Polyamorist Next Door by Elisabeth Sheff
This book is one of my favorite books on polyamory for those who have experience. This work is a collection of research conducted by Sheff as she pursued a PhD. The combination of personal experience and research data does much of my science-minded self. This is one of the few books which address the family aspect of polyamory, including data addressing children in polyamory. Those who tend to be more well-read and enjoy data to match conclusions will enjoy how this book introduces basic polyamory concepts within the context of the family environment.
The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
This book is the standard “go to” for introduction to polyamory. This book does an excellent job covering some of the general concepts those who are interested in polyamory should consider during their negotiation process. There are some elements about their perspectives that I do not personally share, but the regular activities in the text geared towards encouraging conversation, and the personal experiences of the authors provide a great place to start that “opening up” discussion between individuals.
So, you raise your kids around this? What are you thinking! This is a question that comes up more often than not in regards to how my own family works as well as some dear friends. How can you raise children around an alternative relationship setting? I can only speak of my own experiences and perspectives, but much thought and reflection go into every person we introduce to our family. Our approach is similar to how divorcee’s approach dating and bring new people into their children’s lives. If the relationship is a fun, once in a while thing, this person is treated as a family friend and may come to barbeques or other casual events. Affection is kept at a minimum to prevent any misunderstandings or concerns from children. If a relationship progresses, displays of affection are modified to match the seriousness of the relationship. Outside of my own household (3 core adults), we do not use nick names for parent figures. This may change if the right individual comes along, but at this time, this is how it works. Our children are growing up in this setting, so it will always be normal to them. Future challenges we are taking into considerations, and welcome positive perspectives on, include addressing our children’s friends families (such as a party or sleep over) and legal considerations (guardianship, medical power of attorney, etc). We are lucky to have a quality school experience where no one asks questions, and in my experience, caring adults are always a plus in any child’s life. I do wonder about the day my children realize they are in a non-traditional family, but at this time, we continue to live, laugh, and love as any other family does.
Dr. A began supporting and coaching relationship 5 years ago in Phoenix, Arizona. She had several years of experience servicing as a volunteer in the local alternative lifestyle communities addressing non-monogamy.