(Paris) Parents’ Day, “day of the people I love”… In some schools, Father’s Day, which takes place on Sunday, like Mother’s Day celebrated at the end of May, is replaced by more inclusive formulations, often demands of homoparental families.
Teacher in a relationship with a woman, Mélanie (first name changed) prepares with her students a gift which is distributed for a “parents’ day” that she fixes between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
“I stick a note in the notebook: ‘out of respect for the diversity of families, I made the choice to celebrate parents'”, explains this teacher of a REP class in Paris.
“That my daughter makes two cards for Mother’s Day and none for Father’s Day, I find that stigmatizing,” she says.
According to associations of homoparental families, the subject concerns their members.
“Those who have succeeded in having the school accept a ‘parents’ day’ explain to others how they did it, generally by speaking with the teacher or the school management”, explains Nicolas Fanget, spokesperson of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents.
“We are not making a political demand out of it, unlike the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ which we want to see disappear from official forms, replaced by the word ‘parent'”, he specifies.
The phenomenon is difficult to quantify: these traditional festivals do not come under a “ministerial instruction”, but “from the pedagogical freedom of teachers”, indicates the Ministry of National Education.
“In some schools, the teaching team may decide that these events are no longer an opportunity for class work or name them differently due to the social evolution of the family structure and specific situations brought to their attention. “, we say.
“This is a very popular request from homoparental families. In today’s society, it is the fact of being a parent that must be put forward rather than being a father or a mother”, believes Céline Cester, president of the association “Enfants de l’arc- en-ciel”, married with a wife and mother of two children.
What to replace them with? “One year I tried “the party of the people we love” and it was a big fiasco. The children didn’t understand the concept: for them it was the grandmother, the cousin, the school friends, the cat… They wanted to make ten cards”, explains Mélanie.
“Parents are not just people we love,” warns psychiatrist Pierre Levy-Soussan.
“This development is in line with the logical erasure of the specificity of what a father and a mother are for the child, after the alternate residence in equal parts between father and mother and adoption for all”, observes he.
“However, the differences are important, because they are structuring. Erasing the places adds confusion to all the children, causing a blurring of landmarks, links, identities, including his own”, according to him.
“It’s like Christmas”
“We often suggest ‘Mother’s Day or parents’ or people we love’. We don’t want to remove what exists and we come to complete it, ”says Alexandre Urwicz, president of the Association of homoparental families.
As for parent-teacher associations, such as the FCPE (public) or the Apel (private), there are few feedbacks.
These mother’s and father’s days are “a widespread tradition, a pretext for an activity that brings people together,” said Peep vice-president Laurent Zameczkowski.
The party can even disappear: he evokes a teacher who was preparing for Mother’s Day and found himself in front of a child bursting into tears, because he had lost his mother the day before. If this allowed the child to express his emotion, the distraught teacher preferred not to propose the activity anymore. “When we encounter difficulties, we prefer to kick into touch”.
“It’s like Christmas, which is subject to controversy. Activities around Christmas have largely disappeared in schools, ”observes the leader of the Peep.
For Mélanie, Parents’ Day is “a lever” to talk to her CP students about couples of women or men.
“The parents of the class are in the classic scheme, we do not have a homoparental family in the school. This is the first time they have heard of this. It’s the first seed planted,” explains Mélanie.