When people meet somebody in a polyamorous relationship, one of their first questions is “what about the kids?” This is dressed up as concern, but the people asking the question think that children will automatically be traumatized if their parents are open about having more than one partner — even if everybody knows about and is completely fine about it.
Fortunately, there’s research about this exact topic.
Dr Eli Sheff has conducted the longest-running longitudinal study of polyamorous families in the world. In her latest book, Children in Polyamorous Families, she answers the most common questions that people ask about the kids. The book has similar findings to her first book “The Polyamorists Next Door.” This book brings those findings up to date, because many of the children she met when they were toddlers are now young adults, making their way through college or the adult world.
The research has a caveat: because the respondents volunteer to be part of the research, there is a certain selection bias. The healthiest families will volunteer, where families whose dynamics may be less healthy, may be less inclined to be part of the follow-up study.
Nevertheless, the book offers some great insights into the benefits to children of being in polyamorous families, as well as the difficulties the children face, and how the children deal with them. If you are polyamorous and have children, or know somebody who is polyamorous and are worried about their kids, this booklet is a useful resource. You can find it on Kindle and Amazon. Read more research by Dr Sheff on her website www.elisabethsheff.com