Blended family: Stepparents remember: Your new blended family will not happen overnight.
Myth: Blended Family Equals Instant Family
Blended family: Stepparents must move slowly and be sensitive to the feelings of all members of the blended family.
It is a fact of life: If you decide to marry a parent with children, there are some things you have to accept as a reality.
Myth: When we get married, we will be an instant family.
Reality: No marriage ceremony or wishful thinking makes a new family. Indeed, it is the beginning of a long journey which may or may not end in a feeling of family.
Why is this?
There is no sense of belonging here, no shared history, no shared identities, no shared memories, not even a shared photo or two. You merely start as a bunch of people sharing the same abode with an adult couple sharing some chemistry and a bed.
The longer your new family existed as a single family, the more secure it has become as a family. This could make your presence even less welcome for the children involved.
Rather, what you have is two distinct families hoping to blend or merge. Or one family and you--pretty much a total stranger who is sharing a bed with mom or dad and hoping to get a foot in the door of family life.
Don't expect to set any rules when you move into your new family. Your stepchildren come from a very different world and probably have different values. If you, a new stepparent, plan to rebuild the family structure and values system, you are on shaky ground with both your stepchildren and new your spouse.
Rules and expectations about each family member's responsibilities must be discussed and negotiated. Stepparents must move slowly and be sensitive to everyone's feelings.
Your family will not happen overnight.
Love in not instantaneous either. It takes two to three years for best friends to form. It takes that long for affection to blossom into love.
Sometimes when this does not happen, stepparents feel they are doing something wrong. That is not true. You just can't rush love, affection, bonding, and a feeling of family.
Also remember that bonds are rarely as strong in stepfamilies as they are in nuclear families. And in some cases, love and affection never reach a stepfamily at all.
If you are prepared for the realities rather than expecting the myths, you can allow a stepfamily to build slowly without undue disappointment on your part.
Portions of the above article came from the following books. They are recommended for additional information. Although Leman's book is out-of-print, you can find it through libraries and may be able to buy it used through Amazon.
Genevieve Clapp, Ph.D. Divorce and New Beginnings
This is an excellent book for singles,
those soon to be divorced, or even those just considering divorce. This easy-to-read guide
takes readers step-by-step through each stage of divorce starting with selecting an
Kevin Leman, Ph.D. Living in a
StepFamily Without Getting Stepped On
Kevin Leman is a big
believer that your birth order in a family greatly determines your personality and even
your life. Now he carries that theory one step further into an excellent book for
stepfamilies where children's previous birth orders get turned topsy-turvy. The only child
finds herself a middle child in a blended family while the baby in a family for years is
promoted to middle child by the birth of his new sibling. Good reading for stepparents
determined to learn everything possible to make their new families work.
Additional information about stepparenting, stepfamilies.
CyberParent Recommended Reading for More Information:
Return to Blended Family Directory.
|Blended Family Roots||Family Factors||Myth: Blended Family Equals Instant Famil|
|Introducing Blended Families||Second Marriages with Children||Discipline for Blended Families.|
|Blended Family||Blended or Blender?||New Stepparent: Now What?|
|Stages in Blended Family||Family Rules and Dynamics||Building Kinship|
|Six Common Blended Family Conflicts||Stepfathers: A fact of life in America today.||Stepparents Feel Isolated in Blended Family|
|Book Review: The Blended Family Sourcebook||Book Review: Blending Families|
|Book Review: The Courage to Be a Stepmom||Book Review: Divorce and New Beginnings|
|Book Review: Stepcoupling||Book Review: Step Wars|
|Book Review: Step Wise||Book Review: Surviving Your Adolescents.|
|Book Review: 1-2-3 Magic||Book Review: Boundaries|
|Book Review: The Combined Family||Book Review: Living in a StepFamily|
|CD Review: Pick Me Up||DVD Review: The Happiest Baby on Block|
|VHS Review: Baby See 'n Sign||VHS Review: Sign with Your Baby|
|VHS Review: The Wiggles-20 Videos|
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