I know I don’t write a ton about polyamorous parenting on this blog, mostly because I am not a parent and don’t spend a lot of time with children. I don’t have any children myself. I did have partners in the past that had children, but it has been a while.
That said, I have broached the topic a few times on this blog. I have polyamorous friends who are parents, I have a little bit of experience dating parents, and frankly, I’m just a nerd who reads a lot (while my research focus was on adults, I did study child development for my psych degree).
Here’s what I’ve written on the subject:
- Advice Friend: New Relationship Energy and Parenting
- But Isn’t Polyamory Bad for Children?
- Anchor Parenting and the Committed Poly Family
- Is It Okay to Babysit Your Metamour’s Kids?
What’s It Like to Grow Up With Polyamorous Parents? The Answer Is Boring.
In those posts, I share what I know as well as some resources in the form of additional suggested reading. What’s glaringly missing from them, however, are stories from people who have been raised by polyamorous parents.
I’ve actually known a few folks here and there over the years who were raised by polyamorous parents (one was even my metamour for a while). You wouldn’t know it, really, to spend time with them. Contrary to what a lot of fearmongering folks would suggest, the children of polyamorous parents turn out more or less like everyone else.
Some of them are polyamorous themselves. Many aren’t, however.
Still, it wasn’t all that much to go on, the random sampling of folks that I had met in the wild. Could be a fluke. And even so, I found I didn’t have much to write about. Because… well, there wasn’t anything really there to talk about?
Apparently my window into the subject wasn’t at all unusual. The other day I stumbled onto a massive thread on r/AskReddit called “Children of poly relationships, what was it like growing up?”
As I looked over the answers, it was more of the same. The answer is pretty boring. Having polyamorous parents isn’t a big deal. It is very much like growing up and hanging out with your parents and their friends.
Really, from reading the thread, the only meaningful difference that emerged was that children had to learn not to tell people about their parents’ relationship structure — which frankly reminds me of my sister’s experience as a gay single mother in a small Maine town. The kids stay a bit in the closet with you. That part can be slightly stressful, but it’s not the end of the world. And it’s more a reflection of society’s biases than anything inherently unstable about the structure itself.