As a long-time practicing attorney in “Family Law,” I have seen so much pain and devastation with separation and divorce. It has always been a priority for me to help people and their children through the process with the intention of giving clients the tools to maintain their dignity throughout the proceedings.
What happens though after families are changed? Often new connections are formed with much love and respect and yet our language has been negative in referring to the new family; the new relationships; the new and yet ageless bonds of love. To find positive descriptions of our changed roles has been an exercise in futility as we try to name each other with meaningful expressions because there simply have been none! To be called a stepmother evokes a nasty image for many of the fairy tale stepmothers. The same is true whenever step is used or half sister or half brother? The image is horrifying to a child and even as an adult, it “feels” uncomfortable. For unmarried couples, whether same sex or not, there have been many tongue-twisting attempts to describe each other, none of them particularly satisfying. When you love someone you desire to share that feeling in your naming of them and of your relationship. Calling someone I dearly love my partner, my significant other, even my better half does not accurately describe the person or the relationship and so there we go, adding another description and yet another, until finally, the other person to whom we are speaking “gets it.” Phew! Too much work!
Para-Kin simplifies what need not be so complex. Here is language that instantly transmits information without the need for an accompanying two-paragraph translation! Once the terms, para sister, para dad, para husband, para wife and on and on become familiar it will be so simple to respectfully refer to our loved ones. And so it should be since we all want to feel a sense of dignity and worth within our relationships. We must start by naming them with words that imbue these qualities and lose the negative language. Why not? You have the power to make the change to leave a troubled relationship, then surely you have the power to name yourself para-kin!
Kathy Karl, Esq.