”Our family hit some bumpy roads on this path of life. It took us a while to get where we are today…I’m sure glad we all took the effort to walk together” Christy Borgeld, Founder of National Stepfamily Day
Bringing two families together with different values and of which are still dealing with feelings of loss is no walk in the park. To many, the problems that come along with the blended/step family prove to be too much and unfortunately these such examples definitely do not have the makings for prime time television as did the Brady Bunch back in the 70′s.
Currently, in the United States, the blended family has become some what of the norm. As divorce rates continue to rise, blended families become more common. In fact, blended families seem to be the way of the future. Research has shown that it is estimated that soon there will be more children in stepfamily situations than living with both of their biological parents.
With that, in my opinion, finding value in your stepfamily is essential. Albeit I know the task at hand can be one of the most challenging you might ever face, think about all of the factors that have to be weighed in the process. As we all know, children do not ask for divorce or remarriage for that matter. Usually, they are thrust into this situation, unbeknownst to them, and they just have to learn to live with it and deal with their extreme sense of loss. I actually just had a long conversation with a very important person in my life, a woman who used to be my very own step-sister during my adolescent years, and she confided in me that one day, all of a sudden, they were just told that her and her two siblings were going on a road trip to a birthday party and they ended up thousands of miles away from their bio father and thrust into a live-in situation and eventual stepfamily. I, being on the other end of that family, knew that my parents were getting divorced. I cannot even imagine the feeling of that situation she was in. With that being said, the losses that all members of the blended family face during these times can be a major contributing factor to the stresses that ensue afterward. Mix in the ex-spouses and all the financial strain and you have a recipe for disaster. Hence, anyone would have a hard time finding value in their respective blended families.
However, being in a blended family has lots of rewards. Being able to find the value in your blended family is very important. Here are a few ways to get you started looking in the right direction:
- Pay attention to the communication skills being used within your family. Being able to resolve conflict as it arises is essential. Do your best to have wholesome, genuine communication. Only focusing on negative communication is counter productive.
- Make sure you always put your marriage first. Remember, at the end of the day, the kids will be grown and gone, it will be just you and your spouse.
- Build on your differences and use them to make your family stronger. Each individual in the family may be different but will also bring something special to your unit.
- Remember, first families have an automatic bond, take time to connect with your stepchildren.
- Recognize that your stepchildren will feel closer to their mom or dad at different times in their developmental years. This can be stressful to the bio parent and you are going to feel the need to step in. However, recognize that you can’t fix this for anyone. This is something that has to work itself out.
Lastly, it is not an easy feat to build value and to find value in your blended family. However, if you are willing to make sacrifices now to have a strong, happy blended family, you will reap great reward in the long run.
Peace & Blessings,