Blended Families

The definition of a blended family is simple but the living within a family is not always simple. To state the definition: A family that is formed when separate families are united by marriage or other circumstance; a step-family. Various kinship or non-kinship groups whose members reside together and assume traditional family roles (Barker, 2003, p. 46).

Seems rather simple when you state it in words, the family dynamics in the blended family can be joyous or they can be filled with turmoil. Blended families that are filled with joy are starting a new life, presumably one that was better than the one they came from. Children tend to adapt better when they are young to the new family environment. “They will love who you love.”  is a statement, no matter how little it may be, speaks volumes for children who are young and excepting of their parents’ decisions in life.

Families that find their road a rocky one and have turmoil usually are families where the child has a great attachment to one parent or another. They do not want to see that attachment fade or disappear; feelings of loss or abandonment from the attached parent also fall into play with these children. Typically the children that have the most issues adjusting to a blended family are older in age. They have lived with their biological parent for a considerable time and start to feel a loss as the dynamics start to shift. They often resort to saying things like ” I don’t have to listen to you… you are not my mother/father/” Those words though they mean them in a way can cut you as an individual like a knife. However, be patient with the child that is adjusting to the new roles within their own home. Make sure that you reassure them and tell them it is okay that you are not their biological parent, but it does not make you love them any less.

My own little family is a blended one, I have three children from a previous marriage, and my husband is their step-father. My husband and I are both products of blended families. I myself have 3 half-siblings from my Dad, and 1 half-sibling from my mother.  I am the youngest of all 5 siblings. My husband came from a home where he had a Mother, Stepmother, Dad, Stepdad, one half-sibling, two by blood, and one by marriage. So we were quite acquainted with the way things would unfold with us making a family of our own.

With all things in life, one has to find a balance, finding that balance can be easier said than done in most cases. There is no manual that comes with life, no instructions that tell us what to do, no clear-cut way to make everything perfect. However, there is hope for those who look for it.


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