Blended Families – Facing the Issues

With the divorce rate as high as 50% these days it’s not a stretch to say that you could end up having a blended family.  Blended families are basically a family that consists of a couple, along with their children, from the current and all previous relationships combined.

When someone has kids and they are out there dating and ready to get into a serious relationship again after the first one didn’t work out, it’s not a good idea to bring the new person into the childrens’ lives right away.  There should be a pretty good foundation built in the relationship first, and then introduce the kids slowly into the relationship.

In a perfect situation in a not so perfect world, a couple would come together with their children and have no outside influence from previous spouses or relatives to interfere with raising the kids.  However, that is a very rare instance.  In the unfortunate circumstance where someone is widowed or the spouse has abandoned the family, it can sometimes hard to move forward into a new family dynamic. It is much easier to become a blended family without that outside interference.

However, in most cases the children’s other parent is still in the picture and probably splits time between the two parents.  It’s sometimes difficult enough when two parents have to split time with their kids, but when you add a new spouse into the picture, it can get pretty sticky.  There can be a lot of friction that develops between the ex-spouses when the children start spending time with the new parent.  The ex is usually not too happy about their kids getting attention from someone who they think is like a replacement to them.

Another problem that blended families can have is that the step-parent completely loves and adores his or her new spouse, but isn’t so fond of the kids.  It is crucial that step parents accept their new spouse’s children, in order for those kids to feel loved.  From a child’s point of view, it’s very difficult to see their parent with someone new in their life and if they don’t feel accepted they may feel completely alone and rebel against both of the parents.

As difficult as it is for someone to come into an already built family and to accept these children and to raise them as their own, it is not only possible, but it can be a very special.  The only way to get to a point where everyone feels secure and loved is if the communication remains open between the two step-parents.

In blended families, it is imperative to not “play games” with each other.  When one of the parents plays favorites or chooses sides of his child over his spouse’s child, it can be very disruptive for everyone involved.  The key is for the step-parents to build that solid foundation first, discuss how they believe their children should be raised, and remain as a team when problems arise with the children.  They must remain united in order for that foundation to stay strong and the kids to grow up with in a loving and caring family unit.