One of the most prominent reasons for marriage failure is the haphazard blending of families.
Do you recall the TV show The Brady Bunch? Mike Brady marries Carol Martin; each of them has three children (three boys and three girls) in this second marriage, and this blended family of eight lives happily ever after. And don’t forget about Alice, the live-in housekeeper who keeps everything in order. There’s little tension, a lot of love, and it’s always a good time.
However, that was in the early 1970s. It was a time when there was a lot of love, light, and humanity. People still desire for love four decades later, but we’ve evolved into a fast-food culture where decisions are made in a flash and consequences are an afterthought.
What are the biggest problem of blended family?
Take, for example, my friend Annie. Divorced for seven years and raising two children. She was attending a New Year’s dinner party on her alone when she met Gary, a divorced father of two children who had been divorced for three years. After an unbelievable whirlwind courtship, they were exchanging wedding vows in the judges’ rooms eleven months later. A new family unit was formed in less than 30 minutes. It sounded great, but it wasn’t the Brady Bunch union.
When Annie and Gary promised to be together forever, their children were thrown into a new family dynamic. The kids were now step-siblings, barely knew each other, and had grown up in separate families. There was strife, upheaval, and dissatisfaction in this enormous joyful family. The kids didn’t get along since they had various sets of house rules, study habits, and monthly allowances.
Why do blended families fail?
Sandy Shuler, a social worker and certified Canadian family educator in Calgary, advises clients that the first thing they should do when blending a family is to avoid having preconceived notions and inaccurate expectations about how the family would look.
“Every family is different in terms of how it looks and how it functions. When there are children involved, expecting an instant connection and bonding situation might lead to disappointment and challenges,” Shuler explains. “Just because the adults are ecstatic about the prospect of merging does not imply the children are, therefore adults must approach the situation seriously and with their eyes wide open.”
Before mixing the family, Shuler recommends couples to be proactive and address issues: “Prior to blending, go to a counsellor and find out what the likely hot points are going to be.” (If money is a sticking point – and it almost certainly will be – here are some things to think about when it comes to blended family finances.)
New family bonds take time to develop, so patience is essential. “This new family can take up to seven years to knit and bond,” Shuler says, especially if the children are older. If the new family unit is to succeed, it will need time, effort, and patience from all family members; Shuler explains, “For some families, the best conclusion is just a cooperative coexistence.”
How do you fix blended family problems?
Assist children in adjusting to their new family situation. Children will be split between two households/families, and they will require assistance in adjusting to new norms, expectations, and procedures.
It takes time to form bonds. Expect your children to not immediately appreciate and adore each other or your new companion. Working toward civility and respect would be the best case scenario in some circumstances. It takes time and care to build caring ties between children and their new step-parent/family.
Be willing to talk about it. Providing opportunities for family discussions, problem-solving, and negotiating can assist youngsters in managing their emotions.
Get the family ready for a change. Children feel a sense of connection and shared memories when new family routines, rituals, and traditions are established.
Recognize the new relationship Clarifying roles, responsibilities, and expectations in a blended family provides as a “road map” for developing connections and establishing a stable foundation for the family unit.
Create a strategy for resolving conflicts. All families experience conflict at some point. When it comes to dealing with conflict, combined families have more complex and diverse demands and emotions; a good conflict resolution model can help with this.
Demonstrate your affection. Because loyalty concerns can occur, children need confirmation that they are loved and remain a priority to their biological parent.
What are the biggest problem of blended family?
Set a good example for your children and take a step back for his. When there are step-children living together, the typical rule of thumb about discipline is that the biological parent is the one who controls the discipline for their own children. However, within a single family, the rules must be implemented similarly to all children who reside there–there should not be two sets of regulations.
Because so many marriages end in divorce, a huge number of persons in their forties and fifties become available for marriage again. It’s no surprise that nearly half of all Canadian families are “blended,” with over 81 percent of these couples having children born after the present relationship.
But the bottom line is that a step family, blended family, or merged family is a newly reconfigured family unit, regardless of what you label it. It takes time and work to bring this new family together–just remember to resolve disputes, show love, and have fun.
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