The Delicacies of the Blended Family
Our feature article this week will focus on the Blended Family. A Blended Family, according to dictionary.com is “a family composed of a couple and their children from previous marriages” (Dictionary.com, 2019). In situations like this, the father is no longer with the mother and the children are forced to move on with your wife. For the first time as a father, you’re living apart from your children and must learn to deal with the challenges of co-parenting.
As previously mentioned, the Blended Family (also called a step family) is a family unit where one or both parents have children from a previous relationship, but they combined to a family. For example, the most popular blended family is from the 1970’s hit T.V. show “The Brady Bunch”, where the series revolves around a family that combined six children:
According to the Pew Research Center “Many, but not all, remarriages involve blended families. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, six in ten (63%) women in remarriages are in blended families, and about half of these remarriages involve stepchildren who live with the remarried couple” (Kim Parker, 2015). Furthermore, “Hispanic, black and white children are equally likely to live in a blended family. About 17% of Hispanic and black kids are living with a stepparent, stepsibling or a half sibling, as are 15% of white kids. Among Asian children, however, 7% a far smaller share are living in blended families. This low share is consistent with the finding that Asian children are more likely than others to be living with two married parents, both of whom are in their first marriage” (Kim Parker, 2015).
The Delicacies of Structuring a Blended Family
Every family is unique and so is its success rate. However, studies suggest about 60 to 70 percent of marriages involving children from a previous marriage fail. This is about twice the percentage of overall marriages ending in divorce, which sits around 30 or 35 percent (Meleen, 2018). Another key to stepfamily success is part of what helps some stepfamilies be more successful rests on the children’s perceived bonds with both parents inside the home. Adolescents who believe they have strong bonds with both their own mother and their stepfather in this type of family feel a greater sense of family belonging than kids who don’t view both of these household relationships in a positive light (Meleen, 2018).
- The role of the Step-parent: Should he or she be a disciplinarian or supporter of biological parent).
- Tip: The two parents must acknowledge the challenge!
- Note: the older the child gets, the harder for a step-parent to play disciplinarian (they may saying the deadly sin that no step-parent wants to hear “You are not Mother” or “You are not Father”
- Conflict of discipline between parent & step parent. The parents should not hash out problems in front of the children. This can lead the children using that as an opportunity to divide and conquer.
- Tip: Always speak to the other parent with respect
- Tip: The parents must have a united front
- Supporting children during their transition. Living between two household can tough. The transition days can tough. The children may feel resentment towards the step-parent. They feel lost in the new family structure.
- Tip: Allow the children time to adjust to new setting
- Building individual relationships are important. The step-parent should set aside with the step children. This is a chance to find common interest and create a bond with each other. This can lead to a strong foundation for a strong and loving relationship a step parent and stepchild.
- Tip: Find activities that unify the step parent and step children can enjoy together with the rest of the family
A final thought from Derek Bernard:
There are many challenges that blended families face in today’s world. It takes times to blend everything together to make all the ingredients work. I can speak from my experience being part of a blended family. I have two children, one of which is from a previous relationship. In the beginning of our new family, we had our ups and downs, things were not all smooth in the beginning but with time our family is getting better. Every day is new day and new challenges await for our blended family. We will meet these challenges with great success and I wish all blended families success!
Since this topic is very important to many families, we will cover more articles on this very topic.
Please subscribe to our Email List, comment below, like, and share!
Remember, it takes a village!
– Derek Bernard
Article was written by Derek Bernard (founder, AVOF) and Troy Hughey (AVOF Editor and Law & Political
Edited by Troy Hughey (AVOF Editor and Law and Law & Political Correspondent)
Dictionary.com. (2019). Blended Family. Retrieved from Dictionary.com: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/blended-family
Kim Parker, M. R. (2015, December 17). http://www.pewresearch.org. Retrieved from Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation: http://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/12/2015-12-17_parenting-in-america_FINAL.pdf
Meleen, M. (2018). Blended Family Statistics. Retrieved from family.lovetoknow.com: https://family.lovetoknow.com/co-parenting/blended-family-statistics