It seems that more and more families are becoming blended. There are more marriages that are ending in divorce, causing for the union of two new individuals that already have their own children.
This is becoming a norm in our society, which is wonderful. However, what are the pros and cons of living in a blended family?
This article highlights a blended family advantages and disadvantages, and try to elaborate on the blended family problems and blended family conflicts by means of an example.
Some blended families work attuned and congruently while other blended families are chaotic and separated. I have had the pleasure of working with both types of blended families, but typically I get the families that are chaotic and separated.
This has helped me understand the advantages of living in a blended family and also the negative effects of blended families.
Nonetheless, they come to therapy to strive to become connected and attuned with one another. But who is to blame for the chaos in these blended families.
Could it be that the new parent in the blended family is too strict or unattached? Or could it be that the new children are too much to handle? Or it can also be that there are too many parties involved conflicting the efforts for this blended family to triumph.
It is important to understand both sides to this blended family. Sometimes it could be miscommunication and unreal expectations on both ends. A family that comes to mind is one with a mom who had a son and started a new life with her partner.
This blended family has had some highs and lows. Currently things are doing okay. With this family the issue has been too many parties involved. This mom has been in the middle of her son and partner for some times.
There are times that her son gets along with her new partner and times when he doesn’t even acknowledge him. When her son was younger it was better.
He would communicate and hang out with the mom’s new partner, but with time his communication is limited and if he is asked to participate in things with mom and her new partner things don’t end up well. Four years ago mom decided to have a baby.
At first her son was not very happy, then he warmed up to the idea, but now he and the new child do not get along. He will state that he did not want a sibling and that she is not really his sibling. This mom is always stuck in the middle.
This family has been on a roller coaster, the question is why. I became to understand that this family had other parties involved influencing things.
The son had contact with his paternal side of the family and they were not content with son having a new step-parent. This causes issues not only for the mom and her new partner, but for the entire blended family.
As a therapist it would be important to get the entire family to come in. It might be very difficult to get the son to open up, but if necessary he could have some individual counseling. It would also be important for the mom and her new partner to be on the same page.
Being on the same page is very difficult for partners. The mom might have some guilt over having a new relationship and a new child and give in to her son. Not being on the same page can also cause the couple to face many challenges and feeling insecure and unhappy in the relationship.
The new partner needs to make sure to engage and attempt to be there for the child, not showing a difference in love and appreciation for a birth child vs. a child gained through blending families.
In the end any blended family must understand it can get tough and there will be ups and downs. Some blended families blend faster and smoother than others.
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More by Lorena Magallanes