Increasingly the news media, along with televised entertainment, have been paying attention to experimental romantic and familial arrangements: polyamory, “throuples,” communes, and the like. Naomi Schaefer Riley, focusing on two recent magazine articles on the subject, notes a glaring omission:
In the thousands of words expended by Andrew Solomon in his piece on polyamory, not one is about the well-being of the children raised in these environments. . . . [H]e never feels the need to ask one child about living with a rotating case of unrelated adults or look at the research on the greater risks to kids living in these unusual arrangements.
At the Embassy, [a] communal-living building in San Francisco, we learn that this arrangement has actually led some people to give up on their actual families. Take Seth Frey, who “used to live in a house with a wife and a child. He decided that he preferred community and separated from his wife, but his son has not yet spent time with him at the Embassy.” Then [the author of the article] offers this aside: “The current members haven’t reached a consensus about kids.”
Are these authors really suggesting that we should consider such communities as viable future living arrangements for Americans when they can’t decide what they even think about children? What kind of future is this?
It is most certainly one that is geared toward the whims of single young adults. . . . Indeed, what the residents adore about communal living is exactly what may harm kids; . . . the reason that the residents of these communities like them is exactly the reason they are not suitable for children. But in the communities of the future, it seems, children are an afterthought.