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"Starting a family"

(150 Posts)
Whenthemoonhitsyoureye Sat 11-Jul-20 19:26:15

I think that this phrase isn't very well thought out at all. To insinuate that one can only gain a family once they have kids is a huge oversight, and could also can be offensive or frustrating to those who can't or don't want kids.

- Someone's idea of a family might involve:

- Four kids; amazing!
-Their partner and 2 cats; also a fabulous idea.
- A single person, content with their immediate family; Great, go for it.

AIBU to think that people should think twice before using this phrase in everyday conversation?

OP’s posts: |
AnneLovesGilbert Sat 11-Jul-20 19:27:26

What alternative do you prefer?

Whenthemoonhitsyoureye Sat 11-Jul-20 19:27:51

@AnneLovesGilbert just "Have kids" will do!

OP’s posts: |
BobbieDraper Sat 11-Jul-20 19:30:48

Why does this matter?

For some people, having children is starting their own little family. For others, it is not.

Let people call it what they like. If you're offended by it then that's your response; it's nothing to do with the person saying it. None of the terms being used are offensive.

SkinnyChicky Sat 11-Jul-20 19:31:41

Sounds like your just looking for a reason to feel offended. Generally start a family insinuates children coming along.

And dont quote me but I think the definition of family means a group of people who are from the same ancestoral line. So by definition a pet cannot be family.

Ishihtzuknot Sat 11-Jul-20 19:40:46

Most people say it because they begin as a couple/partnership and having children makes them a family. I can understand it being hurtful in some cases but marriage doesn’t make you a family in the first instance. A couple or single person owning pets doesn’t make them a family either imo. I’ve never personally used the phrase, I prefer ‘start having children/have a baby etc’

heartsonacake Sat 11-Jul-20 19:42:59

YABU and oversensitive. People need to stop making an issue out of everything these days and trying to police everyone else’s language.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 11-Jul-20 19:43:54


heartsonacake Sat 11-Jul-20 19:44:25

Also, as others have pointed out, the definition of family is the group of people who share common ancestors.

So no, a couple on their own or someone and their pet is not a family.

Sparklesocks Sat 11-Jul-20 19:44:39

I think most people know that ‘starting a family’ is used for people who plan to have kids, but equally understanding that there are many different types of families. I don’t believe they’re taking anything away from other families by choosing to word it in that way.

yelyah22 Sat 11-Jul-20 19:45:41

YANBU. I hate this too, I keep being asked when OH and I are 'starting a family'. We've lived together for years, share our lives and see one another's relatives as our own, we're already a family.

A friend of mine (who does have children) even said, in response to me semi-jokingly brushing it off with "well, we've got 2 cats and a lot of plants, we're already a family" - "Yes, but like - a proper family, with children". Fuck off.

Wrenna Sat 11-Jul-20 19:45:57


Bythebeach Sat 11-Jul-20 19:47:16

But the definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other.
I think you mean a household?
I don’t think calling a single person on their own a family is helpful! Not calling a single person household does not detract from the validity of that choice or circumstance!

RedPanda2 Sat 11-Jul-20 19:47:43


Sally872 Sat 11-Jul-20 19:48:48

I think when I got married (or serious) my husband became part of my family, and I became part of his and of course we were family to each other. So to me starting a family doesn't mean we weren't already family as a couple simply we are starting a new part of the wider family unique to us.

InThisMultiverse Sat 11-Jul-20 19:49:43

I much prefer “we’re starting to have sex pursuant to procreating”. Why that hasn’t caught on I don’t know.

Weekends Sat 11-Jul-20 19:49:48

I agree!

I had a family before I became a mum.

Also, my daughter is adopted - no common ancestors at all. She is very much in our family!

user135664323455 Sat 11-Jul-20 19:56:22

[ˈfamɪli, ˈfam(ə)li]

- a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit.

- all the descendants of a common ancestor.

- a group of related things.

user135664323455 Sat 11-Jul-20 20:02:15

I don't personally find it offensive although I can see some might find it upsetting if they and difficult circumstances or it was used thoughtlessly.

That said, I do find it a bit weird sometimes the way it is used as if you don't have a family as an adult unless you have children. Some people in tonight circumstances might not have any surviving family, but it's generally not the case that adults are family-less irrespective of whether they have children themselves.

"Oh, so you don't have a family?" said to mean " you don't have children?" I find daft and a bit insensitive; people aren't just beamed into existence.

Asking people to reflect is not "policing" language.

NorthAndSouthern Sat 11-Jul-20 20:04:50

Even worse is the term “pre-family”

Natasha9511 Sat 11-Jul-20 20:05:41

I get what you mean. I’m due my first next week but I haven’t ‘started a family’ as my family is my partner and I smile

ARoseInHarlem Sat 11-Jul-20 20:06:29

How can a family be one person confused

LillianBland Sat 11-Jul-20 20:08:36

I still get the ‘it’s so sad that you and Mr Lillian never had a family of your own’. Apparently taking in three nephews and a niece and raising them as our own, isn’t family. The faux sympathy really kicked in after my husband died. 🙄

MillyDilly Sat 11-Jul-20 20:08:46

‘Trying for a baby’ amuses me. Announcing to the world that you’re shagging without contraception. I also imagine the couple doing it in deadly earnest with a look of grim determination on their faces.

LordOftheRingz Sat 11-Jul-20 20:10:03

I don't ask people if they are 'starting' any kind of family/group/lovin because its boring and I don't care.

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