Foster families, adoptive families, childless couples, nuclear families, and same-sex parent families are some examples of the evolving diversity of families.
Ayda María Martínez Ipuz
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Polyparental , chosen, adoptive, nuclear, childless, blended, and many other forms of families exist today. They are a group of individuals living under the same roof, organized in fixed roles (father, mother, siblings, etc.), with or without blood ties, sharing a common socio-economic existence and bound by affectionate feelings, according to the definition provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, today's families are very different from those of the past. The concept and types of families have progressively changed along with society and culture, giving rise to diversity.
"The importance of a family lies in its role of educating, teaching, and instilling the first values in the children who are part of it. It is a fundamental human right for every individual as it influences their psychological, emotional, and social development," commented Raquel Meca Garrido, Senior PR Manager at Babbel and mother of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl. She added, "Regardless of the family structure, the idea is for it to function as support, understanding, and communication to develop the potential of each member. That's why it is crucial to understand the meaning of the various types of families that exist today."
In light of the evolving conservative concept of "family," linguists at the language learning platform Babbel have detailed some terms to understand the diversity of families in modern societies:
Childless: This type of family consists of a couple (two individuals) without children. The term "child-free" has been in use since the early 20th century, although it was not until the 1970s that feminists began to use it more widely to denote women who chose not to have children as a distinct group.
Biparental or heteroparental: The biparental or heterosexual family with children is the most popular, also known as nuclear or traditional. It consists of a father, a mother, and their biological children.
Same-sex parental: These are families whose parental figures are same-sex individuals who, as a couple, access parenthood. This term also includes families formed by gay or lesbian couples who raise and live with the children of one of the partners, resulting from a previous heterosexual relationship.
Blended: These families are formed by the merging of multiple biparental groups. After a divorce, the children live with their mother or father and their respective new partners, who may also have their children in their care. Additionally, the other parent may also have a partner with the children, so these children become part of a larger blended family.
Single-parent: Single-parent families are formed by one adult with one or more children. Single parenthood has also become one of the fastest-growing family structures in the last three decades. Not cohabiting as a couple is also one of the fundamental conditions for a family to be considered single-parent.
Adoptive: These families consist of a couple or a single adult with one or more adopted children. Many families, due to fertility issues or personal convictions, choose adoption as a way to become parents.
In Foster Care: Formed by a couple or a single adult certified by the authority to care for and protect girls, boys, and adolescents who are temporarily deprived of parental care. They are temporary families that take care of providing the best possible environment to minors in need until they are definitively adopted or until their biological family can take care of them.
Extended: The extended family is formed by several members of the same family who live under the same roof. In this way, parents, children, and grandparents can live together, or parents, children, and uncles, etc.
Without a Nucleus: There is no couple relationship or parents and children, but there are other kinship relationships, for example: two siblings, grandparents and their grandchildren, uncles and nephews, etc.
Of Origin: Parents, guardians, or individuals who have legal custody of girls, boys, and adolescents with ascendant kinship up to the second degree, such as grandparents.
Cohabitation Partnerships: Two people of the same or different sex who establish a common household with the intention of permanence and mutual assistance - with or without children. For example, in cohabitation or common-law marriage.
Multigenerational: The multigenerational family is composed of three or more distinct generations who live under the same roof, that is, different age groups are in the same house. These families tend to be more common for people aged 80 or older, as it is usually when older adults need care or assistance with their daily tasks.
Chosen: This concept refers to emotional bonds and support networks formed with those with whom one does not necessarily share blood ties but does share affection and interests, thus providing mutual or reciprocal care. For many people, the chosen family formed by a social network of friends fulfills the same functions as a family united by blood ties.
Polyparental: Poly-parenting is one of the types of families that can exist in households despite not having legal recognition. Poly-parental families arise from non-monogamous relationships, such as polyamorous relationships. It occurs when offspring are had in a relationship that involves more than two people. In this way, children from poly-parental families may have multiple mothers and/or fathers for the purposes of upbringing and education, even if they are not legally recognized as such.