In school I was always taught that the traditional family always had a mother, father and children living in one house. But it’s different for me and my friend; I live with my mum and he lives with his aunt. We were never told that family structure could be different to the presented traditional family. But I now know that the times have changed from when my parents were young; and as a result the way we view the traditional family has changed with it. People go through different experiences such as: divorce, separation, parenting out of marriage, LGBT parenting, fostering and other situations.
Mainstream Maltese society still holds dearly to traditional family values, but times are changing. In recent years, myself and others as part of the younger generation have developed different attitudes towards aspects of the traditional family. Family is important but can come in different forms; these different forms don’t make them less of a family.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my family, and I’ve come to realise a few things…There are core values that can be found in all healthy family groupings:
- Every member of a family is responsible for the way that they speak and act towards each other. Familial obligations sometimes rely on good judgement, and not letting people down. Leading to values such as trust and reliability.
- Family members care and look after one another whilst also treating each other with kindness and respect. This means that family members listen and support each other’s feelings, and allow each other to make personal choices and decisions.
- Any form of abuse in a relationship is unacceptable and the opposite to healthy family values.
- Children within every family, need to be provided with warmth and affection.
- Parents should set out clear guidelines to make sure that children learn the idea of rules and be able to obey them. This will develop a child’s self-esteem and moral capacity over a range of situations.
- Children should have the access and confidence to be able to speak with their parents about all subjects.
- Learn to give respect in any form of relationship rather than judgement, discrimination, isolation or merely acceptance of the situation.
No matter the differences in family structure, whether it is traditional or not, as long as the family is filled with love, purpose and understanding, all family types should be treated with respect and accepted by society.
I think my family is great and it has taught me a lot. My family has mostly taught me that nothing is as bad as it seems, and that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade.