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Celebrating Diversity: The Modern Family Landscape

diverse family with child

The days of families fitting certain criteria are long gone. Diversity is an important aspect of the modern family structure and is worth celebrating, especially during observances like the International Day of Families in May. 

Although diverse family structures are part of all aspects of society, they don’t always experience fair treatment. Legal protections for blended families, LGBTQ+ families, and multicultural families can be quite challenging during certain life events, such as divorce and parental rights cases.

While it’s important to celebrate diverse families inside an inclusive culture, it’s also important to be realistic about the challenges they face. 

Celebrating the Modern Family

Regardless of whether the family structure fits traditional societal expectations or not, research shows that parents and children function well inside a family unit. Whether the parents in the family identify as LGBTQ+, fit into multiple cultures, or have a blended configuration, the family structure in place helps their children develop in a positive manner.

Other types of modern families may involve a single parent, foster parents, or a caregiver who may or may not be a direct relative of the child.

Help for Diverse Family Units

Because social acceptance of the non-traditional family structure sometimes doesn’t occur, such families may go through especially difficult situations. Support systems are in place that try to help. However, the reality is that these families sometimes need extra support.

Some of the ways people can help modern families with acceptance and inclusivity include:

  • Invite diverse families to share: Sometimes, letting people tell their own stories is a better option than asking questions. This allows family members to emphasize the points they believe are important, rather than making assumptions about what you believe is important.
  • Avoid using assumptive language: Rather than naturally expecting that someone’s family consists of a mother and father, use language that doesn’t make such assumptions. 
  • Work to build trust: Take the time to open lines of communication and ask for suggestions about improving inclusivity. When modern families believe that organizations are making an effort to include them, they likely will respond in kind, creating a level of trust.
  • Embrace inclusive traditions: When celebrating a holiday or tradition, try to avoid leaving out people who have a diverse family. Work to use language that makes the celebration open to everyone. Allow family members to introduce traditions that everyone involved can share together.

Using inclusive language is an important step when it comes to embracing diversity in the modern family. Avoid making assumptions about what you expect to find in the modern family or with the diversity of the family. Do a lot of listening.

Understanding Challenges for Diverse Families

Even as diverse families make strides in finding inclusive environments, roadblocks remain common. 

Communication Difficulties

Regardless of the structure of the family, communication difficulties can cause struggles. Modern families need to find ways to feel comfortable discussing difficult topics that they are facing related to their diverse structures. 

All family members should be encouraged to discuss issues and difficulties without fear of dismissal of their feelings. Having everyone embrace the skill of listening can be a key first step to better communication.

Co-Parenting Strategies

Stepfamilies and blended families often have struggles with successful co-parenting, especially in the early days. Unfamiliar parenting styles sometimes can cause conflict. 

Often, open communication is a key first step to successful co-parenting. From there, making an effort to find shared activities and spending time together can yield positive outcomes.

Divorce, Child Custody, and Other Legal Issues

Unfortunately, divorce is a possibility in any family situation. Blended and LGBTQ+ families can have especially challenging outcomes during divorce proceedings.

Same-sex couples must follow North Carolina laws regarding divorce. However, when it comes to determining child custody for these non-traditional families, the law is ambiguous.

Child custody issues exist when one parent has a biological relationship with the child, especially if the other parent did not go through a formal adoption process. Such situations can affect visitation as well. 

Because the laws regularly change for same-sex and blended families going through divorce, seeking help from a North Carolina divorce lawyer is vital.

Reach Out To Learn More About What We Can Do for You

At Triangle Divorce Lawyers, we take pride in celebrating the diversity of the modern family. However, if you are undergoing a tough legal situation, such as a divorce, it can be an especially challenging process because of the family structure you have.

For a confidential consultation, call us today at 984-985-2395.



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