Blended Family: You can move through conflicts, be stepkin, and form the new American blended family of the 21st century.
Stages in Your Blended Family
Blended Family: Remember that a family is what we make it as you move through the different stages of evolving a blended family.
Americans love fairy tales. Especially the one where Prince Charming and Cinderella live happily ever after. If that did not come true in the first marriage, well… we are often given another chance in a second one.
A blended family is begun when an adult, with at least one child from a previous marriage, forms a household with someone who has no ties to that child. Although that does not have to be a new spouse, for purposes of this article we are going to assume it is a new spouse.
This new household can be attached to a variety of people such as the "other" parent(s), possible new brothers and sisters, old in-laws and new in-laws, old grandparents and new grandparents, etc. A virtual blender of people that evolves a new family of "stepkin."
Margaret Newman, registered psychologist, in her book Stepfamily Realities, lists five stages in stepfamily growth. Each stage can, and probably will, be experienced with portions of other stages present, too. However, these stages represent the evolution of stepfamily life.
1. The Fantasy Stage.
Husband and wife feel all dreams of family life will finally come true. Stepsiblings may be looking forward to living together. There is idealism with everyone putting their best foot forward. In addition, the two parents are getting to know each other as mates. This is hard enough with no children present.
2. The Confusion Stage.
Differences begin to emerge and expected happiness is slipping away. Still, there is typically denial of impending trouble. Tension grows, romance wanes, children’s novelty has worn off, and fear of not making it rears its head.
3. The Conflict Stage.
Power struggles begin as family members want their needs met. Open or hidden expressions of anger and aggression appear.
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Relationships are becoming familiar, parts of the family are operating smoothly, and members are learning to resolve issues. Hope is renewed.
5. The Resolution Stage.
Optimism returns and the future looks better. Family members can relax and start to be themselves. Methods for resolving conflict have been learned and can be used as needed. Family ties are growing.
A family is what we make it.
Remember this as you move through the different stages of evolving a stepfamily and learn to get along with the ex or exes, the his, the hers, and possibly the ours of children, plus the cousins, the grandparents, the aunts, and the uncles.
You can move through conflicts, become stepkin, and form the new American family of the 21st century.
Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.