Tuesday, 23 July 2013

What is a 'normal' family?

I wrote yesterday about how kids with 'special' responsibilities develop special abilities, and take on personas that help them cope.  Or, to sound less like an Expert, I wrote about my personas (just two of them) that helped me cope. I've no idea if these are universal. Perhaps I am just messed up. 

At any rate. 

That post got me thinking about who the 'normal' families are and whether there even is such a thing.  I don't want to this to turn into a research paper, so I'm just going to list all the 'family types' where I think kids might have more emotional or practical responsibilities than my imagined norm. Each is followed by a question mark for obvious reasons. 
  • Single-parent households? (E.g. through divorce, bereavement, personal choice)
  • Households where grandparents or other relatives are care-takers (instead of parents)? 
  • Households where a sibling has been ill or died?  
  • Households where someone has a physical disability other than illness?
  • Households where a parent or child is ill for a long time? (Keep in mind the huge numbers of people who have the so-called 'lifestyle diseases' now. Chronic, long-term conditions that require continued care and can sometimes be very debilitating and involve complications.)  
  • Households crippled by debt? 
  • Homeless families? 
  • Families who have to move a lot for work?
Is it possible that within each of these, kids take on relatively more emotional responsibility than the imagined or actual norm?  Is there a norm?  What is it?   

And more importantly I think, if there are so many types of situations where this kind of thing can happen, are many of these kids feeling alone?  Like I did?  Like I still do?  WHY? 

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