Title

Constructionnisme Social Et Nouvelles Parentalités

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Published In

Thérapie Familiale

Abstract

My concern in this paper is with the break~down in the traditional family structure, and the simultaneous emergence of new patterns of parenthood. Increasingly we find instances of “blended families,” gay and lesbian families, day-care dependent fami~lies, grandparent-centered families, “collaborative families,” and more. While family therapists may attempt to restore traditional “family values,” the greater challenge is helping the new family patterns to flourish. In this paper I propose that social constructionist theory provides a useful resource for new ideas and practices relevant to the new parentalities. Social constructionism centers on the way in which our ideas of the real and the good are generated, sustained or altered through relationships. From a construc~tionist standpoint, we must be prepared for multiple truths, realities, and values, with no ultimate judge to decide among them. In this context we may appreciate our traditions, but we are not obliged to repeat them. For therapists working with new family configurations, constructionism favors the co-creation of new realities, and the linking of these realities with ongoing relationships within the community.