As we repeat over and over on Today’s Modern Family, the statistics are stunning. 65% of all remarriages end in divorce. The big question everyone always has for me is why? People think that just because they were married before, they will be able to apply themselves better the second time around. The same mistakes won’t be made, they have all their old problems and issues worked out and they will make it work this time. However, the dynamics of a remarriage are totally different than those of a first marriage. Factor in you are blending in adults and children from totally different backgrounds, rules, ways of life, etc., and you can have a disaster on your hands before you know it. I know that this might sound like I am being rather negative. Quite the contrary. There are several positive aspects to remarriage, too many to count actually, but at the same time, people who jump right into remarriage after divorce or death per say have this unrealistic idea that their new-found family will run just as smoothly as Carol and Mike Brady ran theirs, except they are forgetting one main component. Carol and Mike Brady were made up characters that had all of the answers ahead of time because they read from a script! Unfortunatley for those of us living our daily lives in real blended families, life isn’t as easy as tuning into old episodes of the Brady Bunch. Moreover, the Brady Bunch not only steered families into unrealistic expectations of real stepfamily life, it did a disservice to all of us.
In Mala Burt’s 8 Step Progeram for Successful Family Living she notes the following common myths that plague stepfamilies:
1. Love Occurs Instantly Between the Child and Stepparent
An expectation exists that because you love your partner, you will naturally love his or her children and they will instantly love you. This expectation often sets up a family for failure as partners then question what is wrong with them. The answer is nothing is wrong with you. Relationships take time and there are many positive steps you can take to develop it.
2. Stepmothers Are Wicked
Many fairy tales tell us so. This negative concept may make stepmothers very self-conscious about their step parenting. It can cause confusion about our roles. Stepfamily research tells us that stepmothers have the most difficult role in the stepfamily.
3. Children Adjust to Divorce and Remarriage More Easily If Biological Fathers or Mothers Withdraw
Children will always have two biological parents and will have an easier adjustment if they have access to both. They need to see them and think well of them. This is important for their emotional health; except in those instances of parental abuse or neglect.
Peace & Blessings.