Family, Sex

18 Important Children's Books That Can Help Kids Understand Polyamory

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18 Important Children's Books That Can Help Kids Understand Polyamory

There are many of you who, like me, are trying to raise children in a society that often is not particularly accepting. Society and movies haven’t exactly paved the way to widespread acceptance of the notion of ethical non-monogamy. That's why reading books on non-monogamy can help your children understand your unconventional relationship.

In the case of my own relationship, we may have opened up our marriage late in the game, but we’d always been open-minded about sexuality and gender roles, and we've been trying to keep the standard, narrative-driven drivel to a minimum since the birth of our first child.

It was easier in the early years, and then the real challenge began in preschool. The other little girls had been fed a non-stop diet of “Someday my prince will come,” which our daughter decided to embrace wholeheartedly. Then a couple of years later a similar thing happened to our son.

RELATED: Everything Changed When I Told My Friends I'm Polyamorous

Once they entered school, gender roles were assigned and adhered to. So was the notion of dyadic relationships, with the inevitable, “First comes love, then comes marriage, the comes the baby in the baby carriage.” 

I didn't feel it would be enough to tell them this wasn’t the only option in life. I needed backup. I needed to come up with resources that go against the standard narrative and offer positive views on non-traditional families and relationships.

It was difficult, but I did find a few solid alternatives. Trying to find TV shows, movies, or books on non-monogam was not as easy as I had hoped. Most are geared toward LGBT families — not polyamorous families, and certainly not families with parents who swing. They are still a good way to start as a way to introduce the concept of non-traditional families and to celebrate our unique differences.

1. The Family Book by Todd Parr

2. It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr

3. ABC: A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs

4. 123: A Family Counting Book by Bobbie Combs

5. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

6. Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle by Pija Lindenbaum

7. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

8. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

9. Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman

10. Else-Marie and Her Seven Little Daddies by Gabrielle Charbonnet and Pija Lindenbaum

This is the story of a little girl who is worried that the other kids in her playgroup might not be accepting of her seven little Daddies — and I mean "little" as in nearly doll-sized. In the end, she finds out she had nothing to worry about.

11. Six-Dinner Sid by Inga Moore

This is another poly-friendly in which Sid the cat belongs to six different families who don’t mind sharing him.

12. Love You Two by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

It would be nice to find a children’s book that actually has a real open family in it, but apparently, that has yet to be written. Teen readers get a few real characters but not many. Most YA fiction deals with a romanticized view of love and relationships in which the characters are perpetually undecided between two loves. 

And this book is the only one I found. The story is about a girl who finds out her mother is polyamorous.

RELATED: Which Is Better For You — Monogamy Or Ethical Non-Monogamy?

13. The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

14. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

The two above books are simple prose poems about shapes looking for their missing pieces. It’s about self-fulfillment, self-acceptance and, some suggest, non-monogamy. Might be a bit of a stretch to link non-monogamy to these books, but I can sort of see where they get that.

In the end, the searching shapes find happiness in just being themselves rather than in pairing off. You can take from that what you will.

15. I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse

The mother in the story describes how each of her kids is good in their own way and she loves them equally. It’s mostly about sibling rivalry, but I like how it shows you don’t have to favor or love one person more than another.

16. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

17. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

18. Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein

These three books by Robert Heinlein all touch on issues dealing with religion, individualism and sexuality. These books are geared for older readers, so I’m not sure if everyone will find these appropriate for teens. They are often recommended for college-age or older.

I’m hoping that some of this, with additional input from us, will help our kids grow up to be more open and accepting as adults. They may choose an entirely different path than we have and we’d be happy with that.

We can only hope our kids will make decisions based on a positive perception of themselves and others, consider all possibilities, and not just mindlessly follow the herd.

RELATED: I'm A Smart Woman And I'm Not Fulfilled By Traditional Monogamy

Miko Technogeisha is a writer, educator, and historian. She is the managing editor for Life on the Swingset.

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This article was originally published at Life on the Swingset. Reprinted with permission from the author.