I have co-produced this day of discussions about the Modern Family at this year’s Battle of Ideas Festival. We will be kicking off the day with sessions considering all the difficult questions about Adoption and Surrogacy before moving on to consider raising of teenagers, the role of grandparents and the status of the elderly. The more I read in preparation, the more fascinating both subjects become and the panels include women with direct experience of losing children to adoption and creating families through surrogacy.
‘The changing nature of families is an important aspect of understanding society today. The old certainties of family life – mum, dad and ‘2 point 4 children’ – seem long gone. How we acquire children has become more complicated, with surrogacy becoming more common and adoption pushed ever-harder by government. When it comes to raising children, how do we deal with the complications of the teenage years for parents brought up with more liberal and tolerant attitudes than in generations past, but with kids who seem less rebellious and more obsessed with social media and mental health? And as family members reach old age, are they more likely to be shut out from family life, becoming simply a burden to be cared for, and even put in a home, rather than a source of support and wisdom?’