A couple of posts ago, I discussed my dismay at the fact that in our culture, "family" = couple + children, and childfree couples are not thought of as a family. I posted a link to a recent Redbook article that addressed the question of how many kids a couple should have, completely disregarding the option of "none".
I posted a poll asking what you thought - is a married couple without kids a "family"? Not surprisingly, a vast majority of my readers voted "yes" and a couple people commented that my poll would get very different results on a non-childfree site.
So out of curiosity, I posted the same poll on another site - a non-childfree discussion board. The members of the forum are primarily women from all walks of life. Most are moms or are planning to be moms at some point. A few are childfree. Some are childless. They are a pretty good cross-section of women.
Well, you may be surprised to know that with 130 votes cast so far, in answer to the question, "is a married couple without kids a 'family' "? they responded as follows:
Not Sure: 2.3%
Surprised? I am.
Honestly, I'm not. My mom is part of the pro-natal crew (When I was 19 I told her I didn't want kids and she called me selfish), but sometime after I was born, she bought an anniversary gift for my dad that had "The Smith Family, Est. 1980" on it. The year they got married, and several before I was born.
How about one more poll: "Is a household headed by a single person with no children considered a family?"
That's pretty cool. I do consider any household (single parent, two adults, etc) a family. So its definitely cool that they think of childfree couples as a family. =)
I think the results would be much different is the wording was more precise. That poll's answers may be to the question: "is a married couple without kids YET a 'family' ". - in which case it is not surprising.
I think so too.
The people there who answered 'yes' , were most probably assuming that these were recently married couples who undoubtedly intended to have children at some point... I doubt they would have given the same answers knowing that they were CHILDFREE couples.
No, actually they were clear as to the question I was asking because I prefaced the question by telling them that hubby and me are childfree and consider ourselves a family.
As the author of Families of Two: Interviews with Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice (www.lauracarroll.com), I am another resounding yes to your question. I have interviewed over 100 couples without children by choice and they would all say they are a "family." Would their friends who are parents say so too? Yep!
I am so late to the discussion... but my husband's family lives on the west coast and in Hawaii. Airlines let you choose your seats when you buy your tickets, but somehow (we do not share an exact last name, I chose to hyphenate) we always get separated on flights. There was an overbooked flight coming home and the announcement said, come to the check-in counter if your are a family without seats together. We went and were told we didn't count because we didn't have kids. I wanted to blow up! I know little ones need to sit next to mom, but why do the 3 or 4 of them get to sit next to eachother and not us? Another reason for "family flights" and "child-free" flights. I would pay more (I would have to because there would be some kind of family saver plan or tax deduction for the family flights)
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