As the divorce rate stays between 40% and 50% in the US, remarriages are common — and they often come with kids in tow. A “blended family” does just that: blends two families together.
Blended Family — Definition
A blended family, often known as a step-family, forms when parents combine families with the children from one or both of their previous relationships. Moving in with a new step-parent and siblings can be difficult for kids at first — that’s why it’s so important to blend families with care and communication.
About 75 percent of the 1.2 million Americans who divorce each year eventually remarry. Most have children, and suddenly need to learn to navigate a whole new family dynamic. Whether one or both partners are bringing their kids to the new relationship, it takes time to get used to a different parental figure or set of siblings.
It Can Get Complicated.
A new step-parent may not have experience parenting, and not know how to react to the stages their partner’s kids go through. There may be a more significant age difference between siblings — or children could be closer in age than natural siblings, causing tension. Kids can react strongly to the shift in family relationships: they feel like they have to compete with their new siblings or their parent’s new partner for attention.
It’s also possible for kids to end up in different roles — previously the oldest or youngest, but now the middle child. Or they were the only boy or girl in the family, and now have to share that position. Normally, it takes kids a while to accept a new parent, especially if they still have a relationship with both of their own.
A blended family is unique: they have to navigate birthdays and holidays with different sets of parents, learn new roles, and get to know a new family as their own. Family life post-divorce can be complicated, but blended families are a chance for a fresh start and new traditions.