Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family Connections - Explaining it the kids

In today's day & age, family dynamics are more complex than ever.  Blended families due to divorce,
2nd marriages and adoption are far more widespread and considered the "common norm" in our society.  With that said, discussions with our own kids about our family dynamics and the connections between everyone in our extended family has taken a different turn now that Thomas has started to ask more questions.  And when there are more kid questions, that also means all three of the kids are listening more and grasping a more real idea of how our family really looks.

Recently, the family connections discussion moved from the standard & familiar questions like "Nana is your Mom, right Mommy?" and "Is Aunt Jenny {sister} younger or older than Daddy?" to ones that clearly indicated curiosity of and concern for our family.

Thomas asked, "Why do Nana and Grandpa live in different houses?" and "What do you mean Dad has two daddies?"  And even further surprising me, he asked why his cousin doesn't have any brothers or sisters (like he does) and why another aunt & uncle have no children at all.  It's fair to say that Thomas has reached an age where he really gets the dynamics and wants an explanation he can hang his hat on.

With three sets of ears wide open & eyes fixed on me for answers, I decided not to tip-toe around the questions and just simply & gracefully try to offer them answers:
  • Some people who are married & love each other, eventually fall out of love and are no longer happy living together.  Sometimes those people decide that it is best for them to live in separate houses.
  • Sometimes when people end up living in separate houses because they're not happy anymore with each other, they choose not to be married anymore.
  • Just because a Mommy & a Daddy don't love each other anymore, doesn't mean that they don't love their children anymore.  They love them just the same, maybe even more.  And they will always be their mom & dad.
  • Sometimes people find another person that they love and want to spend the rest of their life with.  Sometimes that also means kids get to know and love another mommy or daddy who comes into their life.
  • Not everyone has a brother and sister.  Some people have lots and lots of them, others have only a few, and still others, like your cousin, do not have any.  He gets all of his Mommy & Daddy's love to himself.
  • Just because two people are married doesn't mean that they have children.  Some people are waiting for the right time, some people are choosing not to have any, and still others are hoping to one day have a baby.
I don't know if I handled their new questions the right way, but all three of them seemed satisfied and even pleased that they were provided an explanation that they could wrap their head around.  They were reassured that their family members are both loved and give love to those around them, which is one of the most important things they need to hear.

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