A blended family is a family consisting of a couple and their children from their current relationship and all previous relationships. To blend a family successfully, you must add cooperation and respect to the recipe above, along with lots of patience and time for transition. Studies say, it takes 3-5 YEARS for adults and children to transition into their “new” family. There are so many emotions and values, new relationships and dynamics as well as house rules that have to be re-negotiated. And if there are teenagers involved…..
Blending a family is not an easy thing; in fact, I have found it to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have been remarried for over three years. I have three biological children and now have three step-children, a new husband, a new house and……a step-bird! We have had to maneuver house rules, chores, differing values, holidays and traditions as well as who gets dibs on the remote and BIG television…
The Brady Bunch, that infamous TV family from the 1970’s, was not your typical or realistic blended family. A remarriage does not automatically make a new family. When couples remarry or move in together, it is a decision those two people are making. We must not forget the impact that it has on our children. The children did not choose to have a step-parent or be family with new step-siblings, they are along for the ride based on the decisions their parents have made. Managing our emotions and helping our kids in the transition is critical in making this new family viable and lasting.
Recent statistics say that over 1,300 new (step) families form every day and a majority of families in the US are blended in some fashion. The Census Bureau reported that more than 60% of families in this country will be blended in one fashion or the other. So, we need to get this right and learn to make the blended family work and work well.
What do blended families look like? They look like me, your friends, neighbors and maybe even yourself. If you are not in a blended family, it is most likely you know someone who is. These families may be traditional remarriages, marriages of same sex couples, cohabitations or domestic partnerships. Families come in all shapes and sizes today. It is important to acknowledge all of them as part of the “new normal” and recognize the struggles that come with blending.
Embrace who you are and the unique family unit to which you belong and be accepting of your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who may be doing it differently.
If you are having trouble blending your family, seek out a professional to help you with the challenges. Family Mediation could be the answer to help you and your new family move forward in a positive way. Call us at 585-244-2444 or send an email to: [email protected]