Family Discrimination


Kevin McKenna
Journalist & With Kids Trustee
Very often it’s the small, petty discriminations that occur almost daily and go un-noticed that can be the most damaging.

What do we say about ‘family’ discrimination that turns its nose up at those not living inside a neat family unit with three children and a birth mother and father who are married to each other?

Many children, and not simply those from the less affluent neighbourhoods, have to live with the reality of life with one parent owing to divorce and separation. Many have known no other model and, in the not too distant future, we will encounter an increasing number, both of whose parents will be of the same sex. Many others will have parents who have simply decided, for various reasons, not to get married.

Recent research has shown that the model of the traditional two-parent family did not last as long as we had all assumed. It suggests that co-habitation was far more common in the pre-war years than we were led to believe.

Apart from anything else there was something of a backlash against the traditional paternalistic religion and government who stood by and allowed millions of people to die horribly in senseless wars. Why should they be listened to over people’s domestic arrangements?

Many of us were lucky enough to be born into stable units where a loving relationship existed between our mother and father. Each year though, life gets more complicated. In a world where personal relationships have become more fragmented people will seek love and companionship in whichever clothes it comes in and no matter how fleeting that relationship may turn out to be.

It’s not for us to judge the validity of a union according to old and imperfect assumptions and expectations.

God is a dinosaur now

Tricia Hughes
Founding Director of With Kids

I sat and watched a child, who is deeply traumatised by the suicide of his father, slowly and carefully paint a picture. He covered the page with red and black paint and carefully, in the corner, placed a tiny figure. “Is that you?” I wondered.  “No” he replied, “It’s God.”

“And what is God like?” I asked. “He is bad and makes bad things happen.” He thought for a while and then commented: “But he made dinosaurs too.” “And is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked. He ignored my question. He painted over his figure in the corner and said: “God is a dinosaur now”.

“Tell me about dinosaurs” I asked. “They are huge, have big teeth and they hurt people – but they are not real – some of them fly about in the sky.”

Maybe a bit like God!

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 Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back to and reasons to stay.


 - Dalai Lama XIV

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