Children learn the first and most important etiquette lessons at home. They must learn these lessons from scratch as they handle special questions about courtesy and behavior.
The classrooms in which these fundamental lessons are taught are themselves diverse and evolving. Today’s “family” has many different looks. There is, of course, the traditional nuclear family- mom and dad and their children and pets. However, households have broadened and so have our concepts of “family” been redefined. Today we see households led by single or divorced parents; stepfamilies; gay partnerships; and couples that choose to adopt. The challenges these new configurations present sometimes require innovative solutions, explored here.
In a broader sense, the inhabitants of our neighborhoods and communities comprise our “extended” families. They can be dysfunctional and at cross purposes. But, much like our personal family units, we have to live with them. Communication, personal accommodation, and accountability can make this a pleasant and rewarding experience.