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Sadie’s world: What is a conventional family?

When it comes to bringing up her own family, Sadie Frost is taking the best bits from her childhood and reinventing them
Sadie’s world: What is a conventional family?
February 13, 2017   |    Sadie Frost

Conventional is not a word I would use to describe my upbringing, but that was a long time ago, in the 60s and 70s. Times have changed.

I think with each decade the boundaries of conventionality have evolved and we must keep an open mind and admit that being unconventional never killed anyone.

My parents had 10 children between them, with three different partners each. They were also very young parents – my mother was 16 and father 18 when they had me – they were children themselves.


My upbringing consisted of some wild and crazy times: including living on a bus, in squats, travelling the hippy trail and being part of a religious cult that only wore orange. We were constantly moving house and often homeless. I had a stepfather who was very forward thinking and used radionics, pendulums and colour healing to run our lives and make vital family decisions – it all seemed quite kooky, sure, but it was vibrant and fun.

It was the swinging 60s, my sister was named Sunshine Tara Purple Velvet, and we wore flowery hotpants and beads around our necks.

Life was an array of colour, and as a family our lives were always unpredictable; you never knew what was going to happen.


There is no actual right way to raise a family, all parents have to do what’s right for them. Everyone’s upbringing is unique. It’s based on their parents’ circumstances, religions, jobs and financial situations – these can have big effects.

But the most important factors for all children are to be loved, have boundaries, not be judged and have a consistent routine – although I didn’t have the latter! When kids have these things in their lives they will feel secure, happy, creative and confident.

I guess what I gained from an unconventional upbringing was my ability to be creative and take risks in life. With a bohemian artist father and a young ballet dancer mother, I was destined to end up in the arts.


The downside to my erratic upbringing is that I have tried too much to be an over achiever and controller. I am very driven and constantly beating myself up if I don’t succeed.

I have learned with my own brood to be more open-minded, non-judgemental and to accept that things don’t have to be perfect.

What was once considered an unconventional upbringing in my day, may now be considered oh so very conventional. Love, peace and security is what modern family is all about.

Read more: Sadie Frost on the simple things

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