(photo credit: Evan Sung for the New York Times)
A recent NY Times article highlighted the rise of “parenting partnerships”. The idea is that a growing number of people are starting to choose this type of relationship when they want to have and raise a child. It’s all done without the romantic involvement, but both parties still commit to financially and emotionally support the child. So this is new(ish) the idea that two people can raise a child and not be romantically involved.
Issues raised (no pun intended) by this:
- Increasing necessity of marketers expanding their definition(s) of what constitutes a “family”. Perhaps what will become more important is understanding consumers based on needs, lifestyles and interests.
- Some parts of this new model may have greater mainstream appeal. For the near future, I think it’s safe to assume that those in parenting partnerships will be a small percentage of the population. However, if the concept gains traction in, for example, the African-American community, where college-educated women far outnumber marriageable men, then we may see more significant numbers.
- Traditional marriages may see an increase in “pre-nuptial”-like agreements. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in that it indicates that the couple has done some serious thinking about how the child will be raised. As the article states:
These types of partnerships also encourage people to strategize on a philosophy of child rearing ahead of time, which many traditional couples don’t do.
“That level of thoughtfulness really benefits kids — these are people who have thought about how do I want to raise a child, whom do I want to raise a child with — that can only be good for children,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council, a national advocacy organization.
We’re in an age when same-sex marriage is becoming legally protected and more normal to more and more people. If we can reimagine marriage, it stands that the possibilities for 21st century childrearing might also expand and be reimagined. Certainly, this bears watching.