The New Normal: Your Family is Alright

April 18, 2019
Kim Brown

Article written by Kim Brown

If you’re even vaguely familiar with current television sitcoms, you will know what we’re referring to when we say “Modern Family.”

“Modern Family,” which has been on the air since 2009 and will sadly come to an end in 2020, revolves around three different types of families (nuclear, blended, and same-sex) who are all connected through the oldest character, Jay Pritchett.

The families navigate quirky, embarrassing and difficult situations, and in that sense, the show isn’t all that different from other family sitcoms. However, there weren’t many tv families that reflected what real families looked like ten years ago. For this reason, “Modern Family” is one-of-a-kind because it really changed the way we think about family structures.

This got us thinking…how do we define a “normal family” anymore? Or, perhaps we need to do away with that label altogether.

Two parents, two kids and a dog. That family definitely exists today. But there are families with one dad and two kids, and maybe a bird. There are families with two moms and one child, and plenty of plush toys for pets. And there are families with three or four parents and more than two kids.

Here are some additional insights into “normal” Canadian families:

  • For the first time in 2011, the number of common-law couple families surpassed the number of lone-parent families in Canada
  • The 2011 Census counted 64,575 same-sex couple families, up 42.4% from 2006. Of these couples, 21,015 were same-sex married couples and 43,560 were same-sex common-law couples
  • About 8 in 10 lone-parent families were female lone-parent families in 2011, accounting for 12.8% of all census families. Male lone-parent families represented 3.5% of all census families
  • The 2011 Census counted stepfamilies for the first time. Of the 3,684,675 couples with children, 12.6% were stepfamilies
  • Among children aged 14 and under, 269,315, or 4.8%, lived in households that contained at least one grandparent. Of these children, 30,005 (0.5%) lived in skip-generation families, that is, with grandparents and not with their parents

So really, modern Canadian family structures are as diverse as Canadians themselves.

That’s something to be proud of.