Dr. Colleen Batchelder

4 Surprising Reasons Why Family Diversity Matters

couple holding hands in front of a gay pride flag

What does “family diversity” mean to you?

To some, family is tied to being related to one’s blood relatives. To others, it’s a group of people who are close and share common values.

Regardless of how you define your own family, what matters most is that you have something in common with these people. And this is true irrespective of whether you share DNA or not.

In today’s society, the definition of family has changed significantly from even just 50 years ago.

And right now, the majority of the country looks nothing like it did in the 1950s. Leave it to Beaver is nowhere to be found––and in many ways, that’s an excellent thing.

So, before we delve into the positives of family diversity, let’s take a moment to define it. What is Family Diversity?

Family diversity is accepting people of different races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and more.

And when it comes to family diversity, the most important thing is that everyone feels accepted, valued, and a part of the community.

Think about it, today, single parents adopt or foster children, same-sex couples have baby showers, and grandparents live with their adult kids to and help care for the next generation.

The definition of family is different. And it’s near impossible to define it as nuclear anymore. And that’s a good thing.

So, why does it matter? Well, it doesn’t. But, it’s essential to understand the positives of family diversity to subdue any bias. Here are five reasons why family diversity matters and why it should be embraced as a positive:

Related: 3 Ways to Be a Better Communicator With Your Team

Family Diversity is Good for the Future

Children are growing up in a family with people of different races, religions, genders, sexualities, and more are better at dealing with diversity as they grow up. In many ways, they learn how to be advocates and allies in adulthood.

When kids see various types of individuals during their maturation, they learn how to respect their viewpoint and appreciate their guidance. They also know how to see these people as family members and not as “others” to fear.

Family diversity makes children more open-minded, understanding and accepting.

Related: 3 Ways CEOs Can Support their LGBTQIA+ Employees

Diversity is Good for Kids of All Ages

It’s not just children who grow up in diverse families better equipped to deal with diversity. Family diversity has a positive impact on all ages.

When people spend time around others who are different than them, they gain an appreciation for diversity. They don’t always believe that they’re right. So, they take more time to listen and learn before they speak.

Children, especially, learn what it’s like to be different and how to interact with those who are different. This not only teaches them how to be respectful, but family diversity also teaches them how to be compassionate. And no one can argue with that benefit.

Related: How You Can Profit From 4 Different Generations In The Workplace

Diversity Brings People Together

Diverse families bring people together––they make us stronger as a unit because we all learn from one another just by spending time together.

For example, parents who aren’t afraid to talk about the differences they’ve experienced in their lives are more likely to teach their children how similar we all are. And that’s an invaluable lesson.

Children brought up by a single parent, a same-sex couple, or in an intergenerational household desire to bring people together and increase a sense of belonging.

Family Diversity is Good for Everyone’s Mental Health

Anyone can benefit from family diversity. When people spend time with others who are different, they become less fearful of the unknown. They learn what it means to be open-minded and accepting––and that knowledge helps them live healthier lives because they don’t feel as anxious about “the other.”

They also learn that acceptance doesn’t come with strings attached. This type of upbringing not only increases their confidence; it also increases their ability to takes risks. This translates to how they run a business, where they live, how much they travel, and how they decide to view the world.

There are huge mental health benefits for those raised in diverse homes because they’ve learned how to accept themselves. They don’t strive to perform. If anything, they know how to be present and be authentic without worrying about meeting someone else’s expectations.

They grew up differently. Therefore, they’re not afraid to break the rules and live authentically.

Family Diversity is Good for the Community at Large

You can’t talk about family diversity without also talking about how it affects communities.

When people live in spaces that aren’t diverse, they’re more likely to blame others who are different than them when something goes wrong––and we see this throughout history and across cultures.

But when a community is more diverse, people are forced to work together. They meet people who are different than them, and they find solutions that benefit everyone in the community––not just some of its members.

Family diversity is a good thing. And if companies want to reach the next generation of employees, they need to move away from the old definition of mom and pop––they need to figure out ways to create a community for all. Only when they step outside the box will they be able to welcome more people in.

Does everyone feel like they belong at your company?
As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.
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