You may have noticed that the families of classmates at school or among your friends can be very different from yours. But the basic similarities are that members of a family usually live together. They might disagree or argue, but they are closely bound by their love and concern for one another.
Some families have one parent — either a mom or a dad. Some have both a mom and a dad. Others have two moms or two dads. If two parents get divorced and remarry, you may be seeing double — there can be two sets of parents!
Some children live in families with foster parents, who care for them when their biological parents cannot. And there are parents who follow a legal process to adopt, or choose, children they then raise as their own.
When adults getting married already have children, then the marriage joins not just two individuals but also two families into a new family unit. We call these new families "stepfamilies" — or “blended" families — because they represent a new blend of family members who were already part of other families.
In a stepfamily, the parent not biologically related to a child is called a "stepparent" (for example, stepmother or stepfather). If both parents have prior children, these children are stepbrothers and stepsisters to each other.
As many of us know, a family isn't limited to simply parents and their biological children. The word “family" is a big word that encompasses many other types of loving and guiding relationships.
Family members are often close and feel they can depend on one another for caring guidance and support. Whether it's grandparents, aunts and uncles or even close friends who make up a family, what is important is the love or common interests that bind them together.
Regardless of biological relationship, you may be a part of several “families." Your school classmates may be a family to you. Your soccer team may be a family. Your fellow Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts may be a family, too.
How many families are you a part of? What makes those families special?