The merging of two families together after a previously-married man and woman get married results in a blended family, which has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. AptParenting identifies the pros and cons of living in a blended family in this article.
Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.
Man meets woman. Man and woman fall in love. Man and woman decide to get married. Man and woman merge their respective families into one big and cheerful blended family. They all live happily ever after.
Sounds like such a wonderful prospect, doesn’t it? A blended family is the result of two families merging into one and living together. This is usually the case when a previously-married man and a previously-married woman decide to get married and live together with their respective children.
Successfully managing a family can be quite a task, nobody denies that. However, what happens when a couple has to manage not only each other, but also their own and the others children? It’s different for a couple with a blended family, there’s barely any time that they can spend with one another, owing to the large army of kids taking up their focus and energy. Like everything, it has its pros and cons, but even so, it depends upon how the couple decides to build and handle their new blended family. We will now discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a blended family.
Yes, living in a blended family may not be a piece of cake, at least in the beginning. However, with patience, love, compassion and willingness, it will turn into a beautiful journey. Living in a blended family certainly has its advantages.
Judgmental people tend to think of this kind of advantage with disdain, “What, he’s remarrying for money?! That’s horrible.” However, it isn’t the ‘for money’ part that you remarry, right? We know it’s about the companionship and beautiful relationships. However, we cannot deny that a blended family means two sources of income, which inevitably means a better standard of living for everyone. Single-parent families often have to struggle with making ends meet. Blended families help reduce the struggle and the stress that accompanies it to quite an extent.
Happier Parents = Happier Children
It is highly likely that prior to the formation of the blended family or in the parents’ previous marriages, the atmosphere at home was tense and full of anger and hostility, which may cause the children to act out in some way. Parents in a blended family are more likely to be very happy with one another as compared to a couple on the verge of separation. Happier parents mean a happier and more positive atmosphere at home, which ultimately results in happier children as well.
Additional Role Models
Blended families ensure that the children now have two parents to look up to. It is an opportunity for the children to have an additional role model apart from their biological parents. Research suggests that the presence of both parents as well as lots of new relatives, as compared to a single-parent family might help in better all-round development of the children. The relationship between the parents in a blended marriage too, sets an example for the children who learn more about how intimate relationships really are.
A blended family is so different from other families: it not only results in having a new parent/new step-children, but also in so many new relatives with whom it is possible to establish amazing relationships. In a blended family, there are more siblings, more grandparents, more uncles, more aunties, and more cousins to love, to support, to celebrate, and to have fun with. Blended families mean more family, and undoubtedly, more shoulders offering love and support.
Ability to Adjust
A blended family is not just about a few people, it’s about two differently raised families with different norms, different ideals, and different values living together under one roof. Though it may seem difficult to manage in the beginning, the truth is that it is a wonderful opportunity for all the children along with the parents to learn to live with each other, share things, adjust, and compromise without complaining.
Children learn how to handle problems, how to manage relationships, and how to adjust being one of so many different people. This prepares them for any future situations that may demand these abilities.
Though we wish it wasn’t so, the reality can really be far, far away from the rosy picture you’ve painted for yourself, your new spouse, and your new blended family. This is about different personalities living together, after all, and it’s really not easy. For married couples without children, there’s time and opportunity to get to know each other and each other’s habits completely before getting children into the picture. Since this is not the case when it comes to a blended family, there can be a few disadvantages.
To be fair, this isn’t something that children do deliberately. It is a big change for children, even you and your spouse, to suddenly accept. Children may feel insecure, rebellious, angry with you/your spouse, which may result in them acting out in school or at home. Acting out could be anything from throwing tantrums, telling you/your spouse that you’re not their real parent, hitting/bullying other children, or even being listless and withdrawn from everything.
Confusion and Jealousy
Jealousy is a common emotion experienced by children in blended families. Children may be jealous of the new step-parent taking up their biological parent’s love, affection, and attention, or even because of having to share their biological parent with their new step-siblings. Children are often confused about what to feel about the new family. They may feel like they are betraying their estranged parent, and at the same time may feel guilty about not being happy enough for their other parent’s happiness. Younger children may be jealous about having to share their things, and more importantly, their biological family, with their step-siblings and may act out.
Problems of Disciplining
One of the biggest problems that a blended family might face is that of discipline. Children may even refuse to accept any punishment from a step-parent, and sometimes, as the methods of punishment may differ from parent to parent, it may even lead to problems between the couple. Disciplining the other’s child can cause feelings of anger and doubt in the couple. Similarly, disciplining by a step-parent may cause feelings of resentment towards him or her in the step-children which may become more intense as time passes.
It isn’t necessary that every person in the new blended family likes each other in the beginning. In fact, it may even be difficult to stay civil to one another, let alone have harmonious relationships. You have to remember though, that this is a drastic change for not only you and your new spouse, but also for the children.
In fact, it is harder for them as they are not with a loving new partner whose support keeps you going. Sometimes, one spouse may not like the other’s children, or the children may not like each other or the new step-parent. It is possible and not uncommon for ill-feelings to generate in a blended family.
Insecurity is a problem that must be handled carefully if you want your blended family to be a happy one. Moving to a new house/neighborhood/city, sharing space with strangers as well as someone new taking up their biological parent’s attention tends to make children very insecure. Unfortunately, insecurity is not limited to children alone. Even a spouse may feel intimidated by the partner’s attention towards his/her biological children.
As we have seen, living in a blended family has both pros and cons. It is likely that most of us tend to consider the cons more than the pros, as taking a risk seems too risky when it comes to your family. However, the important question here is, are you willing to work on these problems if they arrive? No problem and no issue is so great that it cannot be solved. In case of a blended family, if both the partners are ready and willing to take the efforts to make it work, then these tips might help. A blended family is a wonderful institution filled with love, respect, laughter, and affection. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try. Just be patient and you’ll marvel at your happiness later! Good luck!