Today’s Modern Family: How to Be Inclusive When Speaking With Kids by Reene McGreevy
I am many things: a mother, a wife and a school nurse. I am also someone who lost a parent at a young age. I was 16 years old when my mother passed away. I always felt different after she died because I no longer fit in with the “norm” of living with both a mother and father. I became very sensitive about it, almost embarrassed, and I stopped correcting people when they spoke about my mom as if she were alive.
Today, I work with children on a daily basis. I try to be very conscious of the fact that not everyone grows up in a house with a mom and dad. Some have parents who have passed away, some are in prison, some have never been involved and some have two moms or two dads.
No one means to hurt feelings when saying things like “tell your mom when you get home” or “didn’t your mother ever teach you to?” but unfortunately it does hurt. Here are some alternatives that I like to use when speaking to children:
- Who do you live with at home?
- Who is your grownup at home?
- Who takes care of you at home?
With family dynamics more diverse than ever, I think it’s important to be more sensitive and not assume anything. It seems small, but goes a very long way!