Celebrate 2009 UN International Day of the Family on 15 May!

A day for everyone! One Family would like to encourage each family to celebrate their lives as a family on this Friday (15 May) – the UN International Day of the Family. One Family is Ireland ’s leading support organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting. This is the sixth year One Family has held special events to mark the UN International Day of the Family.

Karen Kiernan, Director of One Family explained:

“The UN International Day of the Family is for everyone no matter how big or small your family is, whether there is one parent or two (or three), whether you are married or not. It is a fabulous occasion to celebrate your family in your own particular way. Because One Family has worked for so long with a huge diversity of one-parent families, we are aware that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult for children and parents alike. That is why every year we encourage families to plan special activities to celebrate the UN International Day of the Family.”

Since the establishment of One Family as Cherish in 1972, the organisation has been calling for equality for all families at a Constitutional level. Karen Kiernan explains: “It is extremely important to recognise one-parent families for the strong family units they are and we are calling on the Government to change the Irish Constitution to reflect this. In Ireland , married families are given the highest respect and value in the Constitution often at the expense of lone-parents and families who can be vulnerable in areas such as poverty, skills and family supports. It is imperative that the Irish Constitution gives equal respect and value to families where people are parenting alone or sharing parenting. It’s about equality for all families and particularly all children. The UN International Day of the Family gives us an opportunity to reflect on this and to celebrate and appreciate diversity in family life.”The International Day of the Family was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 47/237 of 20 September 1993. The annual observance of the International Day of the Family reflects the importance that the international community attaches to families as basic units of society as well as its concerns regarding the plight of millions of families around the world. The theme for 2009 is Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World.

So how can families celebrate in the lead up to the UN International Day of the Family this Friday? One Family suggests:

Monday – Have a family meal together – where everyone helps decide what you will cook and then everyone plays a part in preparing the meal. Even the youngest child can to given a task. You can each talk about why you like being part of this family.

Tuesday – take out the old photo albums and sit together and look back at things you have all done together as a family. Remember what was good and what was a challenge and look at where you are today. Now take out the camera and take some new photos of each other to add to your album.

Wednesday – Do something fun together – often we are so caught up in everyday life and what drives us crazy about each other that we forget to notice what we like about each other. So for one day try to notice what you like about family members and tell them. Maybe go to the park and play some football or hide and seek, have a picnic and tell stories.

Thursday – Have mums/dads day off if there are older children and ask the children to pamper mum/dad for the day/evening – come with some ideas so everyone can pamper mum/dad.

Friday – Now mum/dad has to pamper the children – think of what each of your children really love to do and try to plan a fun evening of pampering and surprises – such as baking, watching a favourite DVD, play time, art session, dancing, dress up ……the list is endless – so think of your child and make a plan.Spending quality time together as a family helps to mend broken bridges and you will find that you can all communicate much better after spending a positive week together where all your energy is focused on what is working. If you can get everyone liking each other then you can sit and talk about the problems and plan together how to solve them.