Blended Families : 3 Things To Consider
Blended families are becoming more mainstream. Taking the leap to start a family inhabits its own challenges, and when bringing children from prior relationships there are a few more things that need to be considered.
In today’s society the idea of marriage has almost become taboo. Since 1970 the percentage of marriages has declined more than 50% and 40% of children are born out of wedlock. 60% of couples that do marry already have children from a prior relationship, though 75% of 2nd marriages fail as well.
With statistics put in perspective what does this mean for our children?
There have been more than enough studies done on the effects that divorce has on children. Overall it’s not the actual divorce that imposes the problem, but the new level of uncertainty that surrounds the entire family. A study done by the U.S Census Bureau in 2014 shows that there’s about 12 million single family households. 80% of these households are headed by single mothers, 49% of which have never been married and the other 51% are divorced, widowed, or separated.
The truth is there is no right way to raise our children. Regardless if you’re married, remarried, single, and/or divorced; children thrive because of support. Single and divorced families are targeted to blame for a child’s emotional distress because these children are exposed to situations and emotions that children of married or coupled families are not.
When parents decide to remarry or to become involved in a new relationship these 3 factors should be taken into consideration:
Is the relationship you are entering healthy?
Every relationship has its ups and its downs, but it’s essential that the good outweighs the bad. It’s only natural to understand that your biological children will always take your side. No matter how “together” a blended family can be, conflict between partners will create a rift between your children and the opposing partner.
It’s natural to have a stronger emotional connection to children that are biologically yours. Your relationship is sacred, and until you become a parent you’ll never understand the extent of this intense bond. Favoritism is quickly noticed and will create unhealthy emotional and self-worth issues for the children whom it’s directed towards or against.
Raising children requires a stable home base. No matter of the parent’s current relationship status it is their job to provide a safe, stable environment to raise their children in. Children cannot miss something they’ve never been exposed to. If you’ve successfully raised your child independently, be sure that your new relationship will only add to the stability of your home. In terms of stability you cannot focus strictly on the financial aspects but the emotional end as well.
Speaking from experience, I have been a single mother since birth of my first son. As a whole, I feel as though I do fairly well supporting him. Because of our experiences through my own relations, I understand that when I do decide to become involved a stronger foundation should be formed from which my son can grow.
Children require support, and lack of is not strictly directed towards broken or unconventional families. These families are easily targeted because in the event of another failed relationship this now provides a pattern for children to learn.
Our job as parents is to create the best atmosphere we’re able to build our children up. Understand children will learn by exposure. If you intend to teach self-worth, be sure your relationships example that. If you want them to feel supported, ensure that you have a foundation that enables that.
What are some of your experiences when trying to blend families? What do you feel to be the biggest hurdle?
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