Did you know that one third of all children in the United States (US) are expected to live in a stepfamily before they reach the age of 18[helpguide.org 2008]? While some people consider blended families abnormal, they can be just as good as a “regular” family. With blended families becoming more common, there are more studies being done to show both the similarities and differences between “regular” and blended families.
Although blended families will probably never be considered “traditional”, they are becoming more common every year. Some common myths about stepfamilies are that children of divorce are considered damaged. Some children do have problems adjusting to a new family. They may feel resentment for new family members or act out by getting into trouble at home or at school. While most children tend to adapt to new situations fairly well, some may start having trouble in school, become bullies or victims. These children may require therapy to help adapt to their new family dynamics.
“Living in step relationships is not as easy as it sounds. Statistics tell us that blended children are at a greater risk of living in a high conflict homes where sixty percent of them will once again fall apart.” The conflicts mentioned are usually born from unrealistic expectations from one or both parents. (Marsolini) One is that blended families can be “instant families”. There is nothing instant about a blended family, they are a lot of work but the rewards are great. Stepchildren need to learn to trust and respect their step parents. Step parents need to learn to treat their stepchildren as they do their biological children. After trust comes love, it is immensely easy to build a stable blended family when you have a strong foundation of trust, respect and love.
Believing that the biological parents will always see your side and support you when it comes to their children can be another unrealistic expectation. It is important to establish...