What do you think of when you think about a family? How many people are there? Do you see parents? Carers? Grandparents? Siblings? Friends? Pets?

A family is a group of people who celebrate and support one another. The traditional nuclear family consists of two parents raising their children. But in reality, families come in all shapes and sizes – blended families, extended families, single parent families, LGBTQ+ families and adoptive families, to name a few.

Gay marriage is legal in 29 countries, increasing numbers of women are choosing to become single mothers and a recent trend towards platonic parenthood means friends can raise children together.

We might all have a different idea of what families look like, but most of us agree that we need them. In a 2017 survey about the importance of family, 60% of Americans asked said they valued family more than anything else. A further 30% said family was one of the most important aspects of life.

One of the primary roles of a family is to stick together through difficult times. Families do not always get on – naturally, there are disagreements. But, whatever your family looks like, the important things are trust, love and care.

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In recent years, the technology that helps women to become pregnant has become more advanced, meaning that parents are able to conceive later in life. Is it ever too late to have a baby? Watch this short film about how science is changing the nature of families.


  1. Without using a dictionary, write your own definition of the following words: family; support; unconditional.
  2. American writer Richard Bach says of family: “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.” Do you agree? Discuss different kinds of family with a partner.
  3. Watch these LGBT families interviewed about what family means to them. Interview some of the people in your class and make your own video about families.