Raising Tweens In A Modern Family Society

Raising Tweens In A Modern Family Society

Welcome to Tween/Teen Tuesday at My Crazy Good Life! Today we’re changing things up a bit with a serious topic–raising tweens in a Modern Family society. Yes, I’m talking about the t.v. show… kinda. I know we may not all be on the same page with this topic, and that’s ok. I look forward to hearing your opinions!


Raising Tweens In A Modern Family Society

In our house, we don’t teach our tweens tolerance or acceptance. Actually, we don’t really “teach” them anything. We live our daily lives the way we hope our children will live theirs–embracing that there is diversity in our world. I don’t want to teach tolerance. What sort of message are we sending to our children if we talk about tolerating people who are unlike our immediate family?

We don’t tolerate the staff member at our school who is gay, our friends who married someone from another race or our cousins who have two homes (can you tell I don’t love that word?). These situations are ones that are part of our daily lives and do you know what? We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Enter Modern Family.

We watch Modern Family every week, and I love that it is a great example of the… modern family. Second marriages, traditional marriages, multi-cultural families, gay marriages and gay adoption–the show has it all, and all are shown in a positive light. Modern Family doesn’t make a big deal of what it is, it just “is.” With all of the differences we see in our daily lives right now, this is definitely a Modern Family society.

Raising Tweens In A Modern Family Society

We watch Modern Family and hope that the values shown in each episode are soaking into the boys’ being, like watching his parents say kind words to one another will soak in.

Here are my tips for raising tweens in a Modern Family society:

1.  Be honest. ”Mom, what is gay?” That’s a question we would answer with “when a boy dates a boy or a girl dates a girl.” “Dad, why does Kevin get to have two Christmas mornings–one with his mom and one with his dad?” We would answer that honestly, too. “Kevin’s parents are divorced and this is why he gets to celebrate Christmas twice…”  Pushing the question away by saying “We’ll talk about that later” or “That’s not something we talk about” is a recipe for disaster. Answer questions as they arise and with honesty.

2. Be kind, but direct. We have had instances of the boys’ friends riding with us and talking about how something is “so gay” or how it’s gross for two girls to be married. In the past I have responded with a kind, “Hey buddy, we don’t feel the same way you do about that. Do me a favor please and don’t use that word/phrase when you’re with us” or “Two women getting married is a topic that many people feel strongly about, and it’s something we don’t agree about. It’s ok for us to not agree, but let’s not talk about it anymore today, ok?”

3. Don’t exploit your diverse friends. We have friends and family who are gay, divorced, and part of multi-cultural families in addition to those who are part of traditional families. We let the kids know that, but we don’t identify them explicitly. Of course when we say, “We have friends who are gay” they immediately ask, “Who?” but we don’t think it’s right to identify them. (or “call them out”). As the boys grow, they will be able identify all of our diverse family and friends, and that’s ok with us. We will always honestly answer any questions they have (isn’t that what parents are for?), but we won’t take the step to use our friends as examples.

Our goal is to raise the boys to be kind in all situations and to understand that the world is full of different people. Just like I tell them…

Can You Imagine How Boring Life Would Be If We Were All The Same?

For those who come upon this post and don’t agree with my views–that’s ok. I’ll ask that your comments remain respectful and free of profanity in order to participate in this conversation. Please know that I will delete comments that I don’t want my children seeing.


  1. 1
    Terri says:

    Wow, I don’t know who your parents are but they raised you right.

  2. 2
    Shannan says:

    I love this for so many reasons. You make a good post about “tolerance” vs. acceptance. I’m with you in promoting the latter with our kiddos and doing so through action, not just talk. You are fabulous, and your boys are lucky.

  3. 3
    Trevor Spedding says:

    I think this is great. Sometimes the world would be better if people could realise that not everyone is the same or have the same beliefs..

  4. 4
    Jackie says:

    You’re right! Life would be incredibly boring of we were all exactly the same.

    I agree with you 100% too… we should be able to accept people for who/what they are instead of tolerating them. It’s to bad that so many can’t do that though.

  5. 5
    Tiffany Speas says:

    Love this article. Thanks!

  6. 6

    My (very white) friend upon seeing her 9th grade son and his first (not very white) girlfriend: “THIS is what we get for not making a big deal out of race.” We could only laugh at ourselves… our chickens had come home to roost and we were forced to deal with the reality of our beliefs come full circle.

    That was 20 years ago; Modern Family wasn’t even a dream back then.

    The proof is in the pudding, and your kids will reap the benefits of parents who accept individual differences and leave it at that. I appreciate the difficulty of “correcting” a kid in the car; someday, soon, your kids may be the ones who are saying “that’s not cool.”

    • 6.1
      Becca says:

      Wow, what a story!

      Yes, we haven’t had more than a few “issues” with friends, but I figured if we stopped them right there they wouldn’t get bigger. I hope that gave them confidence to stand up for what they believe in :)

  7. 7

    Great post! It’s important talking about topics like this. I love hearing how you handle the situations of other kids talking about some of these topics!

  8. 8

    Love, love, LOVE this post! You are so right on with how you are raising your kiddos. Acceptance is so incredibly important in all walks of life. Kudos to you for such a great post. xo

  9. 9

    Thank you for handling this so beautifully with your kids. I only hope other parents will realize that “tolerate” is not at all the ideal term!

  10. 10

    What a really great post – your boys are lucky to have a mom like you who understands and really wants your children to be loving and caring people to everyone. I hope I can do the same with my boys!

  11. 11

    Excellent points and something we’re definitely going to have to talk about with out kids when they get older.

  12. 12
    Hanan says:

    You are right-on! I completely agree with you on all points. We’re all different, and that is okay!!

  13. 13
    Kelly @eclecticmommy says:

    We have a total mind meld on this one. Do you know how nany times I’ve said these exact words. “I hate the word tolerance”. People are people, it’s still discrimination if we tolerate a persons differences. Thank you for sharing.

    • 13.1
      Becca says:

      Yes, Kelly! I agree. I tolerate things I don’t like, and that’s not a word that sends a positive message.

  14. 14

    We love Modern Family! I feel the same as you that acceptance is the better lesson. Tolerate gives it a negative connotation right from the start. We’ve already discussed that we will need to respond honestly, presently and appropriately (age-wise) if/when our kids start asking the “tough” questions.

    • 14.1
      Becca says:

      It’s not easy to answer those questions, but honesty (and not making a big deal of it) is important!

  15. 15
    Dude Mom says:

    Awesome post. We sorta don’t have a choice about this. We ARE a Modern Family. We’re mixed race and mixed culture. We have gay people in our family. It’s never even crossed my mind to NOT answer The Dudes’ questions about these things any way other than honestly. And we watch Modern Family together every week. It’s our Thursday thing (it comes on too late on Wednesday so we save it!).

    • 15.1
      Becca says:

      You are, and I love it!

      I’m so glad to see the comments rolling in from people who agree and are doing similar things at home – I think our kids are growing up in the right place.

  16. 16
    Cameron says:

    I grew up in a single mother environment until her death when i was 11 and my mother dated plenty of people in that time. I said people because they were both guys and girls. So I always grew up in a sexuality-accepting environment. My little brother has recently came out of the closet and at first I thought he was too young to decide that but then I realized that straight people know they are straight at young ages so why shouldn’t he be able to be himself now. I’m very accepting to all and think love is love and it’s between the two people involved not the two people and the government/church/world.

    • 16.1
      Becca says:

      I don’t know how I missed this comment, Cameron – I’m sorry!

      I love how you’re helping to raise your family members, and am proud of you. :)

  17. 17
    Dawn says:

    I was a single mother until my daughter was 9, so we were definitely a Modern Family then. I also earned my college degree since then. However, now my husband is the main bread winner and I work from home, so I guess we have reverted some back to the 50s, lol. My daughter’s best friend is gay, though, and my husband loves to cook so he does most of the cooking. So, I guess we are still pretty modern. :D

  18. 18
    Linette says:

    I have a tween myself, and I agree with you totally! We’ve always raised him to embrace the differences in himself and others.

  19. 19
    Marina says:

    I like the tip about being honest and direct. Our kids need to know at home and not need to seek out answers elsewhere.

  20. 20
    Stacey @ Newlywed Survival says:

    I wish more parents were like this! This is the way that my parents raised me, and I think they were ahead of their time.

  21. 21

    [...] There really isn’t one anymore, and to be honest… I love it. I love that everyone is different and families come together in different ways. I wrote about this very topic just a few weeks ago: Raising Tweens In A Modern Family Society. [...]

  22. 22

    […] you read my post about raising tweens in a Modern Family society? We believe that everyone has the right to live the way they choose, and nobody has the right to […]

  23. 23
    Audra Rogers says:

    I so agree with this. They do as we do, and not as we say. It’s so important to lead by example. I tell mine that they can ask me anything and I will give them an honest answer. I get a little stuck with the wording sometimes, but I try. Thanks for sharing!

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