Emerging Leaders 2016 AASL Project: Introduction
The Next America: Modern Family
According to the recent Pew Research Center report Parenting in America, the structure of the American family has undergone dramatic changes.
Many of our students (children and teens) are now members of non-traditional family situations that differ greatly from the nuclear family of the 1950s and 1960s.
In place of two married parents, these students are being cared for by single parents (unmarried, divorced, never married, or widowed), cohabiting parents, remarried parents, grandparents, or other relatives in their primary households. Traveling between two or more households has become the norm for some of these students.
As a result, students in nontraditional households may have a wide range of needs and concerns that must be addressed. In a time when households may or not be places of stability, the school library offers these students (and their caregivers) a structured and supportive environment.
Terms & Definitions
A traditional family is commonly defined as containing two parents (also traditionally male and female) in their first marriage, with one or more children.
A non-traditional family is understood to be any family structure that differs from the above definition of a "traditional" family, and includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Single Parent Family
- Cohabiting Parent Family
- Remarried Parent Family / Blended Family
- Divorced Parent Family / Multiple Household Family
- Non-Resident Parent Family / Kinship Care
Single Parent Family
A family unit in which children are cared for by the biological mother or father, with no spouse or partner present. (For the purposes of this resource, we do not include foster parents in this definition (please see the Foster Care section of this guide).
Cohabiting Parent Family
A family unit in which children are cared for by both biological parents, who are living together but not legally married.
Remarried Parent Family / Blended Family
A family unit in which children are cared for by a biological parent and a step-parent (with potential step-siblings) as a result of a second or later marriage.
Divorced Parent Family / Multiple Households
A family unit in which divorced parents share the care of biological children in some form of custody situation. As a result, children travel to and live in multiple households.
Non-Resident Parent Family / Kinship Care
A family unit in which neither biological parent is present to care for children. Care falls to a grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or other relative.