their necessary tools that they are provided in the way that they see fit. Yes, some foster children become rebellious, who seek independence, and who just want to be left alone. Still, some children are accepting of the nurturing environment that they are placed in and use it to their advantage to become a better person and to also aid in supporting those who fall prey to the foster system, hence giving back based on personal experiences and turmoil. I have personally seen some of the most beautiful and innocent children go through the foster care system. Just sitting here thinking about it brings me to tears, as these children do not deserve this and are at time place in foster homes where their foster parents don’t give two bits… about the children they take in. Some adults do so as if it is a favor to the children, but frequently, others do it for their own personal gain. NOT GOOD. I have never been a foster child nor parent, and have tried to assist foster children, particularly those who felt they had life figured out, and whatever was said to them did not matter. What is a foster parent or supporter suppose to do when the foster child or children have their own life agenda. This is a typical complexity that occurs, which in most cases results end with the foster parent throwing in the towel, and the child or children are right back where they started, back in a foster home.
- Homeless Families: Reverting to the fostering systems and childless children, most of these children end up homeless, thus becoming part of homeless communities and families. These are individuals who are still trying to figure life out or have fallen on hard times that resulted in drastic measures. Some individuals land into a homeless state due to substance abuse, addiction, or others, whereby leaving themselves with little to no option in avoiding homelessness as a way to support habits. This is not to plague homeless individuals, but most of these situations could have been avoided. Ok, I get it, COVID-19. Ok, I am not talking about this type of measure that can leave the majority population homeless. I am merely referring to reckless behaviors. Adopted children who do not resonate with their adopted family sometimes end up being abandoned or without a roof over their heads. This includes those children who mandate state emancipation to fast-forward their adulthood status. What is the rush to adulthood? If I could do it all over again, I would stay 12 years old. I remember when my son turned 18. He was so elated to reach an independent state, that on his birthday he went out and got his driver’s license and shortly after go his own apartment. A year later he was back home because he personally figured out the responsibilities of organic adulthood. I still laugh at him to this day. He’s holding his own now and doing it well even though he still relies on me for shortcomings. Ok, back to the homeless families. Gambling, addictions, death of parents or loved ones, loss of primary resources of income, and natural disaster and definitely place any person in a homeless state. Most people are living from one paycheck to the next and with one false move, i.e., COVID-19, they can be left lying flat on their backs, not knowing where their next meals will come from. Homelessness is no joke, as you see people all over the world in this position. Some rudely or unpassionately yell to them “get a job” not even knowing what landed them in their situation. They could have been millionaires who made one bad investment. Yes, it happens. Having a crooked incompetent accountant who stole their life savings or mismanaged their funds can also result in homelessness, short-term, or longterm. Children who become homeless are semi- at fault but not totally. We must give children the benefit of the doubt as some are mature enough to decide what is healthy and secure living conditions and what is not. These situations are not meant to be judged under any circumstance, especially when it comes to children.
In modern times, there are various family dynamics, even those that overlap. Definitively, families have become unique to each person individually, and more specifically for those who live in an individualistic culture as opposed to a collectivistic one.
Regardless of your family dynamic, whether its blood ties, familiarity, unfamiliarity, foster, blended, stepped, homeless, or otherwise. It is your duty to make the best of your personal experiences. Just because you are born into a family does not mean that it will be your family for eternity. When you live life independently, life situations shift and change. Sometimes there are familial situations that transpire that you may want to remove yourself from. Or, there are situations where you feel like you are stuck in a rut and have different aspirations than the person you are surrounded by. There is nothing wrong with change. It is not until others start to change for the better that you may reconnect or even wish them well in future endeavors.
Stay tuned for Part 2…………………………………………………………
I wish to discuss further family and blood toxicity, sibling rivalries, physical autication and violations, invasion of privacy, living stress and drama-free, and removing yourself from naysayers, negative mindsets, and noninfluential entities.