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Father’s Day And Inclusive Language

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A friend has been told by another parent that it was inappropriate of her to have invited her daughter’s grandfather to the kindy’s Father’s Day BBQ. The invitation to the event made no offer to invite Grandfathers or another significant man in their child’s life – which could have easily been amended to be inclusive of all families.

There are so many different ways to raise a family, with so many reasons why a child doesn’t have a father or even just a father who may not even be available on the day. I spoke to a couple of other friends about this and they both said their child’s grandfathers have attended Father’s Day events simply because their husbands work and can’t attend themselves – and why should their child miss out?

Which really is the absolute bottom line of why this is important:

Why should any child miss out, be excluded or made to feel different?

Children are raised by single mothers, single fathers, grandparents and extended family. Some children have two mums, some have two dads, some have two of each, or whatever combination. Some children have a parent who works away. Some children have lost a parent.

A little acceptance and sensitivity can go a long way.

One of the mums I spoke to about this said the exact wording on the note from her child’s preschool was an invitation to “their father or a significant man in their lives.” They could also have the event without specifying even who to bring, so then the invitation is just to whoever that family feel is appropriate to attend.

How hard is that?

Some people might have strong opinions on what type of families are acceptable, but whether or not they agree with who makes up that child’s family, surely even those people who object to same sex couples having children, or who take issue with single mothers, don’t want children to be made to feel excluded because of their prejudices.

Discriminating against children is all kinds of wrong.

Which is essentially what that is. It’s not allowing a child to participate in Father’s (or Mother’s) Day activities because their family looks a little different from the outside.

But we’re all parents, we all just want what is best for our children, we all want our children to be happy, healthy, loved and treated with the same respect as everyone else.

Even if it’s unintentional, and I’m sure that also happens a lot, it’s easy to do if you’re used to seeing one type of family to simply not think about how an invitation might be received by someone whose family doesn’t look exactly like yours, but all it takes a little mindfulness.

And it still might not work for all families; and it can just be a hard time of year and there’s nothing anyone can do to make it okay, but it’s important to still to keep that door open to all kinds of families and however it is that they celebrate these days.

Who do you celebrate Father’s Day with?

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner.She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum.She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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